The Facts

EMarketer quoted an Ad-ology survey today that found that 46 percent of small business owners do not have a Web site in 2009. A separate Vista Print study cited by eMarketer found that only half of those with a site are currently tracking their marketing efforts. Maybe that puts my fire about last week’s small business SEO debate into a bit more perspective.

If not, what about the stats from the new a Discover Small Business Watch poll mentioned by Denise O’Beary last week that corroborate Ad-ology’s numbers and adds in that more than 45 percent think it’s a myth that people even need one?

Granted, the number of small businesses with websites took a jump in the past two years, from 33 percent to 45 percent, a Discover study showed. How many more small businesses will join them this year? It’s unclear.
Is the discussion about why SEO is important for small business owners still unimportant? I don’t think so.
For me, these numbers do a lot to paint a picture of where many SMBs are in the Internet marketing learning curve. Yes, we’ve seen small businesses do some amazing things in social media. I actually think they’re some of the best unofficial social media marketers out there because they still have the heart, the ears, and the passion that many larger corporations have lost. But as the numbers offered by eMarketer and Discover show, not everyone is at that point. Some are still fighting getting their feet wet.

Our research indicates that businesses with a website have consistently higher revenues, more work in their sales pipeline and are more optimistic about the future.

What do the results show?

  • Revenue performance over last 12 months:  32 percent of businesses with a website have experienced revenue growth in the last year, compared to 22 percent of businesses without a website experiencing a growth.

  • Sales pipeline performance:  40 percent of businesses with a website have more work on, while 28 percent of businesses without a website have more work on.

  • Revenue expectations for next 12 months:  48 percent of business with a website expect revenue growth in the next 12 months, while only 36 percent of businesses without a website expect revenue growth.

The web is such a vital tool for business, so it’s great to see more embracing it. However while there has been an increase in businesses with a website (39 percent, up from 35 percent in November 2010), it seems the majority are still missing out on the advantages of getting online.

A majority of businesses (61 percent) don’t have a website.  And of this group, 45 percent don’t intend to get one.

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