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Mobile and online search is the 800-pound elephant in the room for most small businesses. While the vast majority of small business owners believe it is important to be seen on major search sites (85 percent) and that prospective customers find them through search engines (78 percent), only 23 percent of them have a good sense of how listings drive traffic to their business.
That has created a major online directory disconnect between small businesses and the audiences they need to have to survive and thrive, according to research from Constant Contact, a developer of engagement marketing tools and services and directory-updating platforms.
Nearly half of small business owners (49 percent) confess that they have never updated their online listings, whether those listings appear on a search engine, review site or mobile app.
And another 50 percent have seen listings for their businesses that are not accurate.
This disconnect continues in spite of the fact that the No. 1 concern for small businesses is attracting new customers, according to Constant Contact. The chief villain in this piece, according to Constant Contact research, is time: 70 percent of small businesses say they don't have the time to manage listings on all of the sites that consumers use.
The majority of small business owners (84 percent) also believe that having a website that can easily be viewed on a mobile device is important to their business, but only one in four know how to create a mobile optimized website.
"Consumers are using the Internet as a discovery engine and the opportunity for a local business to be found by their next great customer continues to grow," said Wiley Cerilli, vice president and general manager of SinglePlatform from Constant Contact. "We know that small businesses are both time- and resources-starved, limiting their ability to update listings on every major site and app. The good news is that it doesn't have to be a time-consuming task. We aim to provide small businesses with a single place to update their business information."