Yesterday, I blogged on the new Constant Contact survey that described how small businesses are struggling to find enough time to manage their marketing activities. A newly released Daily Deal Media Merchants Survey covers some of the same territory but it delves a little deeper into the challenges that SMBs face as they try to conquer digital marketing.
The DDM survey reviewed the digital marketing plans of over 13,000 SMBs and finds that about 2/3 spend less than $5,000 annually on promotion. For the most part, email rules as the top format in terms of effectiveness. Only 1/3 called daily deals an effective tool. Not surprisingly, over 80% are seeking inexpensive ways to market their businesses.
The business website appears to be a significant problem with 46% of SMBs saying it needs works and 24% saying they are only somewhat satisfied with their sites. These merchants are hesitating to make website improvements because of time involved (29%), investment required (24%), or the difficulty of choosing a vendor to do the work (34%).
The findings in this report closely mirror some of the data reported in the Small Business Marketing Forecast released by Ad-ology Research earlier this year. In that study, researchers noted that over 20% of SMBs would be increasing their budgets for website development and optimizing those sites for search engine activity.
Social media is a growing problem for SMBs. The vast majority of these enterprises cannot figure out how to measure the effectiveness of the channel. However, at least 19% know that negative reviews are impacting their revenue.
Over 40% of SMBs are also struggling to find trustworthy business partners to help them with their online marketing efforts. At the same time, they are being contacted every business day by at least one vendor trying to sell them marketing services. Enterprises that offer marketing services can capitalize on this opportunity but they must approach SMBs with concrete plans about exactly how they’ll improve digital formats such as websites and social media and how those changes will grow sales for their clients.