November 11, 2010

Small Businesses Focus Digital Marketing Budget on Websites

Looking to other low-cost marketing options

A plurality of small businesses will keep their marketing budgets steady next year across the board, including spending on websites, direct mail, print, TV and social media, according to research by Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, a provider of information and services to help organizations reach the small and midsize business audience.

This year, SMB allocation of online marketing budgets leaned toward websites, where 27% of SMBs with 1,000 or fewer employees spent at least 30% of their budget. Email took second place with 18% devoting 30% or more, followed by social media, where 10% of SMBs said they spent at least three in 10 marketing dollars.

The tilt toward investment in websites should continue, as 17% of respondents said they planned to increase budgets for their site in 2011—the highest percentage planning to up any budget line item. In comparison, 15% said they would spend more next year on email and 13% on social media.

According to the survey, the vast majority of SMB websites include general information about the company, but only a minority offer customer service, lead capturing or ecommerce features, leaving plenty of room for investment.

In the realm of word-of-mouth marketing, SMBs relied mostly on the traditional: 70% said they used in-person networking and 50% customer referral rewards, while a comparatively small 34% used social media. Facebook is the most popular social site (80%), but further investment should help small businesses take advantage of the low-cost marketing opportunities in the channel.

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