If ever there was a good time for bootstrapping SMBs to grow their customer bases on a budget, this so-called recession the US is it. With a growing number of ‘self-serve’ options now available from search engines, social platforms and third party vendors, it’s easier than ever to get your business in front of valuable customers online. All it takes is a little know-how, and pouring blood, sweat and tears over your keyboard.
Ok, so perhaps it’s not that simple in reality. As with any entrepreneurial endeavor, there are still headaches that come with digital marketing, and there is still value for a small business to outsource some tasks outside their capabilities and comfort zone. The key is just knowing which ones, right?
The good news for the creative small business owner is that investing time and/or resources in search, social and other forms of digital marketing is paying off in dividends, and the trends look positive for continued growth.
Powerful predictions and compelling stats have come out of the last several BIA/Kelsey research reports and SMB Digital Conference events, indicating that small businesses are willing to invest even more in the coming year:
The last point is a critical one; do you how many potential customers are actively using mobile devices to search for information about businesses like yours? How are you planning to reach those customers?
Don’t be too quick to dismiss this growing segment based on age or other stereotypes. Sales and usage figures for smartphones and tablets indicate continued mobile growth across all demographics, and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. According to a February 2013 Nielsen report, mobile activity now accounts for almost 40 percent of time spent online. You may even be reading this on your tablet right now!
It is interesting to note that small businesses are using twice as many marketing channels than they were 5 years ago, and that does present quite a challenge for SMBs with limited resources to manage multiple media platforms. But there is also opportunity in this challenge, to select just a few key channels and concentrate on using them well, or better than your competitors at least.
In the chart below, there are several areas ripe for increasing your online marketing efforts – namely, email, Google+ (formerly Places), video and online banner advertisements.
The adoption rate of Facebook pages by small businesses is impressive, though success here will ultimately depend on the nature of your business. Not that many fans actively engage with a local plumber for example.
Source: BIAKelsey, used with permission via Search Engine Land