28 Surprising Facts to Guide Your Small Business Marketing Strategy

Marketing is the bridge between your business and your customers.

Marketing covers a wide range of activities. Almost any form of communication with your customers falls under its umbrella.

It’s all marketing from traditional advertising to social media, online review management to blogging, search engine optimization to direct mail.

Without marketing, your business may as well exist in an unlit-locked vault – no customers are coming in, and no sales are going out.

But, with so many avenues to choose from, how does a small business know where to start? And how can you leverage marketing psychology to drive sales?

If you have an existing business, you may already have some ideas on how to market effectively. But if you’re writing a business plan to start a business, you may be looking for a competitive advantage to help you market better.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution for any business.

And small businesses have their own unique marketing challenges. In fact, 76% of small business owners have reported facing marketing challenges.

That’s pretty pervasive.

When you’re unsure how to proceed – especially in a high-stakes situation like marketing your business – it helps to take a step back and survey the landscape. Doing so will help you create a brand strategy and marketing plan that can help accelerate your business growth.

Here are 28 small business marketing facts that may surprise you and change how you approach marketing for your small business.

Many small businesses aren’t bringing their “A” game to their marketing.

They may have good intentions but lack the resources (time, budget, or know-how) to really succeed.

These facts show that stepping up your marketing game will help set you apart from your small business competition.

Small business marketing facts: general

1. Most small businesses have small budgets Рor no marketing budget at all. Forty-seven percent of small businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing.  Most small businesses have small budgets - or no marketing budget at all. Forty-seven percent of small businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing. Click To Tweet

There are many ways to market with a small budget. We recommend you read 21 Ways To Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget for some ideas.

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2. Almost 71% of small businesses do all of their own marketing in-house. According to Forbes, the small businesses that are happiest with their marketing performance hire outside agencies to handle it for them. Almost 71% of small businesses do all of their own marketing in-house. But, according to Forbes, the small businesses that are happiest with their marketing performance hired outside agencies to handle it for them. Click To Tweet

3.  The less-than-stellar results many small businesses see from their in-house marketing efforts may be because 58% of the small businesses using in-house help only assign 1-2 employees to handle their digital marketing. Often, this is not enough staffing to get the job done right. The less-than-stellar results many small businesses see from their in-house marketing efforts may be because 58% of the small businesses using in-house help only assign 1-2 employees to handle their digital marketing. Often, this is… Click To Tweet

Even if you’re short on people, you can market effectively. For example, you can use psychology to improve business marketing and ensure your marketing is data-driven.¬†Even if you're short on people, you can market effectively. For example, you can use psychology to improve business marketing and make sure that your marketing is data-driven. Click To Tweet

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4. While content marketing continues to dominate as a low-cost but extremely effective marketing strategy,¬†¬†80% of small businesses don’t utilize content marketing.¬†While content marketing continues to dominate as a low-cost, but extremely effective, marketing strategy, 80% of small businesses don't utilize content marketing. Click To Tweet

5. A website is essential for every business. Period. In our digital world, customers expect businesses to have a website. However, as of 2015 60% of small businesses did not have a website! While content marketing continues to dominate as a low-cost, but extremely effective, marketing strategy, 80% of small businesses don't utilize content marketing. Click To Tweet

6.¬†30% of small businesses without a website cite cost as the reason. But, with so many inexpensive options for building a website these days, cost should no longer present a barrier.¬† Here’s a terrific guide to how much website design should cost. 30% of small businesses without a website cite cost as the reason. But, with so many inexpensive options for building a website these days, cost should no longer present a barrier. Click To Tweet

7. 35% of small businesses without a website feel their operation is too small to warrant a website. Customers will beg to differ. Consumers not only expect businesses to have a website, but they also view a website as a sign of credibility. 35% of small businesses without a website feel their operation is too small to warrant a website. Customers will beg to differ. Consumers not only expect businesses to have a website, but they also view a website as a sign of… Click To Tweet

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Small business marketing facts: what’s important to most businesses

Many small businesses may be neglecting their marketing, but they agree a few things are important.

These facts reveal many small businesses’ marketing priorities. Do they align with yours?

