Half of small business owners don’t know how to market firm

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Nearly half of small business owners are completely unaware of how to market their firm, according to new research.

The study of 500 leaders of small to medium-sized organisations found 42 per cent have no idea how to create an online profile, which could have a positive effect on promoting their business. And a staggering 39 per cent of the entrepreneurs polled don’t even have a company website.

Of those who do have one, one in 10 enlisted the help of a friend to set it up, and one in 20 relied on family. Furthermore,  six in 10 business owners haven’t even considered using social media to advertise.

It also emerged three in 10 will often seek business advice from others when unsure of how to proceed with something – with friends and family being the first port of call.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, found that although entrepreneurs generally haven’t paid to advertise their business on social media, eight in 10 do regularly use the likes of Facebook (73 per cent) and Instagram (59 per cent) to post about their products and services.

But just two in 10, half the number that utilise Facebook, post regularly on professional networking website LinkedIn.

Aside from advertising, SEO is another area of expertise some business owners are unaware of with three in 10 having no idea what it is and how it works.

Despite this, 39 per cent are considering a SEO strategy to improve their business’ google rankings. The results also found 36 per cent of business owners put aside at least 10 per cent of their revenue budget towards advertising their business.

When marketing their business online, 37 per cent consider a website to be the best way to show customers where to find them or who they are. A third also value a social media presence, while others deem advertising on social media, having online reviews and an offline presence as ways to promote their business.

However, nearly half of business owners (49 per cent) admit they could have made more sales for their business if they had marketed themselves properly online.

Rob Wass, director and co-founder of digital marketing platform Adzooma, which uses AI technology to help businesses of all sizes succeed online, and which commissioned the research, said:

“We’re currently experiencing digital transformation like no other – therefore digital marketing and online advertising is more important than ever.

“We’ve experienced a global pandemic and it’s become significantly more important for businesses to move online.

“It’s not necessarily surprising to see that around 50 per cent of small business owners don’t know how to best market their business, as for a lot of people it’s complicated and challenging given that they’re not digital marketers.

“However, in order to succeed businesses must be online and there are platforms and solutions available out there to achieve this.”


1. Setting up a website
2. Setting up a social media profile
3. Using social media advertising
4. Getting online reviews
5. Creating an online listing
6. Advertising in local media
7. Joining online communities
8. Posting flyers locally
9. Using directories
10. Implementing search engine optimisation (SEO)
11. Running Google Ads / PPC activity
12. Using content marketing
13. Using SEO strategies
14. Creating a blog
15. Attending/hosting a local/online event
16. Using influencer marketing
17. Advertising in national media
18. Running Microsoft Ads / PPC Activity (formerly Bing)
19. Microsoft Search Engine Marketing
20. Instilling the help of an agency
Chris Price
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