A survey conducted during October and November 2014 by the SEO optimization firm BrightLocal, in conjunction with ChamberofCommerce.com, uncovered key information about the opinions of SMBs regarding marketing strategies, channels, and their effectiveness. 736 SMBs were interviewed, with 93 percent having no more than 20 employees, and more than 70 percent of these have five or fewer.

According to the data, almost thirty percent of the respondents think that word of mouth is the best offline channel for developing new leads and attracting new customers, while SEO, online local directories, and email marketing are considered the best online vehicles for business generation (20, 15, and 10 percent, respectively). Social media was not among the listed online marketing options.

How SMBs measured the success of a marketing initiative was also analyzed. Phone calls to a business ranked as the most important at 31 percent, with website traffic and search engine rankings combining for 40 percent (20 percent each); 14 percent considered walk-in traffic the most important metric. However, the study did not distinguish between brick-and-mortar businesses and those engaged in ecommerce, so the results must be viewed with this in mind.

Meanwhile, businesses with mobile-ready or mobile-optimized websites also increased from 2013, jumping from 59 percent to 66 percent.

Across the board, 75 percent of respondents identified their internet marketing efforts as either effective or very effective in attracting customers to the business (representing an eight percent increase), and that an online marketing channel was ultimately more effective than an offline on. So much so, that 84 percent of those responding will either increase spending on internet marketing or they are considering doing so, an increase of 16 percent.


Anderson, Myles. “37% of SMBs plan to spend more on internet marketing in 2015,” January 7, 2015.

MarketingCharts. “SMBs Still Consider W-O-M Most Effective, But Online Marketing Perceptions Improve,” January 15, 2015.