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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Small Businesses Are Flocking to Social Media Marketing But Say Websites Remain Their Most Important Promotional Tool

National Small Business Week 2011 started today (Monday, May 16) and will continue through Friday. The annual event recognizing the contributions of small businesses to America's economic well being has been held every year since it was established through a Presidential proclamation in 1963. A highlight of the week will be a three day conference that will be held at

 the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. Wednesday through Friday (May 18-20). In turn, one of the most anticipated sessions during the conference will be a  Social Media Forum Thursday morning at 10am.

In an enlightening Online Media Daily article at MediaPost.com today, author Les Luchter shared some revealing statistics on how many small businesses are utilizing social media marketing vs. other means of promoting their businesses. Luchter's information came from a survey of more than 1,500 small businesses that was conducted over the past two months by Constant Contact, a leading small business marketing resource (as an aside, I take a special interest in small to medium sized business (SMB) developments because the vast majority of domains I sell go to SMB end users and I'm sure that is true for many other portfolio owners as well). 

Within the domain community there has been considerable debate over whether or not the rise of social media (and having that powerful new tool available for businesses to promote themselves) would one day supplant domains. I don't think that will happen and the data from this new survey supports that, showing that while more and more businesses are adopting social media as a marketing tool, it is just one of many tools they are using and that the one they rely on most is marketing through their own websites

95% of the respondents said they rely on website marketing. 91% of them said they use email marketing and the third most popular tool is print advertising used by 77% of the small businesses polled. The fact that website marketing is now used by considerably more businesses than print advertising is a remarkable testament to how far the web has come vs. traditional media over the last few years. 

Graphic: Renjith Krishan / FreeDigitialPhotos.net

Social media marketing now ranks fourth but is quickly closing on print with 73% of the businesses reporting they use social media to promote themselves (the next largest shares went to online advertising used by 69% of the respondents and event marketing used by 53%). Social media marketing will continue to grow because of those businesses not yet using social media, 62% of them said they plan to start doing so within the next year

Among those who are using social media, Facebook was easily the most popular choice, used by 95% of those businesses, far outdistancing Twitter (used by 60%), LinkedIn (used by 58%), YouTube and other video sharing (used by 45%) and daily/local deal services (used by 23%). The social media business users also rated Facebook as the most effective tool with 82% saying Facebook was effective. 73% said that about video sharing and 55% felt daily/local deals were effective. Twitter and LinkedIn brought up the rear - in a tie - with 47% of businesses using social media saying those are effective tools.

It seems pretty clear to me that nothing is likely to replace websites (and by extension the importance of domain names) any time soon. Small business entrepreneurs are smart enough to use every affordable tool at their disposal and they continue to say that their websites remain the most important weapon in their arsenals.

(Posted May 16, 2011) 

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