Things are looking up for women business owners. 89% are optimistic about the overall business performance in the coming year and that’s up 8% from where they stood last year. And 92% say they expect to see more women entrepreneurs opening new businesses in 2014.
But the women also know that success doesn’t come easy. According to the survey by the National Association of Women Business Owners and Web.com Group, Inc., female business will be putting everything they have behind finding new customers in the next few months. Customers that will not only help them stay financially solvent but help them grow their business.
So how are they going to allocate their resources in order to accomplish this goal? In a surprising way. The majority, 69% said they were going to emphasize customer service. Marketing came in second (62%), enhancing their products third (48 percent) and only 26% said they planned to hire new people.
Not surprisingly, the women all realized the importance of online and digital marketing.
Here’s how today’s female business owner plans to spend her marketing dollars:
Most women see the need to increase their web presence but this represents only a small increase over last year. Everyone knows you need a website, now they’re just moving those businesses off free sites like blogger and on to their own domains and hosting.
The biggest change is in mobile. Though only 58% of women said they’d be spending money on this area, it’s still an increase of 13% over last year. That’s a big jump. The report doesn’t say what’s holding people back but I suspect it’s a lack of education in the area of mobile marketing. We all understand Adsense and affiliate programs, but creating an app or buying mobile impressions is new for everyone.
What’s harder to explain is the discrepancy between the women who believe in social media marketing and those who invest time and money in it.
85% of the women in the survey said that social media was important for building customer relations. But only 67% said they were currently using social media to connect with customers. What’s worse is that only a little more than half felt confident in their ability to build a social media presence. As a result, only a quarter are posting at least once a day.
They’re preferred social media site? Not Facebook (21%) but LinkedIn (25%).
Hmmm…that makes me wonder about the make-up of this survey. Sounds like a large portion of the respondents are the Business-to-Business business. Otherwise, those numbers would surely be flipped.
I do know that many business owners, not just female business owners, struggle with social media marketing. Mostly, it’s because they’ve been told it’s a “must” for every business but the results are often hard to see and hard to measure. Amassing a huge following on Twitter or Facebook doesn’t mean you’ll seen increase in revenue. When it doesn’t happen, owners think they’ve done something wrong when the truth is, social media isn’t the golden ticket to doubling your income.
Every business owner needs to try and tweak and see what works for them. If keeping up a Facebook page equals more stress with no increase in business, then maybe you don’t need one. Radical thinking, but it might just work.
To read the full report, visit Web.com and download 2014 State of Women-Owned Business Report. It’s free.