Businesses neglecting online marketing 

Only one in four small companies is carrying out any kind of online marketing to attract local business, research finds.

Despite this, the majority (56 per cent) of the 1,000 small business owners surveyed by OnePoll state that local custom is vital to their business.

Furthermore, 57 per cent of all SMEs use suppliers all or mostly from within a ten-mile radius of their location.

One major reason for the failure to use the internet to target local customers is a lack of skills when it comes to digital marketing and online networking.

Two thirds of businesses surveyed (67 per cent) cite a lack of expertise, confidence or understanding of the different sites and opportunities available as a reason for not venturing online.

Some 43 per cent of Google’s search queries are now local, representing a 20 per cent rise over the last two years, largely driven by an increase in mobile usage and geotagged content.

For those businesses that are investing in online marketing, budgets are extremely tight, with nearly half (45 per cent) spending less than £200 a month, with fewer than one in ten spending upwards of £1,000 per month.

This pressure is leading to more cost-effective methods being chosen, with PR and content marketing the number one choice (31 per cent), with display advertising (28 per cent) and then email marketing (24 per cent) proving the most popular.

Siobhan Bales, founder and managing director of business network Bdaily, which commissioned the research says, ‘I’m astonished that given SMEs account for 99 per cent of all enterprise in the UK and more than half of them rely on local business to survive, so few are using the web to connect with their local business communities.

‘SMEs really should be looking at the web as a local resource, not just a worldwide one.’

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