The Facts:

8.  Small businesses put their faith in the power of word-of-mouth. 28% of small businesses believe that word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective way to attract new customers. Small businesses put their faith in the power of word-of-mouth. 28% of small businesses believe that word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective way to attract new customers. Click To Tweet

9. 20% of small businesses claim that search engine optimization is the most effective way to attract new customers. Note that both word-of-mouth and SEO techniques are organic in nature. 20% of small businesses claim that search engine optimization is the most effective way to attract new customers. Note that both word-of-mouth and SEO techniques are organic in nature. Click To Tweet

10.¬† Increasing sales continues to be a top priority for small businesses. At 51%,¬†driving sales is small businesses’ top digital marketing priority.¬†¬†Increasing sales continues to be a top priority for small businesses. At 51%, driving sales is small businesses' top digital marketing priority. Click To Tweet

11. Small businesses are also determined to get their name out there. In second place, 48% of small businesses cite building brand awareness as their top digital marketing priority. Small businesses are determined to get their name out there, too. In second place, 48% of small businesses cite building brand awareness as their top digital marketing priority. Click To Tweet

Branding is crucial. Successful businesses usually have a strong business name and a professionally designed logo.

To learn more about naming your company, read 10 Tips for Naming Your Startup or Small Business. To learn more about logo design and branding, read Powerful Branding Lessons From The World’s Best Brands (That Actually Work For Your Small Business).

12. If you’re wondering where to focus your social media marketing efforts, Social Media Examiner notes that¬†Facebook, Twitter, and¬†Linked-in are the top three social media marketing platforms for small businesses.¬† If you're wondering where to focus your social media marketing efforts, Social Media Examiner notes that Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in are the top three social media marketing platforms for small businesses. Click To Tweet

Small business marketing facts: social media

People associate personalized attention and authentic relationships with small businesses.¬† Social media’s casual and personable nature makes it an excellent platform for small businesses to play to that strength.

Social media marketing continues to be an ideal and cost-effective way for small businesses to reach and build relationships with their audiences. But, don’t take my word for it – these facts will tell you all you need to know.

The Facts:

13. Almost all small businesses have realized the value of social media marketing. According to Social Media Examiner, 96% of SMBs say they use social media in their marketing strategy.  If you're wondering where to focus your social media marketing efforts, Social Media Examiner notes that Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in are the top three social media marketing platforms for small businesses. Click To Tweet

14. And, most small businesses agree that social media marketing pays off. Almost 90% of marketers report that social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business. Most small businesses agree that social media marketing pays off. Almost 90% of marketers report that social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business. Click To Tweet

15. Social media doesn’t only increase exposure. It has also shown great results in driving online traffic – a great way to generate leads.¬†75% of marketers claim that social media marketing has helped to increase traffic.¬†28 Surprising Facts to Guide Your Small Business Marketing Strategy Click To Tweet

For more on this, we recommend you read Supercharge Your Small Business Marketing: How To Market to the Social Media Generation.

Small business marketing facts: off-track marketing

Many small businesses may be losing their¬†way because they don’t have the data needed to make smart marketing choices, adjust or improve their strategies.

These facts illuminate small businesses’ ongoing struggle to track their marketing data.

The Facts:

16. Small businesses have difficulty tracking their marketing ROI (return on investment). Less than 30% of small businesses use website analytics, call tracking¬†or coupon codes. And without knowing what’s working, crafting a smart marketing plan is hard. Less than 30% of small businesses use website analytics, call tracking or coupon codes. And without knowing what's working, it's hard to craft a smart marketing plan. Click To Tweet

17. While social media continues to be a top-rated marketing platform for small businesses, 6 in 10 small business owners cannot track ROI from their social media activities. While social media continues to be a top-rated marketing platform for small businesses, 6 in 10 small business owners are not able to track ROI from their social media activities. Click To Tweet

18. Worse than that…¬†18% of small businesses admit to not tracking anything. Thankfully, this number is relatively small. Tracking your results is essential to making informed marketing choices and improving your strategy.¬†18% of small businesses admit to not tracking anything. Thankfully, this number is relatively small. Tracking your results is essential to making informed marketing choices and improving your strategy. Click To Tweet

19.¬†Forty-two percent of marketers cite lack of quality data as their biggest obstacle when implementing successful lead-generation campaigns. Prioritize gathering your small business’s data to plan and execute smart marketing campaigns. Forty-two percent of marketers cite lack of quality data as their biggest obstacle when implementing successful lead generation campaigns. Prioritize gathering the data your small business needs to plan and execute smart marketing‚Ķ Click To Tweet

Small business marketing facts: online reviews

Positive online reviews (and how your business handles its negative online reviews) can either be a major marketing strength or a major weakness.

