Is your small business using online marketing to its fullest extent? Are you even using it at all? If not, a study conducted by Forrester Research for Act-On Software should serve as a wake-up call. The poll of marketing decision makers at small and midsized businesses (SMBs) found companies that use online marketing enjoy a range of business benefits, from improved ROI to better lead generation and more.
When you’re working with a small budget in a tough economy, I know it’s hard to figure out where to put your marketing dollars. What Forrester found might help you.
First, SMBs are not cheap when it comes to marketing. In fact, compared to big companies, SMBs spend a higher percentage of their revenues on marketing.
However, in general, they’re still focusing most of that budget on traditional techniques. SMBs showed a marked preference for face-to-face marketing, such as personal networking and attending trade shows. As a result, they’re less likely to use online marketing, and when they do, they use it in a less comprehensive fashion.
Although SMBs aren’t completely lacking in online marketing, they are falling behind bigger businesses. Here are some numbers:
Why does this matter? First, online marketing tactics are easier to scale. While SMBs cling to tactics such as print ads and tradeshows, tactics such as email and online webinars are easily scalable, allowing you to reach a larger audience without any additional expenditure.
Second, as Forrester’s report puts it, “the journey for nearly every purchase today begins with a Web search.” Face it: If your business isn’t online when customers go there to search for what you sell, you’re not going to get noticed.
Not sure how to get started with online marketing, or still not convinced it can help you? SCORE’s e-Business Now online series can show you what online marketing can do and how to get started. Or get personal, one-on-one help from a SCORE mentor. Visit the SCORE website to get started.