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Report: Small Businesses Have a Ways to Go in Digital Marketing

A recent survey of small business owners revealed that most businesses are on the right track when it comes to small business marketing, but they are also woefully neglecting their own website content.

The survey, which was conducted by a company known as Wasp Barcode Technologies, gathered responses from 1,127 random small businesses based in the U.S. Staffing ranged from five to 499 full-time employees. A large proportion of responses came from construction firms and those in the professional services industry, which includes accountants, consultants, legal representation, etc. Keep this in mind since it may have slightly skewed the data.

With all that out of the way, here are the most interesting takeaways from the statistical analysis of the survey results.

Most Small Businesses Spend Just a Sliver of Revenues on Marketing

Most small businesses (30%) spend just 1 to 3% of their revenues on marketing. A quarter (25%) spent 4 to 6% of revenues, and a fifth (20%) spend 7 to 10%. Finally, 12% of business owners claimed they spent $0 on marketing.

These figures indicate that most small businesses are willing to spend just a small margin of earnings on marketing, which actually makes a lot of sense. Small businesses typically go for niche or local markets to avoid competing with the big guns, so they can be versatile with their marketing budget.

With digital marketing techniques like SEM and social media advertising, they can also stretch their dollars. Think of them as the MacGyvers of the marketing world.

Surprisingly, 9% of small business owners spent more than 11% of total revenues on marketing. But at the same time, these businesses may have low overhead or a sales-oriented business model, so it makes sense that they would dip more heavily into earnings.

For perspective, Coca-Cola spends the most on advertising and marketing worldwide, and they are the biggest spenders of any beverage company, yet they still only spent around 7% of their revenues on marketing from 2012 to 2014.

Online Tools Are the Most Popular Options for Small Business Digital Marketing

About 55% of companies use their website as a marketing tool, making it the biggest channel for small businesses. Half use email, and just under half (48%) use social media.

All of these options come ahead of “old school” methods of marketing, including word of mouth, printed materials, direct mail, and broadcast ads.

Yet, just 28% of small businesses use SEO.

We’re going to rocket into the world of conjecture here and assume that stat means that many small businesses don’t understand the power of SEO. With just a minimal budget — sometimes $0! — you can dramatically raise your business website’s chances of appearing next to common search terms.

Expanding your content volume on your website also helps increase indirect referrals, exposure, brand awareness, and whether or not your business comes top-of-mind when someone’s thinking of your services.

So, by providing value through content, you find more search users and improve your reputation. You can also spend as much or as little as you want. What’s not to love?

Most Small Businesses Have Inadequate Websites

35% of small businesses have no information on their products or services, and 45% don’t even list their phone number or an email address.

Since 72% of businesses also don’t engage in search engine optimization (SEO), we can also presume that the vast majority of small businesses don’t bother with content marketing.

A complete website and a bare bones blog should be table stakes for all small businesses. Most people research businesses online these days, and without complete information they may go to a competitor that offers a worse product at a worse price than you do.

In other words: a huge portion of small businesses are leaving money on the table!

Make sure that your business website contains enough information to generate a sale all on its own. Visitors must have a description of your services and your competitive differentiators at the very least. And for the love of all that is holy, give them some way to contact you!

Most Small Businesses Outsource Graphic Web Design, But Too Few Outsource Small Business Marketing

Just 14% of small businesses outsource their marketing, public relations, and advertising to others. While this number is higher than we expected, it is still far less than the 54% of businesses that leave design and website development to professionals.

Why? We’re going to be biased again, here, but we think it’s because people don’t grasp how complex marketing actually is. They know for a fact they don’t have the chops to build their own site, but they are willing to take a stab at managing their own marketing campaigns.

While some of these small business owners might be secret marketing savants, we’re willing to bet most could free up time and get better performance out of their marketing efforts if they trusted in professionals. With the right SEO, social media, email marketing and other campaigns, they could generate far more leads that help their company grow.

In other words: outsourcing your marketing is an investment that pays positive returns and gives you the potential to scale.

If you’re ready to learn just how much a professional small business digital marketing firm in Atlanta could benefit you, take a look at our services and then contact us today!