Welcome!

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
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, added the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor analytic...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...