66% of Small-Business Owners Use Mobile Technology, Mostly for Social and Email Marketing

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A new survey from Constant Contact finds that about 2 in 3 small-business owners are currently using a mobile device or solution, a promising level of adoption. However, that means a third of small-business owners are lagging behind, with a significant percentage of this group declaring that they have no plans to adopt mobile technology in the future.


Mobile technology usage
According to Constant Contact’s survey of 1,305 U.S. small-business owners, 66 percent of respondents say they are using a mobile device (i.e., smartphones and tablets) or solution (e.g., mobile-optimized websites, text message marketing). This leaves 34 percent of small-business owners out of the loop, with 65 percent of this segment saying they don’t plan to go mobile in the future.

The small-business owners who are using mobile technology appear to be using it for two primary reasons: social media marketing (73 percent) and email marketing (71 percent). These two uses are followed by advertising via social platforms, having a mobile-optimized website, running a tablet-based payment point-of-sale system and using mobile apps to manage operations (e.g., accounting).

Constant Contact - mobile tech usage

Constant Contact also reports that 97 percent of respondents are currently using mobile/social advertising on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. This was followed (at a safe distance) by location-based promotions (e.g., Foursquare check-ins), which got a 17 percent response. Text messages are used by 15 percent of small-business owners.

When it comes to small businesses’ mobile-optimized websites, 70 percent are optimized for social media, while 44 percent contain a menu, 40 percent contain individual product listings and 39 percent contain videos.

Constant Contact - mobile-optimized sites

Why not?
For small-business owners who aren’t utilizing mobile devices and solutions, 56 percent say their customers haven’t expressed demand for mobile communications, while 47 percent say their customers haven’t expressed demand for mobile payment solutions.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of respondents say they’re interested in mobile solutions but don’t know enough about how to use them, 33 percent say they’re interested but haven’t found time to implement mobile solutions, 31 percent say they don’t have a smartphone for work or business, and 28 percent say mobile isn’t relevant to their industry or business.

In light of these findings, consumers who want their favorite small businesses to be more mobile-friendly might want to simply speak up.

“Generally speaking, small business owners have very little spare time on their hands, so learning how to use mobile technology for their business is not necessarily tops on their ‘to do’ list,” said Joel Hughes, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development for Constant Contact. “We received some anecdotal survey responses that said ‘It costs too much’ and ‘I have no idea how this stuff works,’ representing the subset of small businesses that will forgo mobile opportunities until their customers start demanding mobile communications or payment solutions.”

iOS vs. Android
For the everyday consumer, Android mobile devices are more popular than iOS devices, according to comScore. Small-business owners, however, are not everyday consumers.

According to Constant Contact, 66 percent of small-business owners use iPhones, while 39 percent use Android smartphones. Meanwhile, 49 percent use iPads, while 15 percent use Android tablets.

Mobile apps
The survey finds that 82 percent of small-business owners use a calendar/time management app, while 74 percent use a customer communications app, and 52 percent use a GPS/mapping app.

Meanwhile, 44 percent use an accounting/invoicing app, 44 percent use an app for industry news/information consumption, and 29 percent use a travel planning app.

Future implementation
When asked the question, “What other mobile solutions would you be interested in implementing?” 45 percent of respondents pointed to the mobile optimization of their website, while 44 percent say social media marketing and 31 percent say text message marketing.

Constant Contact - mobile implementation

Whether they like it or not, many small-business owners will have to do more to embrace the mobile future, which is really the mobile present. A major reason for this is the growing use of mobile local searches.


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