Category Archives: Small Medium Business

Mobilizing Small Businesses

Recently, we posted information on how small businesses are missing out on consumer’s shift to mobile. Nearly 80% of SMBs said they do not have a mobile solution. Nearly 85% of non-mobile small businesses said they plan on having some kind of mobile solution in the next 3 years. With that in mind,, we’ll look into the factors that small businesses should be cognizant of when creating a mobile solution.

shutterstock_87972136● Half of all non-mobile businesses expect to have a mobile solution within a year, 22% said that they will be focusing on mobile in the next 1 to 2 years and 14% said it will be at least three years before they could implement a mobile solution. 16% said they would never invest in mobile
● The biggest factor that businesses investing in mobile should consider is device and platform capability – 60% of currently mobile small businesses answered this way
● Nearly half said that the ease of content authoring and content management was very important
● 46% said that personalization and easy customization should be considered
● 38% indicated that integration of external social media platforms was key
● Almost one-third remarked that CRM integration was vital to a successful mobile solution
● 22% said that adding video capabilities was significant and another 22% thought including push notifications was important

What Does This Mean To You?

There is no slowing down mobile. The technology continues to evolve and consumers are becoming more dependent on it. It more than just consumers use it for shopping, consumers mobile for virtually everything.
● The average US consumer uses a mobile device for over 8 hours per week
● The US smart phone owners have an average of 36 apps on their device
● Only 25% of apps are used on a weekly basis
Creating a mobile app is the first step, getting consumers to find the app, download the app and use the app is another challenge.
That’s something we’ll discuss tomorrow. For more information on increasing the visibility of your business, please contact:

amfiala@gmail.com

Sources: eMarketer, Edurance; MarketingCharts.com

Small Businesses Missing Out on Mobile

Consumers are fully engaged with mobile technology. Recent studies show
that 75% of US consumers own a smart phone and nearly half of US
households have a tablet. Recently we’ve posted articles on the growth
of the mobile only consumer. While national and regional businesses are
taking advantage of mobile visibility, small businesses are not as involved
with this key consumer medium.

smartphonedollarNearly 80% of SMBs don’t utilize mobile, here
are some of the factors preventing them:
● 50% said they don’t know how to build a
mobile app
● 23% said they were too busy running their business and can’t maintain a mobile app
● 22% said it’s too expensive to develop a
mobile app
● 5% are worried about the security risks
associate with mobile

 

What Does This Mean To You?

Mobile commerce continues to grow. Last year, Mcommerce reached over $200 billion, this year it’s expected to hit nearly $300 billion. By 2018, mobile will account for nearly half of all Ecommerce. Also, desktop/laptop penetration is deteriorating. Some studies are showing that mobile device use eclipsed desktop/laptop use last year.
All this adds up to one thing – by not including mobile in their portfolio, small businesses are cutting off a potential revenue source. Mobile technology continues to evolve and everyday new functionality that is developing that can drive consumers to your business.
The growth of mobile has made it cheaper to have a mobile solution that small businesses don’t have to build and are easily maintained.
Lots of businesses were weary of developing online solutions. How many of these businesses that did not adapt to online are still operational?
Consumers see mobile technology as an extension of their lives. By not embracing mobile, these small businesses are at risk of putting a barrier between themselves and customers.
For more information on how small businesses can better compete with regional or national competitors, please contact:

amfiala@gmail.com

Sources: eMarketer, Edurance

Small Businesses and Holiday Shopping

While a good deal of winter holiday shopping activities are centered around malls and big box retailers, small business have an opportunity to cultivate new consumers and create long-term customers. Even though small businesses may not have the name recognition of regional or national competitors, more and more consumers are looking to help businesses in their community.

blackfridaybags 304● 70% of consumers plan to shop at a local business during the holidays
● Over 60% of these shoppers will visit a small business because they want to support
a local business and 55%
are looking to find one of a kind gifts
● Over 40% will shop at a local business because of continence and 38% will do so because of excellent customer service
● Other reasons shoppers will patronize a small business is loyalty to local companies, special deals, free services and a relationship with business owners

