Last week I blogged about small businesses’ struggles to keep up with technology and maintain up-to-date websites. This week, I’ve got more heartening news: Despite the challenges, small business owners are embracing digital marketing, a new survey of small businesses by AT&T shows.
Two-thirds of small business owners surveyed in the 2013 AT&T* Small Business Technology Poll plan to spend as much as or more than last year on digital marketing, which includes websites, social media and online advertising.
What marketing tactics are in small business owners’ arsenals?
- In the Mail: Email is still going strong, with 41 percent of small business owners planning to use it to market to customers and prospects this year—a 25 percent increase from last year. That’s smart, because when it’s done right, email is still one of the most effective ways of grabbing prospects’ attention.
- Going Mobile: Mobile is piquing small businesses’ interest. Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) report being at least “somewhat” likely to spend more on mobile marketing this year compared to last. Nearly one-third already have mobile-ready websites. With mobile device popularity soaring, I’m happy to see so many small business owners taking action to connect with customers where they live—on their smartphones and tablets.
- Social Butterflies: More than one-third (36 percent) use LinkedIn to build awareness of their businesses, up 16 percent from last year. Surprisingly, Facebook use is down slightly. What gives? I wonder if some entrepreneurs discovered Facebook isn’t for them. Despite being by far the most popular social site, it’s not for every business—which might explain the growth of LinkedIn, which is usually more effective for business-to-business companies than Facebook.
- Talk, Talk: The most common marketing method? More than 80 percent of small businesses polled say they plan to use word-of-mouth marketing to increase awareness and visibility for their companies. The survey didn’t specify if this was digital word-of-mouth, or “real world” word-of-mouth, but what this stat points out is—it all boils down to the same thing. The method doesn’t matter—what matters is getting customers to love your business so much that they can’t stop telling everyone they know about it online and off.
Are you exploring these marketing methods? If not, the experts at SCORE can help you. Visit www.score.org to learn more and get matched with a SCORE mentor today.