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SMEs unhappy with web presence but fail to invest

By Retail Technology | Tuesday April 15 2014

Research undertaken at a recent business event reveals some contradictory attitudes to online marketing among small to midsized enterprises

Eight out of ten (79%) small to midsized enterprises (SMEs) say their website is critical or very important to their business. But only 28% are happy with their company’s Google rankings. 

In fact, research undertaken among 188 SME owners and managers by online marketing agency Browser Media at The Business Show in London found only four in ten (43%) were actively investing in marketing their website to improve their web presence.

Joe Friedlein, founder and managing director at Browser Media, commented: “It’s heartening to find that SMEs understand that their website can be a valuable business asset, but equally concerning that only half invest in promoting it more broadly. 

“It’s a bit like setting up a new retail outlet and then only telling family and friends how to find you. In order to attract new customers and grow their businesses, these SMEs need to think like a big brand and make more noise online.”

Optimise web presence for exposure

Of those businesses that do invest in digital marketing, just over half (69%) undertook its management solely in-house, a third (31%) had some levels of agency support or outsource entirely. 

However, those businesses that seek external expertise are more satisfied with their online presence and visibility than those who undertake the work in house.

SME owners and managers were familiar with the online marketing disciplines of social media marketing (91%), email marketing (89%) and 79% cited search engine optimisation (SEO). They were least familiar with content marketing (52%), affiliate marketing (48%) and inbound marketing (35%).

Friedlein concluded: “It’s understandably a ‘chicken and egg’ situation – lots of small and micro-businesses know they need to invest in digital marketing and that it will grow their business, but they can only cut their cloth according to their means. 

“If these businesses can’t afford long-term activity, then ensuring their website is well optimised is be a good place to start. That way, they have a solid platform from which to build on additional activity as and when they can afford it.”

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