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AT&T Poll Says Small Business to Up 'Online Marketing Ante' in 2012, Recognizing Increased Importance in Generating Sales

Male Business Owners Rely More on Websites, While Female Counterparts Lean More on Social Media to Market Their Businesses. LinkedIn and Facebook Presence Increasing, Twitter Presence Declining Slightly

Dallas, Texas, March 28, 2012

Nearly 60% of small businesses surveyed plan on spending as much or more in 2012 as they did in 2011 on online marketing efforts, according to the 2012 AT&T* Small Business Technology Poll.

Inexpensive, modern grassroots marketing techniques – both online and offline – have grown to be among the most popular for small businesses in the past several years likely due to ease of use and general affordability.  While 79% of small businesses surveyed are using word-of-mouth to promote their business, 63% are using their company website, and 39% are using social media channels.

The AT&T Small Business Technology Poll**, which nationally surveyed more than 1,200 small businesses with two to 100 employees, also revealed the following:

Social Networks

  • Since 2010, the use of location-based social channels, such as Foursquare, among small business owners has nearly doubled from 5% to 9%. 
    • 25% of small business owners using location-based services believe that the application is important for sales generation, compared to just 2% in 2010. 
  • Small businesses with a LinkedIn presence increased from 25% in 2010 to 31% in 2011, a jump of 25%.
  • Small businesses with a Facebook presence increased slightly from 41% in 2010 to 44% last year, while those with a Twitter presence dropped slightly year-over-year from 19% to 18%.
  • While LinkedIn has always been a popular resource for recruiters, small business owners are increasingly using the social forum for networking with other businesses and gaining awareness from other businesses and consumers in the local community.
  • Surprisingly only 4% of small businesses are using daily deal sites (i.e. LivingSocial, Groupon) for marketing purposes, led by leisure/tourism/lodging, of which 14% are using these sites.
  • Of those businesses using daily deal sites, more than 90% are running promotions at least several times per year. 

Digital Presence

  • Male business owners are more likely to rely on their company website for marketing than female owners (65% vs. 58%), while female business owners are more likely to rely on social media than their male counterparts (48% vs. 34%).
  • Among small business owners that are using wireless mobile devices, those in the education and non-profit fields are accessing social media at the highest rates, 50% and 52% respectively, compared to national average of 43%. 
  • Three in four (75%) small businesses surveyed have a website, about the same as last year, with nearly a third (31%) having a mobile website – i.e., one designed for viewing on a smartphone.

Quotes

“In today’s market, small business owners need to maintain a competitive edge, and with a variety of low-cost resources available, small businesses can easily deploy complex marketing campaigns that span all media and audiences,” said Ebrahim Keshavarz, AT&T vice president of Small Business Product Management.  “That’s why we’ve created simple solutions like the AT&T Messaging Toolkit, which enables customized marketing programs that can be shared via multiple mediums at once, whether it be Facebook, SMS, email or more.  We’re dedicated to further exploring such technology solutions that enhance both customer and end-user experiences, and keep small businesses in business.”

For more information and additional results from the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, including market variations, please visit the poll’s media kit.

General Information

Small businesses that want more information about all AT&T products and services can visit AT&T Small Business. For free business resources such as webinars, articles, case studies and best practices, they can visit AT&T Small Business InSite.

Additionally, real-time information and updates can be found on the AT&T Small Business Facebook page and AT&T Small Business Twitter channel. Also, here’s a video highlighting poll results.