Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. are increasingly relying on the web to collect tech information for their business needs. This is revealed by tech research firm, IDC. And after the click-of-mouse, you know word-of-mouth still receives high mentions by SMBs.
As regards Web usage by U.S.-based small businesses for marketing, a Microsoft adCenter study reveals that 59% of small businesses with Web sites don’t currently use paid search marketing, and of those, 90% have never even attempted it. The data comes from a Microsoft-commissioned online survey examining the search marketing behaviors of 400 small-business owners in the United States.
“A major challenge for providers of advanced technology products and services is how best to reach the 7.9 million SMBs in the United States,” said Merle Sandler, research manager for SMB Programs at IDC. “SMBs use multiple information sources, so technology providers need to develop an effective promotional portfolio to ensure visibility in the places where SMBs turn for IT information, bearing in mind that their preferences vary by business size, vertical industry, and attitude cluster.”
Other important findings from IDC’s research include:
– Word of mouth is most often cited by SMBs as how they initially become aware of IT products, technology, and suppliers. However, vendor Web sites and word of mouth tie for first place as a source of more detailed information.
– SMBs differ far more by vertical industry than they do by company size regarding places where they become aware of technology as well as sources for more detailed information. Communications firms cite the highest average number of sources, while banking/finance firms averaged the lowest.
– SMBs differ a great deal by cluster regarding the information sources that they utilize. A well above average share of SMB 2.0 firms mention online sources for both becoming aware of and gathering IT information.
Microsoft and marketing expert John Jantsch offer advice to small business units for using social media to achieve business growth. A free e-book explained the use of social media tools.