Small business owners are increasingly optimistic overall, and nearly half (46%) plan increased marketing spending in 2011, up from 29% who planned increases in 2010. According to the Ad-ology 2011 Small Business Marketing Forecast, these businesses are committing more resources to online marketing and show increased interest in newer marketing methods such as online video and mobile marketing.
Email marketing and company websites continue to be the most popular online marketing methods, but 45% plan to do more with online video and 35% said the same for mobile advertising.
Interest in using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks for business is up considerably over last year. While generating leads continues to be the top perceived benefit of social media, more businesses recognize the value of social media for improving the customer experience.
“Plans for higher online spending are no surprise, but these businesses are putting more resources into video, and many of them are looking to jump in to mobile,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “They’re becoming increasingly savvy on how to market with their websites and social media, and this year, seem ready to try new ways to reach their customers,” Smith said.
While projected online spending is up, these businesses also plan increased resources for traditional media types such as direct mail and newspapers.
Other key findings from the study:
- Fifty-six percent of SMB owners project increased sales in 2011; just 39% said that for 2010.
- Twenty-two percent say they are frustrated by trying to understand online advertising.
- Sixty-four percent report having a website, up nearly 20% from the surprisingly low 53% last year
- Fifty percent say they plan to devote more resources to trade shows in 2011.
- Approximately 15% say social couponing sites like Groupon and Living Social are beneficial to business.
The study was conducted in November 2010 by Ad-ology Research to analyze the attitudes and marketing plans of small business owners. The 2011 Small Business Marketing Forecast is available for purchase through the Research Store at Ad-ology.com.
Ad-ology Research surveyed an online panel of 752 owners of U.S. businesses with less than 100 employees in November 2010. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 2.95 percentage points.