What This Means To You

As a small business, you have several advantages over larger competitors. The biggest being the customer service you can offer. Going the extra mile can help you create loyal patrons.  The relationships you have can help you create these new opportunities.
How are you using positive reviews and posts?
Don’t just think of these as pleasantries from customers, they are virtual testimonials. Consumers put a great deal of value in social media postings and online reviews.
You should promote, repost and retweet these messages. You should also republish these to your own web presences. Letting others tell your story will give it more weight. But remember, that your competitors won’t be singing your praises, it’s your job to cultivate them.  Don’t forget to reward these customers who provide testimonials; it will spur others to do so and help spread your message to more potential customers. For more information on how to create more customers please contact:

amfiala@gmail.com

Sources: Deloitte

Small Businesses and Twitter

Recently, we featured information on how small businesses are using social media as a promotional tool. One of the takeaways was just many small businesses are using Facebook as a promotional platform. A new study has come out that shows how many SMB’s are using Twitter and their opinion of the social platform.

twitter-logo-break● Over 70% of the small businesses surveyed said it was important to have a Twitter presence, but only four in 10 were using the social platform
● Among the businesses using Twitter, nearly 70% posted at least once a day and almost three quarters said they received a positive return on the time they invested
● Over 90% of businesses using Twitter considered it their most valuable social resource
● The majority of businesses were using Twitter to connect followers with content – 74% connected with their website, 40% connected to blog and 17% connected followers to a newsletter

What This Means To You

Social media should be viewed as a connection point and a way to drive business. But it starts with a strategy. Just having a Twitter handle (or any social media existence) does not mean you are socially marketing your business. Setup up guidelines about what you are going to post, this help you extend the persona of your brand to your social presences. Determine how often you are going to post and set goals for mentions and retweets. Think of your social functions like someone who works in your establishment. They welcome people who talk through the door, they don’t ignore customers questions and are on the lookout for possibly unhappy customers. So to transfer this socially – Send a welcome message or thank you tweet for following. Check for and return direct messages and monitor your hashtags for negative information. Tomorrow, we’ll dig into the bottom line value of social marketing – engagement and interaction with your friends and followers. For more information on generating more business through social means, please contact:

Al Fiala
amfiala@gmail.com

Sources: Twitter

Small Businesses Using Digital Marketing

Earlier this week, we shared a post on how small and medium businesses are increasing or maintain their digital investment, but not thinking about mobile.  Today we’ll look at how small and medium businesses  are marketing themselves and the number of channels they are using.

• Nationally, small businesses are using nearly 6 channels to create awareness and drive traffic

• Since last year, the number of different ways small and medium businesses are marketing themselves has increased by over 30%

• The top marketing channel for SMBs is Facebook

•Over 30% use the local newspaper, 27% are involved in community sponsorships and one in four use email marketing

• More than 20% are on Google Places, one in eight use web video and 14% utilize online banners

What Does This Mean To You?

Facebook maybe the preferred tool for small and medium businesses to get their name out, how effective is it?
Social media marketing is more than just creating a Facebook page.  To get the most out of social networks, your business needs a strategy.  Just some things to think about:

• Do your social sites have specific goals?

• What is your business doing to cultivate your ‘Likers” and followers?

• How are you turning positive comments into virtual testimonials?

• How are you dealing with negative comments?

• Do you create unique content, how often do you post it?

These are just a few questions to find out if you are fully optimizing your social offerings.  For more information on how to turn you social presence into a revenue,  please contact:
Al Fiala
amfiala@gmail.com

Source: eMarketer; BIA/Kelsey

Social Integration and Small Business

A couple of months ago, we had a post on why consumers use social media.
The main reason they utilized social networks was to connect with others –
friends, family, coworkers or people they lost touch with.
As a business, social media can help you better connect with more than just customers – it can help you create deeper relationships with your vendors & suppliers, your employees and other businesses that you are engaged with.  Social media is also a tool that can also help you connect the various aspects of your business. But a recent report shows that many small and medium businesses are not integrating social media into these parts of their business.

