The yearly “Small- and Medium-Sized Business (SMB) Internet Marketing Survey,” conducted by BrightLocal.com during October-November 2014, focused on how SMBs see the way in which Internet marketing is effective, according to SearchEngineLand.
The survey involved businesses staffed with 1-50 employees who were asked about how they perceived and utilized Internet marketing, mobile marketing, and marketing services. The survey, according to Columnist Myles Anderson, founder and CEO of BrightLocal.com, was conducted in collaboration with ChamberofCommerce.com and yielded 736 complete survey responses. Of the respondents, 95 percent are located in North America (92 percent in the United States; 3 percent in Canada), which is where the survey was focused. BrightLocal.com provides SEO specialized tools to SEO agencies, freelancers, and local business owners.
Respondents were asked an array of questions, including how much they spend on their monthly business marketing. Most spend less than $1,000 per month, with many spending less than $500 monthly. According to Anderson, marketing spend distribution since 2013 has seen very little change. In fact, most SMBs spend less than $500 monthly on all of their marketing activities; and only a small amount is used for “Internet and mobile”:
- 70 percent spend less than $500, down slightly from 73 percent in 2013.
- 83 percent spend less than $1,000, which is down very slightly from 85 percent in 2013.
- 16 percent spend more than $1,000, which is down from 21 percent in 2013.
When asked the percentage of their marketing budget spent on Internet or mobile marketing, the survey revealed a 1 percent change in each category:
- 50 percent allocate less than 30 percent to online channels, down 1 percent from 49 percent in 2013.
- 34 percent allocate less than 10 percent to online channels, down 1 percent from 33 percent in 2013.
- 29 percent allocate more than 70 percent to online channels, down 1 percent from 28 percent 2013.
When asked about plans to increase money being spent on Internet marketing in the next year:
- 37 percent expect to increase; 21 percent expected to increase in 2013.
- 47 percent are unsure—unchanged from 2013.
- 16 percent do not plan on increasing, representing a drop from 32 percent in 2013.
When asked about the efficacy of Internet marketing when working to attract customers, SMBs are confident in the benefit of Internet marketing to their business and the number of those who do not market in this way has dropped by half in the past two years:
- 32 percent: Marketing is “very effective,” an increase from 27 percent in 2013.
- 75 percent: Marketing is “effective” or “very effective,” an increase from 68 percent in 2013.
- 4 percent: Do not market via the Internet, down from 8 percent in 2013.
When asked about what SMBs are most concerned with regarding success metrics (KPIs)
- 31 percent: Phone calls.
- 20 percent: Website traffic.
- 20 percent: Search rankings.
The survey revealed that, while one-third of SMBs devote less than 10 percent of their marketing budget to Internet and mobile, some devote significantly less of their budget and, some, significantly more, depending on the industry and business size, pointing to the need to target and pre-qualify potential customers before taking steps to drive customers. Anderson suggests SMBs understand their potential customers—know their budget levels; their digital marketing commitment—to ensure that the focus is on the most meaningful leads and niches.
Anderson, Myles. 75% Of Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) Say Internet Marketing Is Effective; SearchEngineLand. January 12, 2015.