Online marketing dominates the SMB news this week with a number of new releases. While many people continue to look at social media to improve business, Trend Micro research reveals that most SMBs still worry about online threats and data leaks. All of this wrapped up with the news that the Palm Pre 2 will likely be available in the US very soon has made for quite a week in the world of SMBs. 

Palm Pre 2 for the US?

Last month, HP announced that it would be releasing the new Palm Pre 2 hand set with the new WebOS 2 in Europe. France was the first country to get a look at it, but there were no details as to when it would appear in the US.

That is until this week, when an announcement on the HP for Students -- US Facebook page said that orders for the Palm Pre 2 would be taken on November 8, with delivery dates scheduled for a few days later. Since then, the November 8th date has disappeared from the page and is now replaced with ‘coming soon’. While there was no explanation as to what had happened, most observers are still anticipating the release sometime next week.

It makes sense given the recent release of Microsoft’s Windows 7 Phone and the fact that we are quickly heading into the Christmas holiday season.

The Palm Pre 2 will come with a whole list of new features including a favourites option for tagging contacts, Skype-to-Skype support for calls and messaging from the US to anywhere in the world, the redesigned Palm App Catalog and a whole pile of goodies for developers.

Rumors suggest that the Palm Pre 2 will be released on the US network Verizon (news, site) which leads us to believe that a release date some time next week could be in the cards. Wait and watch. As soon as we get definite confirmation, we’ll let you know.

Online Marketing Budgets to Grow

In the wider SMB market, new research by Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, a SMB content provider and consultant, suggests that online marketing budgets are set to rise over the course of 2011.

According to the recent survey that covered 750 companies, SMBs plan to increase their marketing spend in both online and print mediums, with online activities receiving the largest increases.

Key factors prompting marketing budget growth in 2011 are increased expectation of the role and impact of social media and return on investment in e-mail marketing .

Among the more than 750 businesses surveyed, 34% said that they currently use social media in their marketing efforts. Of those using social media, Facebook (80%), LinkedIn (37%) and Twitter(27%) were the most common channels chosen. Want to know more? Check out the full survey here.

LoopFuse Offers Automated Marketing

LoopFuse (news, site) has also been busy in the marketing space, with the release of OneView v3.28 featuring inbound, content and search engine marketing.

OneView is a marketing automation software that offers in-bound marketing and integrates a large list of marketing tools into one single, user-friendly UI, enabling users to analyze website traffic in real-time.

Similar to Google Analytics, OneView now offers real-time web analytics that reveal who is linking to the website’s marketing content using the in-bound, content and search engine marketing features. It also provides insight into the keywords used to find the website across 12 supported search engines.

According to the company, LoopFuse will offer free marketing automation accounts for up to 2,500 prospects, 5,000 emails and 100,000 pageviews. More than that and you have to pay. More details here.

Implix Releases Online Conferencing for SMBs

Meanwhile, Implix has announced the launch of ClickMeeting, a new online conferencing platform designed to help users connect from any browser, anytime.

The ClickMeeting Platform incorporates two solutions: ClickMeeting that enables SMB users to set up conferences and meetings on the fly for up to 25 participants and ClickWebinar that offers companies live video conference streaming for 100 to 1,000 attendees.

The solution combines online collaboration with rich media and custom branding with no additional installation of an application required. An all-in-one package, it allows users to hold team meetings and global webinars with videos, share desktops and poll attendees, all from one single easy to use interface.

ClickMeeting is designed for up to 25 attendees and comes with live audio and video and desktop sharing for US$ 29.95/month. ClickWebinar, designed for larger groups of up to 1000, is rebrandable and comes with audience management, polling and voting at a cost of US$ 59.95/month

Is Your Data Safe?

Finally, while keeping costs down is one of the major issues facing SMBs at the moment, so too are viruses, Trojans, data-stealing malware and data leaks.  According to Trend Micro’s 2010 corporate end user survey covering 1600 end users in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan:

  • 63% of small businesses are most concerned by viruses
  • 60% by Trojans
  • 59% by data-stealing malware
  • 56% by data leaks

Despite this, it also shows that small organizations are 23 percent less likely to have preventative data leak policies in place than large companies. The biggest difference was found in Japan, where 81 percent of large companies have data leak prevention policies in place compared to only 47 percent of small companies.

In the U.S., large companies are significantly more likely to indicate data leaks as a serious threat than those in smaller companies. In fact, 74 percent of large companies view data leaks as a serious threat where only 49 percent of smaller companies share that opinion. Interested in more?