As more small businesses begin to utilize mobile technology and social media marketing, location-based marketing is taking a backseat.
Ninety-seven percent of business owners recently surveyed said they are using social media channels, including YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to market their businesses. On the other hand, just 17 percent of businesses say they utilize location-based promotions, such as Foursquare, in promoting their business.
Small business owners are also taking their social marketing mobile. Overall, 66 percent of business owners say they are currently using either mobile devices — smartphones and tablets— or mobile solutions— optimized websites or text-message marketing — to market their business.
"It’s encouraging that a majority of small businesses recognize that their customers are relying more than ever on their mobile devices to find information, look for deals and even to make purchases," said Joel Hughes, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Constant Contact. "That said, small business owners are still getting their sea legs, so it’s not surprising that they’re leading with two areas where they have a solid track record of success with customer engagement: social media and email."
Other business owners are seeing the value of mobile devices as useful for day-to-day operations. Those operations include using mobile devices as point of sale solution and as a service to help manage their business. Apps have become a crucial tool for business owners as they balance multiple aspects of their business. Business owners say they use a number of apps to help their business, the most popular of which include calendar, costumer communications, GPS and accounting smartphone apps.
Even though a majority of business owners have turned to social media and mobile technologies, 34 percent of business owners remain holdouts. A majority of those holdouts say they have no desire to use social media in the future. That’s because those businesses say they do not have a demand from customers for those services. Business owners also say they have not had the time to implement new tech solutions or they do not have enough familiarity to know how to use them.
"Generally speaking, small business owners have very little spare time on their hands, so learning how to use mobile technology for their business is not necessarily tops on their to-do list," said Hughes. "We received some anecdotal survey responses that said 'It costs too much' and 'I have no idea how this stuff works,' representing the subset of small businesses that will forgo mobile opportunities until their customers start demanding mobile communications or payment solutions."
The research was based on the responses of more than 1,000 respondents in the Constant Contact Small Biz Council.