May 7, 2012, 1:14 PM

Small businesses using mobile marketing see jump in new business

69% of small businesses consider mobile marketing crucial to growth, a study finds.

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69% of small businesses consider mobile marketing crucial to their growth in the next five years, but a majority of them have yet to significantly employ mobile marketing tactics, according to a new study of 500 U.S. small business owners by online marketing firm Web.com Group Inc.

“With more and more consumers specifically searching for local businesses on their mobile devices, it is imperative that small businesses invest in a mobile presence,” says David Brown, chairman and CEO of Web.com. “Having a mobile presence can be a huge competitive advantage for small businesses trying to attract local customers by instantly introducing a potential customer to their business’ products and services in a mobile-enhanced way.”

While 60% of small businesses surveyed have a conventional web site, only 26% have a web site with some mobile-optimized pages, the study finds. And only 14% have a stand-alone mobile site. Those who are catering to mobile consumers are reaping benefits: 84% of small businesses with a mobile presence report increases in new business activity directly related to their mobile tactics, the study says.

Studies have shown that the majority of searchers on smartphones have local intent, which offers local businesses a good opportunity for marketing to mobile consumers. However, the Web.com study finds that 61% of small businesses do not have a mobile search strategy.

Small businesses have different motivations when diving into mobile marketing. The top three according to the Web.com study are to provide better service to existing customers at 38%, to attract more local customers at 36%, and to gain a competitive advantage at 34%.

In the end, small businesses are gearing up this year. 64% will spend more on mobile marketing in 2012 compared with 2011, the study finds. 33% indicate their mobile spend this year will remain the same as last year.

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