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A few months ago, I found myself reflecting on the objectives of marketing. Companies large and small consistently spend thousands of dollars on their marketing efforts. They emphasize growing brand awareness and targeting new customers. We spend our days working on marketing strategies, figuring out the most effective ways to drive traffic, reach new customers, and grow business.

I was curious. How well were businesses doing with the next step-the follow up? Were businesses missing out on leads from their own sites? Are companies even responding to potential customers? I was intrigued to find out if companies were responding to simple online contact forms. The team at Wilmington Design Co. came up with an idea: let’s test this assumption and find out for ourselves.

Click Here To Get The Full Report

We expanded on the initial idea of the research project. We wanted to know how local Wilmington businesses were faring with the response part of their sales process, both overall and by specific industries. We would start with recording response times to contact forms or emails, then we would look at autoresponders, social media presence, and whether or not businesses had mobile-friendly websites. These are all indicators of how well businesses are doing at communicating with their potential customers.

What we found challenged our assumptions about digital marketing for local businesses. Check out some of the most surprising data we found.

Overall, 43% of more than 275 Wilmington businesses across 20 industries did not respond to an online inquiry from their website.

What was even more interesting than this surface-level statistic was that 47% of businesses responded within 24 hours. An additional 10% responded between 24 hours to one week later. This showed us that businesses were either on top of their communications with potential clients, or they dropped the ball. There really wasn’t much of an in-between.

Only 9% of businesses used an auto-responder to contact form submissions.

The only industry in which a majority of the businesses had an auto-responder set up were residential real estate agencies. Auto-response emails are valuable marketing tools that can be used as thank-you notes, registration confirmations for events, and to build trust with a potential customers by showing commitment to customer service.

Our vast data collection allowed us to isolate industries and compare them side-by-side. We had broken down our survey efforts into 20 different industries, from financial planners to homebuilders. We ranked these industries from best to worst with respect to their online responsiveness, social media presence, and more. Our report took about a month to complete, and once we analyzed the results, we couldn’t wait to share!

This digital audit offers valuable insight into how your business’s digital marketing effectiveness compares to your industry and the greater Wilmington area as a whole, giving you a competitive advantage and strategic perspective.

Click here to download the Local Business Digital Audit 2017.

Are you as surprised at the results as we were? We would love to get your comments. Find us on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #ilmbizaudit to get the conversation started!