BrightLocal just released results from its survey, “SMB Internet Marketing Survey 2014”. Like this study on the increasing importance of online customer reviews, BrightLocal’s recent research (in which 736 SMBs participated) provides plenty of remarkable stats. This time, on the ways small to medium-sized businesses use online marketing, and how they prioritize their strategies when trying to engage customers.
The survey is worth checking out in full, but I’ll review my top takeaways for SMBs, by SMBs:
1) 75% Consider Internet Marketing “Effective” or “Very Effective” at Boosting Business
When surveyed, a whopping 75% of the 736 small businesses included said that promoting themselves to online prospects is a sure way to attract new customers (32% in the “very effective” group and 43% in the “effective” group).
This is up from 68% in 2013, and correlates with the trend we’re seeing over and over: The online evolution of “word of mouth” referrals.
2) Google+ and Google My Business Confuse Some SMBs
20% of the businesses surveyed said they understand these platforms are significant, but find them difficult to comprehend. 17% said they find it annoying trying to keep up with Google’s numerous tweaks.
We first covered Google’s new small business product here, and got granular with a series of instructional videos Google released here. With many SMBs finding it impossible to use Google+ and Google My Business smoothly, it makes even more sense to release a “how-to” series like this.
Huge note: Platforms that are confusing to business owners are often just as confusing to their customers. Additionally, Google+ and others like Yelp and Angie’s List require account sign-ins for customers who want to write reviews.
Streamlining the online review process on the business owners’ end AND their happy customers’ end is what we do.
3) 70% of SMBs Spend Less than $500/Month on Online Marketing
My first reaction to this? “As it should be!” SMBs should focus on quality Internet marketing – like turning their best customers into their best promoters – instead of falling in the “higher cost, higher value” trap. It’s interesting to note that this is the same group who said Internet marketing is effective or very effective at generating new business for them.
Note: Getting online content that performs across several sites, drives traffic, pulls in new customers, and keeps current customers coming back doesn’t cost nearly this much. In fact, it doesn’t cost anything in a full trial.