A new survey by Interland www.interland.com finds that small and medium-sized businesses credit the Web for sales.
Interland’s Spring 2005 Business Barometer found that two-thirds of business leaders said their business Web sites were either generating revenue directly or influencing offline purchases in their nationwide survey of 1,032 leaders of small and medium-sized businesses. Around 94% report that their businesses have Internet access, and 7 out of 10 say that e-mail is a very or somewhat important part of their business.
When asked to select three marketing tools critical in driving business for their companies, community relations topped the list at 55%. Web sites were second at 47% and public/media relations third at 31%. E-Mail marketing ranked sixth at 21%, and search engine keyword marketing was eighth on the list at 18%.
“The study shows that small and medium-sized businesses that are using the Internet to market their services and offerings are getting a clear return in top-line revenues for their investment,” said Joel Kocher, CEO of Interland. “Looking at the data, you can start to see how tightly online tools and services are starting to fit with small-business priorities. For example, business e-mail can be used to help up-sell and cross-sell, to help reinforce customer loyalty and to reduce business expenses. We are getting to the point in most small-business categories where it will soon be safe to say that if you’re not online, you’re not really serious about being in business.”
The report showed that the 24% of the businesses surveyed that are actively using e-commerce features – such as online payment transactions, online business forms or e-mail requests – to sell through their Web site, 87% of them are receiving monthly revenue from their Web site. 42% say they derive more than a quarter of their monthly revenue from their Internet presence.
The impact of a Web site on overall business sales is even greater: 44% of those with Web sites said they generated from 1% to 25% of their 2004 revenues through online purchases or offline purchases that were influenced by their Web site. Additionally, nearly a quarter (24%) said from 26% to 100% of their revenue was attributable to having a Web site.
When asked how they use their business e-mail, 72% of those surveyed said they use it to communicate with existing customers, 56% with partners and business associates, 53% with potential buyers, 36% with employees and 33% to get and request bids. Only 14% said they don’t use e-mail in their business.