Survey results point to effectiveness of online marketing (Part 1)

Small business owners know what it’s like to live on the edge—they do it every day, especially when their business is first starting out.


They can’t afford to make mistakes, which means every penny spent on employees, products, manufacturing, and marketing must be accounted for. To this end, investing in a data analytics system isn’t a luxury, it’s a requirement. The only way you can make sure every cent is put to its best use is by tailoring their spending according to where the analytics tell them their clientele is coming from.

Marketing budgets

BrightLocal, an SEO agency, recently released their 2013 SMB Internet Marketing Survey which canvassed 20,000 U.S.-based businesses. The first question they asked regarded the amount businesses invested in marketing each month. They found, “The average spent across all industries was $400/month with 32% spending less than $100/month.” Transportation services tended to spend the most on marketing, while security and legal businesses spent the least. This relatively low number indicates you don’t have to spend a ton of money to market yourself. You just have to know which avenues work best.

Another aspect BrightLocal analyzed was what percentage of their marketing budget businesses were allocating for digital marketing. The average was 46% of their budget, though a third of those surveyed spent less than 10% on internet marketing. Those who spent the most were companies in the marketing, building and construction, design and media, agriculture and environment, and retail sectors.

Online marketing

In their analysis, the researchers noted, “A relatively high proportion of SMBs are barely engaged in internet and mobile marketing. . . . Perhaps it’s the case that many SMBs consider offline marketing to be more effective . . . but it’s somewhat surprising how many of them are choosing to ignore the clear opportunities and benefits of digital channels.” They went on to hypothesize that perhaps SMBs are intimidated by the sheer width and breadth digital marketing spans. That first jump off into the unknown can be traumatizing.

Sources of new leads

So far, SMBs still have the best luck generating new leads through word of mouth, which accounted for 26% of the respondents new customers. However, second place went to SEO, which brought in 19% of new accounts, despite the number of companies still choosing to eschew online marketing. Third and fourth place were also online sources: online local directories and email marketing.

 Source: Bright Local

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