The incredibly vast SMB market, comprising thousands of small and mid-sized businesses, is a highly coveted area for internet marketing. According to Ad-ology Small Business Marketing Forecast, “Nearly 25% of small business owners said they plan to spend more on social networking in 2010”. At present, it is estimated that only 50% of SMBs have a website and fewer still use allied online services for promotion and marketing activity. Needless to say, there is a huge untapped SMB market for websites and allied services.
Nowadays, a company website is the norm for an SMB to market itself. A tech-savvy SMB may add to his online presence by joining or incorporating Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, and follow this with search advertising, banner ads, videos, blogs, forums, ad tickers on mobile phones and more. Expanding the online presence all boils down to the tech-savvy attitude of the particular SMB and the net-savvy behaviour of their clients. SMBs with niche businesses, such as a content development firm or a tattoo parlour, may find they receive more orders online that walk-in customers.
Websites do draw a good level of traffic and increase the conversion metric which is greater if they appear in top site rankings on Google and Yahoo and even local search engines. The biggest benefit of online services for SMBs is that websites and allied services literally work 24/7 – users can log in anytime of the day or night and place orders – thereby adding to the revenue.
Moreover, investing in online marketing is more cost-effective than direct mailing or television advertisements, for instance. Keeping in the budget constraints limiting most of the SMBs, all their promotion and marketing needs are can be addressed through cost-effective internet marketing solutions. Emailing customers costs virtually nothing when compared with other marketing strategies. Through these solutions, even a small business which has a very local scope of operations can earn good profits. There is a limitless horizon of opportunities for the IT vendors so that they can focus on small and emerging enterprises such as plumbing businesses, little restaurants and other family-owned enterprises.
Internet and website companies gather a great deal of information about the type of business, business areas, products, services, customers, and other important information about the SMBs and incorporate all these in the websites. All this done by a band wagon of designers, integrators, technology experts, developers, testers, SEO experts, and of course the content and conceptualization team. Once the website is delivered, the responsibility does not end here as the IT vendors provide a platform for these SMB owners to update their information on a timely basis.
Despite this huge scope and potential for SMB market, opportunities are not being tapped effectively. Not every SMB owner is net-savvy and understands the dynamics and uses of web design and development, enterprise applications, web hosting and allied IT solutions. Perhaps, the SMB owners are not aware about these efficient methods which improve their visibility in the market and foster better client relationships and improve the number of customers who come to them for solutions. They need to be educated that these applications and IT solutions could actually open new vistas to better growth and enhanced business opportunities. The point should be driven home that there would be more revenues generated with proper integration of functionalities of their businesses.
All the SMB space needs is more education or rather familiarization with the Internet as a whole. Being online is their best bet to break down geographical barriers and promote their products and services to a global audience.
The IT vendors and technology providers could possibly explain the utilitarian value of leveraging technology to the SMB owners. By investing in these IT solutions, SMBs can be assured of greater ROI and better cost savings.Technologies are very dynamic and when changes keep happening every time, SMB owners who invest on IT solutions on a long term basis do not like the change. Here comes the role of the IT vendors who should earn the trust of the SMB owners and help them out in the journey of IT implementation.