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NEWS: SMEs believe more should be done to market their business online

A new ReachLocal survey revealed 55 per cent of small businesses believe more could be done to market their business online.

Over half (54 per cent) do not fully understand which marketing tactics are delivering a return for their business, while nearly a quarter (23 per cent) say they spend money where they think it works, but have little evidence to back up its success.

The study also reveals that only 31-35 per cent of email or website enquiries are responded to in less than an hour, which could cost small businesses dearly by losing out on potential customers.

Paul Liascos, UK managing director for ReachLocal, said: “Online marketing can be highly effective, but it’s wasted money if you can't respond quickly to the enquiries generated. The whole marketing and buying cycle has to work well to ensure that companies do not leak leads.”

Meanwhile, a Harvard Business Review study found that 50 per cent of customers choose to do business with the company that responds to them first. The failure to respond on time was admitted by 79 per cent of small businesses that said up to 25 per cent of their enquiries are not followed up on at all. Time is a consistent issue for small businesses, however this research underscores the importance of following up online enquiries as they have a direct impact on revenue.

The survey polled UK SMEs, from a wide range of vertical markets, to explore how they felt about online marketing and managing the enquiries they receive.