‘Great Divide’ Separates Small Biz, Online Consumers

MarketingVOX
January 22, 2009

Dave’s Comments (Digital Marketing Tutorial Blog): This overview by MarketingVOX of how consumers find and choose local small businesses is VERY interesting, especially if you are a bricks-and-mortar small business owner! The article basically says that consumers of local small business goods and services search for those services online, preferentially contact those businesses that have a Web presence AND can be found in a commonly used search engine (Google, Yahoo, MSN). If you’re a small business, it’s time to say, “Goodbye Yellow Pages (print AND online), Hello Google!”

“Though 63% of consumers and small business owners turn to the internet first for information about local companies and 82% use search engines to do so, only 44% of small businesses have a website.

What’s more, half spend less than 10% of their marketing budget online, according to research from Webvisible and Nielsen (via MarketingCharts).

The research, undertaken to learn how internet users find local businesses from which to purchase products or services, finds an accelerating trend toward online media for local search. At the same time, it uncovers a significant disconnect between the way small business owners act as consumers vs. the way they market their businesses online. Webvisible calls this disparity “the great divide.”

Tools for Finding Local Business

The survey found search engines, by a large margin, are the most popular source for finding local information.

The list of top sources for local information:
82% use search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN).
57% use Yellow Pages directories.
53% use local newspapers.
49% use Internet Yellow Pages (such as yellowpages.com or superpages.com)
49% use TV.
38% use direct mail.
32% White Pages directories
Of those surveyed, 50% said search engines (such as Google, Yahoo, or MSN) were the first place they looked when seeking a local business, while 24% chose the Yellow Pages directories.

Overall Satisfaction with Search High

An overwhelming majority of searchers (92%) are happy with the results they get when using search engines, despite the fact that 39% report frequently not being able to locate a particular known business. Webvisible said this means that while searchers don’t always find the specific business (no online advertising/no website, etc.), they may choose to contact a similar business with a stronger online presence.”

Read the entire article on MarketingVOX.com.