Fully 86 percent of small and mid-sized businesses (500 employees or fewer) rely on their websites to look for new customers, a survey of 300 business managers and owners suggests.
But small business owners and managers use a wide range of channels to look for new customers, a study by Bredin Business Information suggests.
But 74 percent use email and search marketing. Some 57 percent use blogs and LinkedIn. As you might guess, executives are not as satisfied with the channels as they want to be.
But given typical marketing industry rules of thumb, virtually all of the channels are effective. For example, you might think the fact that 29 percent of respondents think blogs and other forms of social media are effective, a huge drop from the 2010 surveys, as an indication that the channels "don't work."
But compared to a direct response "success" rate of perhaps one percent, 29 percent effectiveness is quite high. Still, the 2011 survey results indicate that an initial burst of enthusiasm in 2010 for various forms of social media now has settled down.
That's normal for any emerging channel: there is too much optimism at first. Then reality sets in and marketers learn to use each tool in the right way, with reasonable expectations.
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