SAN RAMON, CA--(Marketwired - Jul 18, 2013) - Local merchants across the U.S. overwhelmingly prefer investing in their own sites, social channels, and other traditional online marketing solutions compared to daily deal offers such as Groupon and Living Social, according to the results of a survey released today by Reply.com. The Reply.com "Pulse of Local Business Survey" also found local merchants slow to adopt mobile marketing techniques.
Formerly known as the MerchantCircle Survey and fielded periodically beginning in 2006, the survey polled more than 1300 local merchants across the country during May and June 2013.
"Local merchants are building more effective web sites, participating in social channels and using traditional online marketing tactics like lead generation for customer acquisition," said Payam Zamani, founder and CEO of Reply.com. "Yet it's also clear the current crop of online marketing solutions are too complex and too costly, and that they are better suited to national marketers than local merchants. Local merchants are increasingly looking for simpler, yet more effective ways, to reach their target audiences."
Key findings of the Reply.com Pulse of Local Business Survey include:
- Local merchants prioritize their own sites, search marketing and social. 49percent of survey respondents would like to invest additional time and money in site, search, and social initiatives.
- Online marketing is very challenging for local merchants. An aggregate of 59 percent of survey respondents describe the number of online channels they need to address, the complexity of online marketing in general, and the time required to learn and master it, as their biggest marketing challenges. 22 percent said currently available solutions are better suited for national companies than local advertisers.
- Google AdWords is poorly suited for local merchants. 59 percent of survey respondents said they are getting an unsatisfactory ROI from AdWords. 37 percent said AdWords provided low quality leads and 47 percent described it as somewhat or very difficult to use.
- Local merchants run extremely lean. Two thirds of local merchants surveyed spend less than $2,500 annually on marketing and advertising. 40 percent of respondents spend five hours or more a week on marketing their business, and 88 percent do it themselves or have just one person helping them.
- Social channels are important for acquisition and retention. Facebook and LinkedIn are each used by more than half of the survey respondents.
- Mobile marketing hasn't caught on yet. Mobile marketing is a huge trend -- except among local merchants, 71 percent of whom (among survey respondents) are not doing any mobile marketing or advertising. Just 19 percent have developed a mobile website.
- Local merchants don't do daily deals. 85 percent of survey respondents haven't conducted a daily deal offer in the past six months. Just five percent or less of survey respondents have used Groupon or Living Social in the same time period. Just 18 percent of those that have used daily deals are planning to offer them again.
- Local merchants expect stable sales and employment levels. Nearly 70 percent of survey respondents rank the economy about the same or somewhat improved compared to the previous 12 months. Accordingly, most are expecting about the same level of sales in the coming year as in the past, and to maintain current levels of staffing.
To see complete survey results please visit http://www.reply.com/About/PressReleases/survey_2013_07_17.aspx
About Reply.com, Inc.
Reply.com, Inc. operates the leading marketplace for locally targeted advertisers. Reply.com's platform provides advertisers of all sizes with a simple and scalable solution for locally targeted marketing. Reply.com owns and operates many destination sites including iMotors.com, Contractors.com and MerchantCircle.com, which is the largest online network of local business owners in the nation with over 1.5 million member merchants. To learn more about Reply.com, please visit www.reply.com