Though BIA/Kelsey’s LCM 15 survey suggests that SMBs are still sluggish to adopt mobile websites (fewer than 10 percent) or other forms of mobile marketing, we believe mobile momentum will finally accelerate as business owners’ personal comfort with the device grows. Manta’s Q2 SMB Wellness Index, which reveals that proprietors use their mobile phones frequently for a variety of business purposes, reinforces this thinking.
Results from Manta’s SMB panel indicate that 75 percent of those surveyed use a mobile device for business daily, with 51 percent doing so multiple times throughout the day (21 percent answered “at least once an hour”). 25 percent access business apps.
As for “why,” the prevailing choice (54 percent) was to check e-mails/texts on mobile. This continued attachment to e-mail explains why many digital marketing platforms incorporate e-mail alerts and allow business owners to log into platforms and respond to problems (a negative review, for example) directly through e-mail.
Additionally, while LCM 15 suggests yet again that phone calls and store visits are the most valued leads, Manta’s research highlights that once a customer is acquired or a partner established, ongoing communication is more likely to occur online. 39 percent of SMBs use online channels as the primary way to communicate with customers (versus 31 percent by phone and 26 percent in person), while 44 percent of SMBs prefer online for vendor/partner engagement (followed closely by the phone at 40 percent).
This bodes well for business-oriented social networks such as Manta (which offers a full Connections suite to enable partner engagement) and LinkedIn. It also hints that SMBs are finally becoming more aware of the continuous engagement required to retain business and support customers online.