Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: AppDynamics Blog, Ian Goldsmith, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

News Feed Item

New Survey Shows Small Businesses Only Focusing on Half the Digital Equation

For small businesses (SMBs), “word of mouth” promotion has been a time-tested way to reach new customers and generate awareness. But with the growing array of digital and social media options, SMBs can now look beyond one-on-one in-person engagement to capture this critical advocacy from online audiences. However, a new, independent survey has found that SMB owners are spending only a minimum amount of time building and managing their online presence, potentially leaving them unable to cash-in on the online buzz generated by their products and services.

Commissioned by Deluxe Corp. (NYSE:DLX), a leading provider of marketing services and business products for small businesses and financial institutions, the study surveyed more than 500 small business owners (SBOs) around the U.S., in tandem with Small Business Week (May 12 – 16). The results showed that 66 percent of the respondents had a dedicated business website and 45 percent had a Facebook page. Still, while 73 percent of those surveyed thought “word of mouth” was an important way to engage customers, 70 percent spent less than one hour per week maintaining their online presence and 51 percent posted to social media only once a month or less.

“Our close relationship with the small business community has shown that most owners already do a great job being ‘buzz worthy’ by offering remarkable products and delivering excellent customer service,” said Tim Carroll, vice president of small business engagement at Deluxe. “What they are not always doing is preparing for when buzz about them actually happens. Most customers, after hearing about a business through word of mouth, will search for it online, visit its website, look at its social media pages and read reviews about it. Those small businesses with a strong and well maintained online presence can capture this behavior and convert it into lasting relationships.”

Additional highlights from the study include:

  • Age drives online presence: Fifty-seven percent of SBOs under 55 had a business Facebook page, compared to 41 percent for SBOs over 55. Social media was more important to SBOs under 55 (41 vs. 23 percent for SBOs over 55), and SBOs under 55 posted more weekly social media posts then their over 55 counterparts (17 vs. 9 percent).
  • Utilizing social media: For direct customer interaction and promoting new products, only 29 percent of those surveyed found social media extremely important.
  • Using Facebook to sell: Fifty-three percent of small business owners reported that they used Facebook to sell a product. Of these, women were more likely than men (60 vs. 49 percent) to use Facebook as a selling platform.
  • Website improvement: The most common sources for website improvement included “a colleague or other business contact” (45%), “a consultant” (39%), or “a friend/family member” (31%). However, 53 percent of small businesses with more than three employees and 49 percent of companies with revenue below $100,000 had no interest in improving their web presence.

According to Carroll, there are different ways small business owners can give their online presence a boost in order to increase visibility, generate interest and capture any buzz.

  • Encourage customers to talk about you. Whether by providing reviews and feedback or by sharing and following your business on social media, this type of direct customer engagement can be extremely helpful. Small businesses not asking for customer feedback are missing an opportunity to use the channel as an extension of “word of mouth.”
  • Capture email addresses and engage fans. Target customers want to know about your business. They want to know what is new, what is on sale, and what promotions are on the horizon. There are multiple tools that allow small businesses to easily capture these customers’ email addresses and create timely and engaging communications to keep them coming back.
  • To sustain buzz, a website needs to be findable. When potential customers search for you, they expect to find you on the first page of search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential to make sure your website and content will land you on page one.
  • Think of your online presence as a group of dedicated employees. They may not be physically there, but your online capabilities are working hard for you 24/7 and 365 days a year. And like a workforce, they need to be looked after and maintained. A website or social media channel that is not updated regularly can give the wrong impression to a prospective customer and send their business to a competitor.

“It can take just one day – one influential person to notice – to make a small business a hit, so make sure your online presence is ready to go,” said Carroll. “Still, we understand that small business owners didn’t go into business to focus on digital marketing. That’s why Deluxe works so closely with small business owners to help them perfect their digital footprint – so they can focus on the parts of their business that they really love to do.”

The SMB “online engagement” survey is part of Deluxe’s commitment to supporting America’s small businesses. The company’s goal is to place its product and service expertise at SMB owners’ command, allowing them to pursue their passions.

Methodology
The online study was fielded in April 2014, and completed by 506 small business owners recruited from Research Now’s US Small Business Owners panel. The panel contains about 3 million subjects, utilizes normalized sampling, and is weighted to reflect the population. Research Now’s “By-invitation-only” recruitment uses various partners in an effort to build a national representation of age, income, gender and region.

About Deluxe Corporation
Deluxe is a growth engine for small businesses and financial institutions. More than 4.5 million small business customers access Deluxe's wide range of products and services, including customized checks and forms, as well as website development and hosting, email marketing, search engine optimization and logo design. For our 5,500 financial institution customers, Deluxe offers industry-leading programs in checks, customer acquisition, fraud prevention and profitability. Deluxe is also a leading provider of checks and accessories sold directly to consumers. For more information, visit us at www.deluxe.com, www.facebook.com/deluxecorp or www.twitter.com/deluxecorp.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Liaison Technologies, a leading provider of data management and integration cloud services and solutions, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Liaison Technologies is a recognized market leader in providing cloud-enabled data integration and data management solutions to break down complex information barriers, enabling enterprises to make sm...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, will explain the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is r...
What are the benefits of using an enterprise-grade orchestration platform? In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Nate Gordon, Director of Technology at Appcore, and Kedar Poduri, Senior Director of Product Management at Citrix Systems, took a closer look at the architectural design factors needed to support diverse workloads and how to run these workloads efficiently as a service provider. They also discussed how to deploy private cloud environments in 15 minutes or less.
Move from reactive to proactive cloud management in a heterogeneous cloud infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Manoj Khabe, Innovative Solution-Focused Transformation Leader at Vicom Computer Services, Inc., will show how to replace a help desk-centric approach with an ITIL-based service model and service-centric CMDB that’s tightly integrated with an event and incident management platform. Learn how to expand the scope of operations management to service management. He will al...
SYS-CON Events announced today Arista Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Arista Networks was founded to deliver software-driven cloud networking solutions for large data center and computing environments. Arista’s award-winning 10/40/100GbE switches redefine scalability, robustness, and price-performance, with over 3,000 customers and more than three million cloud networking ports depl...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS soluti...
The DevOps Institute (DOI) launched on Monday with the mission of serving as the premier source for aligning industry standard quality DevOps training and examination services for enterprise IT. The Institute is led by a Board of Regents who will oversee DOI’s offerings in an effort to codify and promote DevOps’ best practices and standards that enable enterprise IT to deliver more value faster to their customers. The initial Board of Regents includes Gene Kim, Lori MacVittie, Sanjeev Sharma, ...
In his session at DevOps Summit, Andrei Yurkevich, CTO at Altoros, provided an overview of all the benefits and opportunities, as well as drawbacks of deploying Cloud Foundry PaaS with Juju and compared it to BOSH. Discover the features that overlap, and understand what Juju Charm is, what it is not, where you use one or the other or where you use both BOSH and Juju Charms together. Andrei Yurkevich is Cloud Foundry protagonist and CTO at Altoros. Under his supervision, the Altoros engineering ...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water,...
MeriTalk, a public-private partnership focused on improving the outcomes of government IT, today announced the results of its new report, "The Agile Advantage: Can DevOps Move Cloud to the Fast Lane?" The study, underwritten by Accenture Federal Services, reveals that approximately two-thirds of Feds say DevOps will help agencies shift into the cloud fast lane - improving IT collaboration and migration speed. But help is needed, with 66 percent saying that their agency needs to move IT services ...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrateg...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impac...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.