It appears to me that small businesses aren't taking online marketing and having their own websites serious enough. What a shame .... plain stupid if you allow me to be blunt.
I wonder if it is because of a lack of awareness .... or the technology tag ( admittedly sometimes scary for traditional businesses).
Personally I don't think it's really about technology awareness. Or at least it shouldn't be. If you don't embrace technology today you aren't going to survive. Period. If you refuse to "be aware" ... you're either stubborn or brain dead.
Rather, I believe many Small Businesses have websites but can't .... or more often than not don't .... rely upon them as a marketing channel to generate significant sales.
In these instances their marketing activities tend to be very tactical and personal. Such as relationship building, trade show participation, e-mail campaigns, distribution of product samples, proposal generation, cold calling, and traditional face-to-face sales calls.
All of these aren't bad and I don't mean to say they are. But a well done business website can compliment each of those activities IF it's done well. Plus, a quality business website opens up a whole new world of marketing potential .... that is actually more cost effective with a potentially much higher ROI. In other words reach more of your target market for less cost and result in more sales than "traditional" approaches.
We are seeing an almost explosive interest from small to very small companies looking to get their online marketing footprint in place.
Most are overwhelmed and don't know *how* to get started.
The web marketing firms I know that are doing extremely well landing small businesses as clients are spending time educating their prospects while dispelling the myths about online marketing.
Small business owners are typically street-smart individuals who frown on the pie-in-the-sky pitch from most online marketers. "Pay me $10k and I'll get you to page 1 of google" or "I can get you 10,000 twitter followers" or "I'll manage your PPC campaigns and drive you tons of traffic". Most of the people making these claims are not delivering so small business owners have tuned them out.
They are looking to do business with someone who can give them the facts, charge a fair fee and perform as agreed. If you can do that, you'll make a killing with the small business audience.
Now .... one resource I know that can meet that expectation is SBI.
I've friends and clients who are very pleased with their experience using SBI for web development and support of their small business website(s). The business websites they create for you are very reasonably priced, feature rich, and have SEO-SEM principles embedded directly into the design. SBI is also well known for their great customer support.
For more info go to: SBI Small Business Websites