Expect small businesses to make a big digital marketing push in 2017. A new study by GetResponse found that 70% of small businesses will increase digital marketing spend in 2017. Of those respondents, 30% said their budgets will “increase considerably,” while 40% say it will “increase somewhat.” Only 2% said their digital marketing budgets will decrease in 2017.
“Digital marketing is vital for SMBs, and our survey numbers bear that out. Marketers are investing accordingly, given the substantial return-on-investment delivered through web-based campaigns,” said Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO and Founder.
When asked which areas will define that growth, respondents answered as follows:
59% — marketing on social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
50% — mobile marketing, either app or web-based
42% — email marketing
28% — video production
26% — search marketing, including paid search
26% — content creation and management
23% — data collection and analytics
23% — corporate website maintenance and development
16% — commerce experiences
Greg Sterling of Marketing Land writes: “It’s not surprising at all that social and mobile (often overlapping) are the top channels for new spending. This is a response to changes in consumer behavior. Whether these investments are actually made — in contrast to the stated intention to make them — is an open question.”
Still, many small businesses don’t have well defined marketing strategies. The Manta Semi-Annual Wellness Index polled small business owners, finding that less than half (49%) have devised a formal marketing plan. The barriers to creating a solid plan? Lack of budget (51%), knowledge (18%) and time to dedicate to marketing (15%).
“As our latest Wellness Index shows, small business owners have come a long way in terms of marketing acumen, but they still lack the bandwidth and resources needed to make a true splash in their local markets,” said Sara Oberst, Manta’s VP of Marketing. “At Manta, we understand that small business owners often wear multiple hats, leaving little to no time for marketing initiatives. On the other hand, marketing is a vital practice for building a reputable brand and driving leads, so 2017 will be an opportune time for small businesses to develop and execute on more comprehensive marketing strategies.”
Manta also found that investments in popular marketing channels like social media may come at the expense of other digital marketing tactics like search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising or content marketing — which less than 5% of Manta respondents said they currently rely on. Perhaps that’s because SEO success takes time.
“I usually encourage clients to give (SEO) six months, it’s not possible to get instant results,” said Hilary Young, a creative consultant who works primarily with very small businesses. “But based on my personal experience with my own business and my experience with clients, it will save you money in the long run.”
One small business that’s excelling at digital marketing? House of Lashes. The company partnered with Curalate to diversify content streams forging lasting influencer and partner relationships, and developing a deep understanding of what content resonates best across digital touchpoints. It led to a 42% increase in website traffic and 17% increase in average order value.