'Great Divide' Separates Small Businesses from Consumers Online

A recent study by WebVisible and Nielsen found what they called a “great divide” between what consumers are doing to find local businesses and what those businesses are doing to reach them.

The study found that 63% of consumers turn first to the internet to find information about local businesses and that, at some point during their search, 82% and 49%, respectively, end up using online search engines and internet yellow pages. And the trend toward online resources is accelerating with 72% of consumers using search engines more today than they did two years ago.

washed out roadLocal businesses, on the other hand, have not moved online at the same pace as consumers. The study found that only 44% of local businesses have a website and half spend less than 10% of their marketing budget on internet advertising and nearly one-third do no online advertising at all.

But here’s the big conclusion drawn by the authors of the study: 92% of consumers are happy with the results of search engines while 39% report frequently not finding a particular known business, leading the authors to conclude consumers are searching for a particular known business but then choosing another similar business with a stronger online presence.

We previously discussed another ‘great divide’ that exists between local service-oriented businesses and consumers online. A study by Deloitte found that 72% of health care consumers want to schedule appointments online, yet only 10% of those consumers report ever having the opportunity to book an online appointment.

But here’s the good news: local service-oriented businesses can bridge both of these divides by establishing an effective online presence and then optimizing that presence by pointing found consumers to online booking pages. We previously touched on this and will continue to discuss how Full Slate can play a key role in closing the ‘great divide’ between you and consumers online!

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