Small businesses, especially retailers, often struggle to gain awareness. A new survey of U.S. Internet users, reported by eMarketer, indicates the two key ways consumers primarily find out about small businesses is through online research and word of mouth.
The survey, conducted by Vistaprint Digital Services, indicated that 36.7 percent of Internet users primarily found out about small businesses via online research, while 35.0 percent primarily found out about small businesses through word of mouth. Social media lagged behind at 13 percent, while "walking into a store" came in at just 8.4 percent. In addition, 36.4 percent of respondents said "they often check out the store online prior to visiting."
The study suggests, not surprisingly, that it is increasingly important for small businesses to have a strong online presence. Just as important, small businesses need to be aware that consumers use mobile devices for online research. A separate study cited by eMarketer indicated that 52 percent of small businesses have a mobile-optimized website; however, 40 percent had not yet optimized their sites for mobile.
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