With so many large businesses in the PPC market, can a small business expect a return on a big investment in search? Clutch recently surveyed 351 small and medium-sized businesses. They published their results in the Clutch 2018 Small Business Survey. Their findings on SEO and PPC can help you sell more digital marketing services to SMBs who need to compete for customers.
SEO isn’t easy for SMBs to tackle. Last year, Clutch research found that 74% of SMBs had big plans for SEO. In the end, far fewer made the investment. This year, about 55% of SMBs want to use SEO. One of the biggest reasons SMBs give for not putting more effort into SEO is because they don’t have a website.
Think about service-based businesses like electricians or grass-cutting services. A significant portion of these businesses don’t have websites. The lack of a website shouldn’t stop SEO initiatives. You can help these clients by encouraging them to claim listings in local online directory services. Doing so means they’ll score higher on search engine results pages when consumers are looking for their services.
Not surprisingly, more SMBs engage in SEO than PPC. That’s because SEO is perceived to be less expensive. About 45% of these businesses use PPC to generate business. On average, these SMBs spend 30% or less of their marketing budgets on PPC campaigns. Depending on the business they’re in, SMBs pay for PPC campaigns as follows:
- On an as-needed basis 37%
- Seasonally 27%
- Consistently throughout the year 36%
SMBs tell analysts they believe social media marketing boosts their search rankings. Over half, 56%, see social media as a low-cost way to raise their profile with existing and potential customers in the local market. Social media efforts can serve SMBs that want name brand recognition. To optimize social media, which is often done internally, SMBs should use other search strategies, like PPC, to lead prospects deeper into the purchase funnel.
Only 38% of SMBs use their internal staff for SEO marketing. The rest use outside help ranging from consultants and freelancers, to agencies and software. Not surprisingly, larger companies, those with marketing budgets in excess of $500,000 are most likely to hire outside expertise.
If you’re working with SMB clients who are hesitant about using paid search, ask them for a small budget so you can test the kinds of keywords that might work. Then you can show them the results of a campaign which could lead to a bigger contract for you.