• Currently, less than 40% of small and medium businesses integrate social media capabilities into their company website – over the next year, another 35% plan to

• Just over one in five integrate social media into their marketing campaigns
and 36% expect to do this in the next
12 months

• 20% of SMBs are using social media in their customer service and
sales processes

• Just 13% are utilizing social media in their customer contact or customer relationship procedures

• Currently, fewer than 15% of small companies have integrated social media into their mobile web sites and over 40% have no plans at to

• Only 12% of companies are using social media for product development information

What Does This Mean To You?

Social media is not going away.  Nationwide, over half of adults have gone to a social media site in the past month.  Valuable target audience such as moms and professionals are even more likely to be social networkers.  There are indications that social media fans are also your loyal customers. Building social media into you company’s business strategy will help you in many ways.  Not integrating means that you are missing out on opportunities to connect with more customers, develop loyalty, improve engagement and create the goods and services your customers want.

Why is social media important to your customer service efforts?
Social networks have become the portal for which many consumers connect with companies. They not only want but expect that you respond to feedback and answer their questions.

How does social media directly impact my sales?
Social commerce is one of the newest trends to emerge. Social media could supply your business with a whole new revenue stream

 

What does social networking have to do with mobile?
Social networking is rapidly becoming a mobile function. Many social networks, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare and Instagram are mobile-first or mobile only applications.  In the past month over 20% of consumers nationally accessed a social network via mobile device.

How does social networking play into my loyalty programs?
When a social networker “likes” or follows a brand it’s a great indication of whether they are a loyal customerSocial entities can help you increase sales and have these loyal customers become brand evangelists for your business.

How can social media help me with product development?
Customers like for their voices to be heard.  If you’ve got an idea on something you want to do or a product you may want to introduce, who better to ask than your loyal customers.  Remember, the information may not be scientifically accurate or statistically valid – but you will at least hear what they have to say.  Polls and questions are also great forms of engagement.

Social media can help your business in a number of different ways.  It starts by simply adding social links or icons to your current marketing efforts.  This will at least let them know you have a social presence. The more you integrate and optimize your social capabilities, the bigger the benefit can be.  For more information on how to grow your business with social media, please contact:
Al Fiala
amfiala@gmail.com

Source: eMarketer; SMB Group; The 2012 Scarborough Multi-Market Report, Release 1

Social Small Business

Social media can help any business increase their awareness and develop a loyal customer base. For small businesses it can be a particularly powerful tool.  Social media can help small businesses compete with larger organizations and efficiently connect with customers.  A recent study has come out that looks at how small businesses are using social and the solutions they employ. Indications are that small businesses are not taking advantages of the opportunities available with social media.  Well over half of small businesses currently do not use social media to engage with their customers – over 30% do not plan on getting involved in social media in the next year.

Among small businesses utilizing social media:

• Just over a quarter have a Facebook page. 20% actively engage and post through relevant Facebook groups

• 15% participate in industry specific online communities or industry specific social media communities

• 14% take part in relevant LinkedIn forums and discussions or post comments on related blogs

• 12% are engaged with Twitter and nearly one in 10 post company videos to YouTube

• 9% have company branded blogs or and involved in user review sites

• 5% utilize group coupon services like Groupon or use social bookmarking sites like Digg

• Less than 5% work with geo-location services like Foursquare

What Does This Mean To You?

For companies’ not using social media – you are missing a golden opportunity to actively engage customers and leverage your standing in the community. Social media is partly about you promoting what you offer and what sets you apart. But it’s biggest benefit comes from your customers endorsing the benefits of doing business with you and telling their friends why you are their choice for shopping.  If you are currently doing social media – what does your social media strategy look like?
Just having a Facebook page does not equal social media marketing.
How are you dealing with negative comments?
Do you reward positive commenters?
What are you doing to promote social sharing?
What do you post?
How often do you post?
Is mobile part of your social strategy?
The social media landscape shifts very quickly. Those shifts in functionality, usage patterns and demographics can have a big affect on how well social media performs for your business.  For more information on how to maximize results from social media, please contact:
Al Fiala
amfiala@gmail.com

Source: eMarketer, SMB Group