There are almost 28 million small businesses in the US with about 50% of the working population working one of them. The small business sector is huge! That’s why it’s especially shocking that a large number of small business owners (SMBs) don’t pay close attention to, or are simply unaware of the internet and the technology it has to offer. Simply put, they are naive and wrecking their chance of success.

It’s astonishing that, in a highly connected world in which people are constantly interacting with the web, 52% of small businesses don’t even have a website. I mean, seriously, how can people, owning a business, not put any importance on having a web presence? It’s not that time anymore, in which only “younger” people go online. In fact, more than one in two seniors use the internet nowadays. So, it’s time to face the fact that almost everyone is using the web.

Having a website is only part of the story

If your business has a website and you think you’re in the clear, think twice. Having a website is one thing, but having one that is also optimized for mobile devices is quite another. According to a survey from yodle, a whopping 90% of small business websites are not mobile-optimized.

In today’s smartphone and tablet era, a non-optimized page can make or break your online business. Google released a study in 2012, saying that 61% of mobile visitors quickly leave a website if they don’t find what they are looking for right away on a mobile site. And guess to which site they likely move on to… Yes, to a competitor’s website which actually looks good on mobile devices.

Get your business out there

Yodle’s survey also found out that, in terms of marketing, almost 1 in 4 of SMBs don’t spend a single dime on marketing, while just over half spend less than $500 a month. And from the ones spending money on marketing, only half of them actually do not measure its results. That simply leaves me speechless. How can people not promote their business? I refuse to believe that there’s one single business owner out there saying that he’s not interested in increasing his sales. There are so many great low-cost ways to market a business online and to attract potential customers to your website or directly to your store. With a decent marketing strategy, SMBs can significantly increase their customer base and sales. It’s not rocket science.

Final words

If you’re a small business owner, then there’s no way around it – it’s time you built up a well-optimized web presence and start leveraging the potential of online marketing. Start putting your business in front of the eyes of potential customers surfing the web. For example, use location based services and Google ads to get found by people doing a local search on their smartphone. Why? Because 88% of those people take action within 24 hours, meaning that they place a call or visit a store.

Stop believing that word-of-mouth or business referrals are the best ways for you to get new customers. Once you start promoting your business online, you will soon realize on what you missed out. The hardest thing is to simply start with it. But that, of course, depends on your will to succeed.

Are you, as a SMB owner, already investing a lot of time in your online presence and marketing? What sort of strategy do you follow? Please share your experiences in the comments.

Image courtesy of C. Thomas Anderson