Reviews are even more important for small local businesses with small advertising and marketing budgets. Word-of-mouth advertising, reviews, and referrals are vital to building momentum and generating new local leads.

These facts from ReviewTracker show just how important your online reviews – and your response to online reviews – really are.

The Facts:

20.63.6 percent of consumers say they will check Google reviews before visiting a business. 63.6 percent of consumers say they're likely to check Google reviews before visiting a business. Click To Tweet

Reviews are even more important for small businesses – most of which don’t have national or global reputations to back them up. So, encourage your satisfied customers to leave you a positive review on Google. It’s a marketing gift that keeps on giving.

21. While consumers place more importance on online reviews, they expect businesses to do the same. According to a survey by ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to their online reviews within a week. According to a survey by ReviewTrackers, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to their online reviews within a week. Click To Tweet

That means that more than half of your customers expect a prompt response to their online grievances. If you fail to respond to those negative reviews, you disappoint more than half of your consumer base.

22. However,¬†63%¬†of consumers say that a business has never responded to their review. So, despite customer’s expectations that businesses respond to their negative online reviews, many businesses do not. That’s a lot of disappointed customers. 63% of consumers say that a business has never responded to their review. So, despite customer's expectations that businesses respond to their negative online reviews, many businesses do not. That's a lot of disappointed customers. Click To Tweet

23. But, the time and effort needed to respond is well worth it. Your business’s reputation can recover significant losses if you respond to negative reviews. 45% of customers are more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews.¬†Your business's reputation can recover significant losses if you respond to negative reviews. 45% of customers are more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews. Click To Tweet

24. Finally, don’t go chasing waterfalls. A perfect average online review score is improbable and not ideal. A study by Power Reviews and Northwestern University reveals that shoppers are more likely to purchase products with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5. The 4.2 -4.5 range even beats out a perfect 5 stars. A study by Power Reviews and Northwestern University reveals that shoppers are likelier to purchase products with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5. The 4.2 -4.5 range even beats out a perfect 5 stars. Click To Tweet

Small business marketing facts: marketing in your own backyard

Many small businesses are local small businesses – targeting consumers who live in their geographic location.

It follows then that local customers are the lifeblood of local small businesses.

Here are some facts that will help you market to local shoppers.

The Facts:

25. Clix Marketing’s Amy Bishop revealed at the 2018 SMX East Search Engine Marketing Conference that¬†72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within a 5-mile radius.¬†Clix Marketing's Amy Bishop revealed at the 2018 SMX East Search Engine Marketing Conference that 72% of consumers who did a local search visited a store within a 5-mile radius. Click To Tweet

This means that if you’re seeking local consumers, you’ll get the most impact if you target customers who live within 5 miles of your business.

26. A great way to engage and entice local shoppers is by offering location-based coupons that reward customers for stopping by the store. Aaron Levy of Elite SEM (a search engine marketing company) shared that 51% of people polled wanted location-based coupons when searching for a business online. 51% of people polled wanted location-based coupons when searching for a business online. Click To Tweet

In one client case study, Levy saw an increase of 9916% in mobile revenue after introducing a mobile discount reading “show this ad at checkout to receive discount.”

Also, remember to differentiate your products through smart packaging design. For more on this, read 10 Biggest Product Packaging Design Trends for 2022.

27. In a world where you can buy most things online, consumers sometimes need an incentive to leave the house. This trend report from ScanLife shows that 86% of consumers would find it beneficial to get exclusive coupons or offers on their mobile devices while shopping in-store. Remember that customers like to be rewarded. 86% of consumers would find it beneficial to get exclusive coupons or offers on their mobile device while shopping in-store. Remember that customers like to be rewarded. Click To Tweet

28. Once consumers are out and about, give them a reason to add your business to their itinerary. A PRRI study on email marketing, retail, and coupon use revealed that¬†56% of participants reported visiting a brick-and-mortar store after receiving a deal or offer on their mobile device when they were near the store. That’s right – more than half of the customers reported that they would add a business to their agenda if they received a discount coupon while out. 56% of participants report visiting a brick-and-mortar store after receiving a deal or offer on their mobile device when they were near the store. Click To Tweet

Look both ways before crossing

We know there’s a lot on your plate.

And marketing can feel like just another thing you’re “supposed” to do.

But, marketing your business – and doing it well – is essential to your small business’s success.

We hope you use these facts and statistics as a leaping-off point for a more informed, targeted, and successful marketing plan for your small business.

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