A basic web presence is "essential" to small businesses wishing to extend their customer base, and search engine optimisation (SEO) is also important.
That is the view of the Internet Advertising Bureau, whose spokesperson Amy Kean said: "It is essential to ensure that you have at least a basic web presence - basic in terms of at least giving the core information your customers will need to know about your business - in order to grow your audience.
"In July, £4 billion pounds was spent by consumers online, who are now using the internet as first port of call to research, compare and buy products."
She also said that many businesses had failed to fully embrace online advertising, often because the 'traditional' rules of Marketing don't apply on the internet.
"With all online advertising, you must understand your audience and not interrupt them with overt marketing messages, in what is considered a more personal space," she claimed.
Ms Kean noted that many potential customers go straight to a search engine when looking for a company, so it is important to make sure your firm is placed high up in the natural search listings.
"Search advertising - both paid-for and natural search - when employed effectively, is an excellent way to drive traffic to your site," she concluded.
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