Almost three quarters of small businesses still don’t have their own website, and 40 per cent don’t use email in their everyday work, a new survey commissioned by Google shows.
The survey of 500 businesses with 20 employees or less, undertaken by Research International, found 40 per cent did not use the internet regularly, and a further 34 per cent did not operate a stand-alone website but were listed on directories or similar.
Google AdWords product specialist Kate Conroy said one in five worldwide searches were of a local nature. But only one in four Australian small businesses had ventured into their own online marketing, using strategies such as AdWords – pay-per-click advertising on Google – or email marketing.
The survey included businesses from sectors including retail, travel and finance.
Ms Conroy said many small operators believed an online presence was not relevant to them, while others thought a website was the only way to get online.
“If you can fill in a form and hit save, then you can get your business on Google Maps. There are a lot of online directories that you could also sign up to, you might even start a blog, you can put a video of your business on YouTube,” she said.
“I think in a lot of cases small businesses don’t realise how popular they are online. We’ll get more searches for hairdressers than we’ll get for Britney Spears.”
Google figures show the number of searches from mobile phones was increasing, and that businesses liked being able to calculate their return on investing online.
Businesses targeting internet users spent an average of 31 per cent of their marketing budget online in 2009, and indicated that was likely to increase.
According to Nielsen, Australians spend an average of 17.6 hours a week online, making up 33 per cent of their total media time.