Many small businesses still lack an online presence, sadly, missing out on opportunities to market their businesses. To understand the benefits, barriers and preferences for creating an online presence, Verisign recently worked with Merrill Research to conduct a global survey of 1,050 small businesses with an online presence about their experiences and gained some interesting insights.
Having a website and domain name, the survey participants said, allows for more control and are a good way to support e-commerce/online sales. And they were viewed as benefiting communication, customer reach plus ease of use were all given as the main benefits for why websites were chosen as a company’s primary online presence.
In China, websites were credited by respondents for their capability to distribute information quickly. Chinese participants were also likely to cite the convenience of anytime access that a website allows. The low cost/expense of a website is mentioned in China more than any other country (17 percent vs. 0-3 percent elsewhere). Two out of five French participants mention that a website allows them to establish/spread corporate presence/identity.
The second most popular means of online presence cited by participants was social media, primarily Facebook, although Twitter has a strong presence in Turkey, India, and the U.K., and in China Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo were the most popular sites. For the small number of small businesses using social media sites as their primary online presence (13 percent), the reasons most often cited for this choice included cost, convenience and familiarity (i.e. it is easier and cheaper than maintaining a company website; and, in many cases, is the method they are most familiar with).
The key findings of the survey were:
For more information about all of the findings from this research, read the report: Benefits and Barriers of Bringing a Small Business Online: Perspectives From Global Small Businesses [pdf]. To learn more about other small business trends, visit www.VerisignInc.com/SmallBiz.