small-business-local-marketingThere’s no time like the present to consider the state of local web marketing for the small business owner. With a constantly-changing playing field and ever-advancing social media platforms, it’s a confusing world out there, but luckily we’re here to make sense of it all for the here and the now.

So, how are small business owners doing, these days, when it comes to taking advantage of online marketing opportunities? One way to get an accurate glimpse into the state of affairs is to see what the ILM West conference had to say about it all. There, research released by BIA/Kelsey, local media/advertising experts, was released to a very attentive audience of marketers, business leaders, and news agencies.

And what did this research have to tell us about small business owners and online local marking? For one, they’re spending lots of money on web-based marketing initiatives.

What the research had to say was both distressing and encouraging at the same time. It showed that an overwhelming majority of small business owners spent about a quarter of their marketing budgets in the online arena. That shows an upwards long-term trend, and tells us that small business owners are finally catching on as to where their marketing dollars make the biggest impact.

What this means for SBO’s is that if they’re not already paying attention to the Web, they’re going to lose out. Why? Because their competitors are already there!

Now, the problem with small business owners and their online marketing efforts…

Business owners may be catching on to the effectiveness of local SEO marketing, but they sure as heck haven’t mastered the intricacies yet! Here’s what the research found out about the websites of small business owners in their study:

  • less than 15% even had a local phone number on their home page
  • only about a quarter of them had an email address on their website
  • slightly over a third of the websites consisted of only one page

This is telling us that there are certainly a lot of missed opportunities out there. This also doesn’t even make sense, considering many small business owners’ attitudes towards their website. So many say they want phone calls and walk-ins and don’t care whether people click on their website. Well then get your phone number on your site so people can call you!

The Take-Away for Small Business Owners

For business owners whose websites are missing important information or just need some more content, the message is to get your website updated first. Only after you’ve put some work into that can you really make a true effort at local SEO, social media or any other marketing efforts.

Looking to the Future…

Going forward, small business owners should focus on mobile for their local search marketing initiatives. This is based on the fact that more and more of the world is using smartphones rather than computers to do everything. The stats prove this, with most of Top Pages traffic coming from mobile devices, most of Google’s mobile search queries done by people trying to find something local, etc.

Take-away #2: while you’re in there updating your website, go ahead and optimize it for mobile, too!