Mobile-friendly Web sites still an SMB rarity (survey)

Most small businesses believe mobile marketing will factor heavily in business growth over the next five years but few have moved to optimize their Web presence for mobile devices.

Although a majority of small businesses buy into the idea that mobile marketing should claim more of their technology investment dollars, few have spent money to ensure that their Web sites are appealing to browsers and visitors using smartphones.

That's according to a recent survey conducted in April by Group exploring mobile marketing trends. The poll, which reached 500 small-business owners, found that 69 percent of the respondents consider mobile marketing to be critical for growth during the next five years.

So far, so good.

But only 26 percent of those surveyed had invested time and money in ensuring that their Web site was optimized for visitors navigating to their site via a mobile device. An even smaller number, only 14 percent have a unique Web site built with mobile consumers in mind. Of those small-business owners that do have a special mobile site, 84 percent report that mobile marketing activities inspired an increase in traffic to their Web site, according to the survey data.

Noted CEO and Chairman David Brown:

"With more and more consumers specifically searching for local businesses on their mobile devices, it is imperative that small businesses invest in a mobile presence. Having a mobile presence can be a huge competitive advantage for small businesses trying to attract local customers by instantly introducing a potential customer to their business' products and services in a mobile-enhanced way."

Even small businesses that haven't invested in a Web site would do well to think about their presence in mobile search engines and on the mobile Web. That's because smartphones are increasingly replacing the notion of local "yellow pages" directories. So, small businesses that might have gotten away with skipping the Web because they were focused only on local clientele probably don't have that luxury when it comes to interacting with customers who happen to be mobile.

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