20+ Facts to Guide Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

Small businesses have ​unique marketing challenges​.

Here are 24 small business marketing facts that may surprise you… and change that way you approach marketing for your small business.

Close, But No Cigar

Many small businesses aren’t bringing their “A” game to their marketing. They may have good intentions but lack the resources (time, budget or know-how) to really succeed.

The Facts:

1. Most small businesses have small budgets – or no marketing budget at all. ​Forty-seven percent of small businesses​ ​spend less than $10,000​ on digital marketing.

2. ​Almost​ 71% of small businesses​ do all of their own marketing in-house.​ But, according to Forbes, the small businesses that are happiest with their marketing performance hired outside agencies to handle it for them.

3. The less-than-stellar results many small businesses see from their in-house marketing efforts may be due to the fact that ​58% of the small businesses using in-house help only assign 1-2 employees​ to handle their digital marketing. ​Often, this is not enough manpower to get the job done right.

Even when short on people, you can market effectively. You can​ ​use psychology to improve business marketing​  and make sure that your​ ​marketing is data-driven​.

4. While​ ​content marketing​ continues to dominate as a low-cost, but extremely effective, marketing strategy,​ 80% of small businesses​  don’t utilize content marketing​.

5. A website is essential for every business. Period. In our digital world, customers expect businesses to have a website. However, as of 2015 ​60% of small businesses​ did not have a website!

6.​ 30% of small businesses without a website​ ​cite cost​ as the reason. ​But, with so many inexpensive options for building a website these days, cost should no longer present a barrier.

7. And​, 35% of small businesses without a website feel their operation is ​too small​ to warrant a website. ​Customers will beg to differ. Consumers not only expect businesses to have a unique ​website design​, they view a website as a sign of credibility.

Small Business Marketing Focus

These facts reveal many small businesses’ marketing priorities. Do they align with yours?

The Facts:

8. Small businesses put their faith in the power of word-of-mouth. ​28% of small businesses believe that​ ​word-of-mouth advertising​ is the most effective​ way to attract new customers.

9.​ 20% of small businesses claim that​ ​search engine optimization​ is the most effective way to attract new customers. Note that both word-of-mouth and SEO techniques are organic in nature.

10. Increasing sales continues to be a top priority for small businesses. At ​51%,​ ​driving sales is small businesses’ top digital marketing priority.

11. Small businesses are determined to get their name out there, too. In second place, ​48% of small businesses cite​ ​building brand awareness​ as their top digital marketing priority.

Branding is extremely important. Successful businesses usually have a strong​ ​business name and a​ ​professionally designed logo​.

To learn more about naming your company, read​ ​10 Tips for Naming Your Startup or Small Business​. To learn more about logo design and branding, read​ ​Powerful Branding Lessons From The World’s Best Brands (That Actually Work For Your Small Business)​.

12. If you’re wondering where to focus your social media marketing efforts, Social Media Examiner notes that​ ​Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin​ are the top three social media marketing platforms​ for small businesses.

Social Media

Social media marketing continues to be an ideal and cost-effective way for small businesses to reach and build relationships with their audiences.

The Facts:

13. Almost all small businesses have realized the value of social media marketing. According to Social Media Examiner,​ ​96% of SMBs​ say they use social media in their marketing strategy.

14. And, most small businesses agree that social media marketing pays off. ​Almost​ ​90% of marketers​ report that social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business.

15. Social media doesn’t only increase exposure. It has also shown great results in driving online traffic – a great way to generate leads. ​75% of marketers​ claim that social media marketing has helped to increase traffic.

Off-Track Marketing

Many small businesses may be losing their way because they don’t have the data needed to make smart marketing choices, adjust or improve their strategies.

The Facts:

16. Small businesses are having a hard time tracking their marketing ROI (return on investment). ​Less than 30%​ of small businesses use website analytics, call tracking or coupon codes. ​And without knowing what’s working, it’s hard to craft a smart marketing plan.

17. While social media continues to be a very popular marketing platform for small businesses, 6 in 10​ small business owners are not able to track ROI from their social media activities.

18. Worse than that… ​18% of small businesses admit to​ ​not tracking anything. ​Tracking your results is essential to making informed marketing choices and improving your strategy.

19. Forty-two percent of marketers cite​ ​lack of quality data​ as their biggest obstacle​ when implementing successful lead generation campaigns. Prioritize gathering the data your small business needs to plan and execute smart marketing campaigns.

Online Reviews

Positive online reviews (and the way that your business handles its negative online reviews) can either be a major marketing strength or a major weakness.

The Facts:

20.  ​63.6 percent of consumers​ say they’re likely to check Google reviews before visiting a business.

21. While consumers are placing more importance on online reviews, they expect businesses to do the same. According to a ​survey by ReviewTrackers​, ​ 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to their online reviews within a week.

22. However, ​ ​63%​ of consumers say that a business has never responded to their review. So, despite customer’s expectation that businesses respond to their negative online reviews, many businesses do not. That’s a lot of disappointed customers.

23. But, the time and effort needed to respond is well worth it. ​45% of customers​ are more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews.

24. Finally, don’t go chasing waterfalls. A​ ​study by Power Reviews and Northwestern University reveals that​ shoppers are more likely to purchase products with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5​. The 4.2 -4.5 range even beats out a perfect 5 stars. We know there’s a lot on your plate. And, marketing can feel like just another thing that you’re “supposed” to do.

But, marketing your business – and doing it well – is essential to your small business’s success.

We hope you use these facts and statistics as a leaping off point for a more informed, targeted and successful marketing plan for your small business.

Katie Lundin

Katie Lundin

Customer Service Wonder Gal at crowdspring
Katie Lundin is on the customer support team at crowdspring, one of the world’s leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services. She helps entrepreneurs, small businesses and agencies with branding, design, and naming, and regularly writes about entrepreneurship, small business and design on crowdspring's award-winning small business blog.
Katie Lundin
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