Feb 14, 2001
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You've probably heard the statistics: 65% of America's small business owners are online. However, marketers hoping to reach them should be aware that this target audience's Web usage patterns are different from those of typical businesspeople at larger companies.
Terri Lonier, President of Working Solo who advises Fortune 500 firms on how to reach small biz, says, "Small business owners are not browsers. While they look at the Web as a communication tool, they are not spending three hours a day surfing URLs. There are a lot of people on corporate T1 lines doing that -- but they aren't self-employed, that's for sure! Small business people are very much task oriented. For example, they want to go online to book and buy that airline ticket. They do that and then they get offline and go back to running their business."
Therefore, if you are trying to sell to small businesses online, MarketingSherpa suggests that you:
1) Make sure your offer and creative comes across as very useful (vs. fun or entertaining)
2) Double-check your site, landing pages and order forms to make sure buyers and information seekers can reach their objective in two-three clicks or less. Long multiple-paged order forms and hard-to-search product catalogs are a no-no.
3) Communicate with small business owners, vs. advertising at them. Offer a 24/7 online help line. Maybe even include a link to it in your email campaigns.
4) Market through sites small business owners use to accomplish essential tasks. Test co-registrations so your opt-in offer is included on order forms for related products. Ask media sites if they offer contextual commerce ad placement yet, so your ad will appear next to relevant content.