The top marketing strategy of most small business owners is word-of-mouth advertising, according to a CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey. But less than half use the Internet to spread the word. Only 45% have a business website, and of those that do, just 36% use their website to communicate news to current customers and potential new customers.

Some of this can be chalked up to people being intimidated by technology, but the process of starting a website is much easier and cheaper than it used to be. In the past, retailers hired experts to build their websites. But now, with so many do-it-yourself web creation solutions, even a retailer with just a basic knowledge of the Internet can get a website up and running for a modest investment.

The return on investment (ROI) continues to increase as website costs go down while benefits of a website grow. Increasing numbers of shoppers are buying online or at least window shopping online first and then purchasing in a brick-and-mortar store. In addition, small business accounts for such a large part of the economy that do-it-yourself websites have the potential to capture half of all business.

Small Business Strategies for Communicating with Customers and Leads
Word of mouth 58%
Social media posts 40%
Business website 36%
Customer newsletter or email 26%
Advertising on social media 21%
Advertising on the Internet (not social media) 19%
Advertising on the radio 6%
Advertising on TV 5%
CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey Q2 2017