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SMEs failing to reach local markets online

Three in four small and medium sized enterprises are missing out on local business opportunities by failing to make the most of being online, research commissioned by Bdaily has found.

This comes despite research indicating that local custom is vital for SMEs, with the web being an important way to tap into the local market, to network, reach new customers and suppliers and to boost business.

Although 56 per cent of SMEs said local custom was vital to their business - with more than half using suppliers from within a ten mile radius of their location - only one in four said they carried out any form of online marketing.

The biggest barriers to getting online were a lack of skills (67 per cent), confidence and understanding when it comes to digital marketing and online networking.

Managing director for Bdaily Siobhan Bales said more SMEs should be harnessing the power of the web, particularly as 'a local resource, not just a worldwide one.'

"The nation's fragile recovery could be under threat, as the vast majority of SMEs, who contribute £1,000 billion to the economy through regional business, are neglecting the internet as a crucial business tool to reach their most important customers and support and network with each other."

Elsewhere, tight budgets mean that almost half of small businesses (45 per cent) spend less than £200 a month on marketing with fewer than one in ten able to spend upwards of £1,000 a month.

This in turn is having an effect on preferred marketing methods, with the most cost effective being chosen such as PR and content marketing as the most popular (31 per cent), followed by display advertising (28 per cent), email marketing (24 per cent).

Bdaily said that those SMEs failing to promote their firm online to their target market were putting themselves at a serious disadvantage to the 25 per cent that do.