Busy SMBs to Seek Help on Latest Marketing Tactics

Two new surveys emphasize the growing use of online marketing tactics by small and medium size businesses (SMBs). The results of one survey indicate that SMBs upped their spending this year on every online format, ranging from websites, to video, to location-​based services.  However,  this trend is not likely to continue for every format because SMBs note that effectiveness is lagging in some channels.

The survey conducted by Bredin Business Information shows the top online platforms by SMBs to find new customers are:

  • Company website: 85.8%
  • Email offers to my own list: 74.3%
  • Email newsletter: 73.5%
  • Search marketing: 74%
  • Email newsletter: 73.5%

SMBS aren’t shy about trying the latest media formats, either. For example, 42.5% have dabbled in location-​based services like foursquare and 53.1% have done coupon promotions via a partner like Groupon.

But in many cases, these smaller merchants have reported a drop in effectiveness with respect to specific online channels. Here are the formats considered most effective by survey respondents:

  • Company website: 62.5%
  • Email newsletter: 53.7%
  • Emails offers to my own list: 49.5%
  • Search marketing: 47.9%

In most of these cases, the effectiveness numbers are lower than they were last year. Stu Richards, CEO of Bredin Business Information, thinks some of the problem has to do with the learning curve. The typical SMB owner has to wear many hats and over-​reaching to use the latest marketing tactic without a good understanding of how to make it work properly can result in less than satisfactory results and frustration.

As SMBs sort out which online tactics work best, they may decide to use fewer formats, a strategy suggested by eMarketer analysts. They may also contract out some of their marketing efforts to experts. But one thing appears certain.  The multitude of online marketing formats now available will not be all things to all SMBs.

[Sources: For Small-​Business Marketers, Are Fewer Channels Better? Emarketer​.com. 23 May 2011. 3 Jun. 2011; SMBs Look to Vendors for Business Management Advice. BredinBusinessInformation. Bbionline​.com. 3 May 2011. Web. 3 Jun. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.