Owners of small and medium-sized businesses are constantly looking for the most innovative tactics that will enable them to capture, nurture, and convert more leads and prospects, as well as grow their businesses. According to a new study by local SEO tools provider, BrightLocal (@bright_local), 37% of SMBs plan to increase their Internet marketing spend over the next 12 months (versus 21% of SMBs in 2014).
Conducted in October and November 2014, BrightLocal’s SMB Internet Marketing Survey 2014 reports that an overwhelming 75% of surveyed SMB owners believe that Internet marketing is “very effective” or “effective” at attracting new customers (up from just 68% in 2013). Interestingly, only 20% aren’t satisfied with its effectiveness—down 4% from 2013’s results. [See Figure 1]
“It is this increase in trust towards internet marketing that has persuaded 37% of SMBs to up their spending levels over next 12 months,” said Myles Anderson, founder and CEO of BrightLocal. “It shows that if more SMBs can be convinced about the effectiveness of an internet marketing campaign, then it is likely that they too will spend more of their budget in online channels.”
Though the number of companies stating that they will increase their Internet marketing spend over the next 12 months has increased significantly, the number of companies that remain unsure if they’ll increase their Internet marketing spend over the next 12 months remains unchanged from last year (47%). [See Figure 2]
When asked which channels are most effective at attracting new customers, 51% said online channels. However, the majority of those surveyed agreed that word of mouth (considered an offline marketing channel) is still the most effective tool when it comes to bringing in new customers, representing 28% of the overall results. [See Figure 3]
Word of mouth tops the list of channels that included SEO (20%), online local directories (15%), and email marketing (10%). Additionally, the surveyed SMB owners said that website traffic and search engine rankings were only second and third to phone calls as success metrics.
BrightLocal’s latest study surveyed a total of 736 SMBs; with 95% located in North America, 4% in Europe, and 1% from other regions.
Are you planning to increase your Internet marketing spend over the next 12 months? What marketing channels will you invest in?
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