Ready to Rock or Letting Opportunity Slide?

In our first research report we wanted to examine whether small businesses were ready to generate leads, sales, enquiries and customers online.   Are they taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the internet and social media?

Less than 18 months ago, leading commentators were talking about how the internet had levelled the playing field – how technological advances combined with cultural and economic factors to tilt the balance in favour of the little guy.

We wanted to see whether UK SMEs were geared up to the challenge.   To do this we selected a number of “best practice indicators”.   These were selected from recommendations from leading software companies, industry professionals and other research studies into online lead generation.

We decided on six best practice indicators, as these were seen to markedly effect search and inbound lead generation. We added a seventh indicator – a cookie/privacy policy and a means of capturing consent in line with EU privacy directives.   This was added not only as an indicator of legal compliance, but also of whether a business is keeping its website up to date and taking note of changes in best practice.

Initially we’ve analysed 100 websites in the North West of the UK.

The results were scary.

  • 75% of the sites had less than half of the essential elements we were looking for.
  • 70% of the sites weren’t optimised for viewing on a mobile device (despite reports this autumn suggesting that up to 60% of traffic was arriving at retail sites from a mobile device)
  • 88% of the sites had no means of capturing consent for cookies or a visible cookie policy

Take a look at the detailed report below to see the analysis in full.   We also discuss some of the possible causes and identify some straightforward remedial action.

SMEs have a vital part to play in the UK economy, the internet and social media provide them with an invaluable way of generating new business.   It is essential that they grasp the opportunity it presents.   Thankfully, the gaps that we’ve identified are not overly difficult to close.

SME Online Effectiveness Research Front Cover

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SME Online Effectiveness