Many fiery critiques came at me when I posted the results of a survey with Merchant Circle (despite clear disclaimers) that indicated SMBs were starting to adopt Facebook and Twitter in larger numbers. The survey (n=2,403) tapped into a group of SMBs that we identified as “more engaged” and a potential leading indicator of where the larger market may be headed.
Small businesses are getting more comfortable with social media, when reporting marketing plans for 2010, 35.1% of all respondents say they plan to increase their use of social media by a little and 33.3 % plan to increase it by a lot.
Here are the survey’s other top-line findings:
- Well over two-thirds of respondents report that they plan to increase their use of email marketing and social media in 2010.
- Email marketing continues to prove its worth to small businesses, as 96.2% plan to use email marketing in 2010.
- Plans reported for 2010 indicate the email marketing industry will continue to thrive next year, with 38.9% businesses of 1-10 employees and 34.1% of businesses with 11-100 employees planning to increase their email marketing by a lot in 2010.
- Over half—or 54.2 percent—of all respondents stated they won’t do online banner advertising in 2010, versus just 23.8% of respondents won’t do SEM such as Google, Yahoo and Bing next year.
- Almost a quarter of small businesses of 1-10 and 11-100 employees won’t do search engine marketing in 2010. Of the businesses who are using this medium, only 4% of businesses with 1-10 staff and 3.3% of businesses with 11-100 will cut this channel or together or cut it down slightly in 2010.
- A large portion of businesses do not plan on online banner advertising in 2010—represented by 56.6% of businesses under 11 staff and the 48.2% of businesses with 11-100 employees not planning on banner advertising.
- Online banner advertising spend did not increase much over 2009—with only 4.5% of smaller business increasing this by a little in 2009, and 11.4% of businesses with 11-100 reporting the same. Just 6.1% of businesses with 11-100 employees reporting they increased their online banner advertising spend by a lot over the past year, and just 2.7% of businesses with less than 11 staff.
Vertical Response found that SEM was the “most important tool” for marketing success:
23.8% of all small businesses reported that search engine marketing was the tool most needed for their business to succeed in 2010.
Related: Here’s more survey data about email marketing and social media usage by SMBs:
Newsletters, sales and promotional offers and announcements are the most common ways small businesses say they are using email marketing. Among digital marketing tools used by small businesses, email newsletters are second only to the use of social media marketing. Opportunities to integrate both tactics are on the rise.