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and Medium-Sized Business Barometer Reveals Majority of Businesses
Are Generating Sales Online
Key findings reveal businesses rely heavily on their
Websites and Internet marketing efforts for positive sales leads.
Inc. (Nasdaq:INLD), a leading provider
of websites and online services for small and medium-sized businesses
(SMB), today announced the results of its Summer 2005 Small and
Medium-sized Business Barometer, a nationwide survey of 780 leaders
of small and medium-sized businesses.
The findings reveal that the majority (57 percent)
of business leaders with websites said they generate monthly revenue
through online purchases or offline purchases that were influenced
by their website. The survey also showed that of those businesses
which are actively using eCommerce features (such as online payment
transactions, online business forms or email requests) to sell through
their website, 82 percent are receiving monthly revenue from their
Of the 72 percent of respondents with a business
website, more than half are using or interested in using email marketing
(60 percent) and search engine optimization (54 percent). Additionally,
78 percent report their business is healthier - has a competitive
advantage or stronger economic footing - because they have a website,
and 76 percent say their website generates leads for their business.
Online Benefits to Small Businesses
The findings also reveal that the majority of business
leaders surveyed (61 percent) are already using web-based applications
to manage business functions such as banking, company email, accounting,
payroll and search-engine optimization. Nearly all surveyed (96
percent) said their business has Internet access. Broadband access
through high-speed T-1 connections (29 percent), DSL (29 percent)
and cable modems (22 percent) outpaced dial-up connectivity (14
percent) and access through other means (3 percent).
"These results demonstrate that business leaders
understand the importance of the Internet, websites and online marketing
tools and are acting on that knowledge," said Jeffrey M. Stibel,
CEO of Interland. "Since first introducing the Interland Small
and Medium-sized Business Barometer in 2003, we have seen significant
growth of businesses using online tools and offerings to attract,
service and satisfy customers."
The Barometer also reveals that websites are becoming
more central to their underlying businesses. 53 percent of small
businesses with websites say their sites are primarily to provide
company credibility, and 29 percent say their site provides a critical
building block for developing the products and services they sell.
When asked how website success is evaluated, 54 percent say through
customer and prospect comments; 48 percent say site activity, traffic
and number of visitors; 36 percent cite sales leads; 24 percent
say online sales; and 21 percent say efficiencies of internal processes
such as faster payment processing or fewer phone calls.
Businesses appear to be spending more time updating
their websites than in previous years. In fact, 52 percent of small
businesses say they update their sites once a month or more, up
from only 37 percent in the fall of 2003. Business service providers,
retailers and non-profit organizations updated their sites far more
frequently than manufacturers and personal service businesses. Overall
trends show that once a business has had a website for more than
one year, the frequency with which it updates its site increases
When asked to define the role of marketing in their
company, 49 percent of all small-business leaders said it was used
to generate sales, 38 percent said to build credibility or brand
awareness, 33 percent selected to generate leads and 29 percent
said they don't market their company. When examining how those with
a website and those without a website responded to this question,
52 percent of those without a website said they "don't market
their company" while only 19 percent of those with a website
selected this answer.
Views on Vacation and Business Travel
The group was also polled on their vacation plans
for 2005. A quarter of respondents said they were planning to take
a month or more of vacation this year; however, 17 percent said
they planned to take no time off or less than a week. Only 30 percent
of small-business leaders surveyed said they "totally disconnect"
when on vacation. The majority (49 percent) admit to "checking
in from time to time," 15 percent "check in daily"
and 6 percent say they are in "constant contact with the office."
While away on vacation, the communications tool
of choice for small-business leaders to bring with them is the wireless
phone - 89 percent. Laptops came in second, with 42 percent bringing
a portable PC on vacation, 12 percent tote a PDA, 3 percent carry
Blackberries and 3 percent admit to packing overnight shipping supplies
along with their suntan lotion and sunglasses.
Small-business leaders were also queried about how
they are most likely to go about making business travel plans. Sixty-seven
percent say they opt for the Net over the human touch. Small businesses
prefer to book business travel needs online directly from service
providers (35 percent) or from a full-service travel site (32 percent)
rather than working with a travel agent (18 percent) or calling
the travel providers directly (15 percent).
Small Business Surfing and Computing
Surprisingly, despite today's ongoing battle with
computer viruses, worms and spam, 42 percent of small businesses
say they have experienced no computer-performance issues over the
past year. Slightly more (44 percent) say their computers have slowed
down, and 30 percent report instances of freezing or crashing that
require the computer to be shut down or restarted.
One possible reason why these numbers are lower
than one might expect could be that a whopping 97 percent of those
businesses surveyed say they have virus software installed on office
computers, and 70 percent say they update that software weekly.
Nearly as impressive, 80 percent use software that searches for,
destroys and prevents spyware and adware from being downloaded from
the Internet onto business computers - something that 62 percent
say has happened to them in that last 12 months. Additionally, 70
percent say they back up their computer files at least weekly -
34 percent back up business files daily.
About The Summer 2005 Interland Small and
Medium-sized Business Barometer
A total of 780 leaders of small and medium-sized
businesses participated in a nationwide online survey of organizations
with 500 or fewer employees. Company size ranged from less than
$250,000 in annual revenue to more than $5 million, and 81 percent
had been in business for five years or more. Seventy-two percent
of respondents said they had a business website. Industry breakouts
were as follows: 33 percent business services; 20 percent personal
services; 19 percent retail; 17 percent non-profit; and 11 percent
manufacturing. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus
Inc. (Nasdaq:INLD) is a provider of websites and online services
focused on helping small and medium-sized businesses by providing
knowledge, services and tools to build, manage and promote businesses