Pinterest and Groupon are the least productive online marketing options for small businesses, says a new report.
Online business community Manta surveyed some 600 small-firm owners, who said Pinterest received a 1 percent response and Groupon a less than 1 percent response to marketing. More than half of small-business owners (58 percent) said they struggled to find value in using Facebook to promote their business or don’t have a page at all.
Company websites proved to be more useful: Nearly a quarter of small business owners said their sites drive the most business.
The survey showed owners are increasingly seeking online-based ways to increase their customer base. A whopping 90 percent of those surveyed said they dedicate time to networking online, and 74 percent said they found online networking at least as valuable if not more so than the in-person variety.
Roughly half of small business owners said the most valuable benefit of going online to network is to pick up and target prospective customers. More than three-quarters (78 percent) said they snagged at least a quarter of their new customers through online or social media efforts this year.
“Small businesses understand they need to go where their audience is,” says Pamela Springer, Manta’s CEO. “Participating, networking and being found online is extremely important today in growing their business, so it’s not surprising that they are embracing the channel.”
Where the People Are
And indisputable 97 percent of consumers use the Internet to research products or services in their local area, says Jed Williams, director of market research firm BIA/Kelsey—making it critical for small businesses to boost awareness of their products and services online.
Joseph Buczek, president of Indiana and Missouri-based Lighthouse Construction and Restoration, said more and more people—“my prospective customers”—are looking online for remodeling and architectural plans.
"Over time, I've realized that it's very important for me to maintain a consistent presence for both my business and myself online,” he said.