SCORE Small Business Blog

It’s Time to Get With the (Online Marketing) Program

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:

  • 48 percent of SMBs use personal social networking sites, compared with 66 percent of large enterprises.
  • 51 percent of SMBs use professional social networking sites, compared with 66 percent of large enterprises.
  • 51 percent of SMBs use blogs, compared with 74 percent of large enterprises.
  • 72 percent of SMBs use email marketing, compared with 80 percent of large enterprises.

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.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva

// |

Discussion (2) Comment

  1. Jessie PhilippsVisitor

    Thanks for sharing this useful info i really need this information.

  2. As a new startup business that is now in the realm of doing our own marketing we have a solution for small business owners.
    Our site allows the client to make thier own advertisment. Change the advertisement at any time and gives them a 100 mile radius of marketing area for each location.
    We are completley affordable for the small business as this is our niche and we are giving away the App that picks up the advertisement.
    We are a new business and currently in alpha phase testing. We can produce our product and we are currently in the process of saturation of the United States.


Leave a Comment

More Blog Topics