One More Cringe-Worthy Stat About Small Business Websites

dislike-thumb-downIt feels like the folks at BIA/Kelsey and vSplash are trying to make me ill. :)

Just a couple weeks ago, they released a set of alarming statistics about the (sorry) state of small business websites — things like 60 percent of them don’t even have a contact phone number on the home page. And on Monday, they another cringe-worthy stat. Ready?

Less than 20 percent of small business websites have a link to the company’s social media presence.

Ugh. I “dislike” that stat.

Not all small businesses are actively using social networking, so obviously that number won’t reach anywhere close to 100 percent. A recent Borrell study suggested that about 64 percent of small businesses currently have a social media presence, and estimated that 80 percent will by the end of this year. If you trust those numbers, then you’d hope that more than 20 percent would also promote their social presences via their websites.

I suppose “there’s nowhere to go but up” applies right about now.

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  1. Build your website to build your brand! | socialsimple | May 4, 2012
  1. Roger Hicks says:

    I am appalled at how many website strategy meetings I have facilitated with new clients who have not visited their websites since they were launched. Just one more reason websites should be updated as often as possible – things are always changing.

  2. Neal says:

    Matt,

    The state of the SMB digital presence on a global basis is really pretty bad. There are of course lots of surveys out there that suggest SMBs are way farther along with social media, but those are surveys among SMBs who have opted in to a research panel and get paid in some fashion. SMB DigitalScape is not entirely comprehensive – we hope it will be more comprehensive in the coming months. Greg Sterling posted something today that confirms the poor state of the SMB website and web presence. What cannot be disputed is that SMBs are facing a dizzying array of media and marketing options and making sense of them and picking the right ones and then having a plan to stay current and active is daunting.

  3. I think there is a fundamental disconnect where some people don’t associate a website or social networking as an extension of the networking and advertising they already do “in person.” I think the challenge for many of us is communicating to our customers that a web presence is another tool, just like radio, TV, and print. Customers are changing where they find information and businesses much change with them.

  4. I don’t see it growing much, if any. I personally think more companies are giving up on social marketing than are attempting to try it.

    Social media marketing/efforts does not guarantee more sales, while other marketing efforts, do. Same with social ads or search ads, for some they work (for sure in the past), but for most people they never worked. If they did, we would see the same “small” brands all over FB/Google years later, but we don’t…..for a reason.

    ~Chris

  5. Jason Hull says:

    True, many businesses jump on the social media hype bandwagon only to realize that getting 100 fans on facebook of your closest friends does not turn them all into sales. Websites need to be effective at selling. Social Media is a nice way to allow people to connect, get feedback, etc. but real leads come from taking care of your existing clients and properly marketing. Nothing seems to be more effective than human to human contact, which seems so backwards to all these new fangled technology based marketing firms. Remember this, people like people. When I make it a focus, I get just a much business off of rubbing shoulders with locals business owners as I do from all my online marketing efforts combined. There is so much hype and lack of integrity in the wild west of the Internet that real human connection goes a long way towards building trust.

    Not only that but studies show that physical touch such as shaking hands can release oxytocin, a trust building hormone. If you are knee deep in online marketing and want to stand out… get offline and get real with people.

  6. suzanne says:

    I agree with Jason above, except for the fact that Google counts social media presence in its algorhythm. I have a very large ecommerce client and the final verdict there was that Facebook wasn’t winning many sales at all. My own personal facebook is now completely cluttered with outreach from businesses. Yes I know I signed up for them! However, it seems that the more interesting info from friends is now being outnumbered about 20 to 1 by commercial b.s. This imbalance is making Facebook less tempting to me. Thanks, Matt, for more great info.
    Suzanne

  7. Loving the commentary here… I think a lot of business owners don’t realize how important their website is – or the potential with social media. Ever since I was a kid and the web was being born, it was clear to me how important it was going to be for businesses. I think the main thing they aren’t clear on is opportunity.

    They don’t see the website as the face of the business, as the place of the greatest component of conversation – the fact that all the questions can be answered by the time the prospect gets them on the phone… I think more than ever the divide between those who have a website and use it well and those who don’t is becoming a gulf, without a quality website all authority and seriousness is questioned… I have put together a Great Business Website Formula if anyone wants it – Downloads on NWeSource dot com…

  8. Most small business owners have a lot of priorities that come higher than the company website. Generally turns into the site getting worked on by a friend that “is familiar with wordpress” and details like a phone number on the front page get left out.

  9. Matt McGee says:

    Thanks for the great variety of comments, everyone. Much appreciated. I guess the main thing for me now is … how do we convince SMBs that they need to pay more attention to their web presence? And if we’re already trying that, why aren’t they buying into the idea?

  10. I have to say, I’ve only recently put our main business phone number and social media links on our home page. I really hadn’t spent much time on our facebook site so it was pretty basic. Twitter I had been on for a while… so I finally got my facebook looking pretty cool and linked to both facebook and twitter. I guess we’ll see if it helps but at least it makes me feel better.

  11. Keith E. McGahey says:

    Hi Matt,

    I must say, your suggestion to do some user testing was a real eye opener for me when redesigning my site. 100% of user testers said they would leave my site to research online reviews, etc. That allows a significant chance of finding a similar business while they’re doing their research and choosing to spend their money there.

    In response, I added links to my homepage for my review pages (Places, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing) and social media pages that all present in pop-out/new page. That way people can do the research without leaving the site. If they aren’t there, people will probably leave to find them and probably not come back.

  12. Not surprising that they are missing some of the basics. I’ve seen some that don’t have a basic contact us page either.

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