Overwhelmed by Marketing? New Survey Shows Just How Tough Small Business Marketing Is

digital marketingMarketing is of utmost importance to small business owners, but it is also one of the most challenging parts of running your business. Which marketing strategies should you use? Who should handle your marketing? How do you fit marketing in a small business budget? And is your marketing even effective? If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by marketing, it turns out you are not alone. A survey by LeadPages and Infusionsoft is revealing just how tough small business marketing really is.

The survey involved gathering opinions from more than 1,000 small business owners from across the United States. The ten-question survey asked about small business marketing in 2016, including goals, priorities, challenges and tactics.

Results show just how tough small business marketing is. Some of the interesting findings include:

  • Nearly 47 percent of small business owners handle marketing on their own. That’s a big duty for someone who already wears so many hats.
  • Nearly one in five small business owners don’t plan on using digital marketing in 2016. Digital marketing includes things such as websites, social media, digital advertising and email marketing – techniques that are popular among larger businesses but harder for some small businesses to manage.
  • Over 20 percent of small business owners don’t store customer and lead information at all and only 24 percent use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
  • Small business owners are challenged with measuring the results of their marketing campaigns. Almost half aren’t sure if their efforts are effective, and 13.9 percent know for sure that they aren’t.

Despite these statistics, small business owners are well aware of the potential benefits of a good marketing strategy. About half will be using digital marketing in 2016 to drive sales and brand awareness, and about one in three will focus on goals such as collecting leads and retaining customers.

The survey clearly shows how difficult small business marketing is. One potential reason is demonstrated in the following finding: “Most small businesses are still using a fairly unsophisticated digital marketing stack.” Fourty-one percent use only one or two software applications, and another 26 percent use three or four.

However, there are plenty of tech tools available for small business marketing, including tools to help manage customers and leads, tools to help measure marketing results, and tools that make specific strategies (like blogs, social media, and emails) easier to implement. Small business marketing is definitely one of the biggest challenges your company will face – it’s time to embrace the technology that will make it simpler and more effective.

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Jennifer Peaslee

Jennifer has a Masters in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. She is currently working as a freelance writer, editor, blogger and researcher.

4 thoughts on “Overwhelmed by Marketing? New Survey Shows Just How Tough Small Business Marketing Is

  1. Henry Cooper Sr.

    Great article Jennifer, you nailed it with this article, I am one of those people who need extra help when it comes to digital marketing, I would like to outsource a big part of it. any suggestions?

    • Jennifer Peaslee Post author

      Hi Henry, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Digital marketing is a huge area, so I suggest you think about what your business could really use help in. Digital marketing possibilities include: social media, email/newsletter, website/SEO, blog/content marketing, paid advertising and more. You can research and select a marketing company if you need help in many areas (or if you need someone to figure out an overall strategy). You can also find freelancers to help you (on sites like Upwork and others) with smaller but significant tasks, like posting on social media and growing followers. There are a lot of companies and people who you could outsource your marketing to; just make sure to do your research first and after you hire, make sure they show evidence that their work is producing tangible, quantifiable RESULTS (followers, engagement, web visits, leads, sales, etc, whatever ‘results’ make sense for the type of marketing they are doing). If they can’t show results after a reasonable period of time then it’s time to look for another company/freelancer who can.

    • Ramon Ray

      Hi Henry – firs think why you want to outsource it, then think of your budget, then think of the return you’ll get – also consider what are you outsourcing the STRATEGY and EXECUTION or just the execution. Do you know about marketing or need help marketing and someone to do it. These are some things to think about. I’d suggest you meet up with 2 or 3 marketers and pay for them time even. Also meet up with SCORE – free consulting for your business.

      [image: photo] Ramon Ray
      Editor, Smart Hustle Magazine
      Email: ramon@smarthustle.com
      Website: http://www.smarthustle.com/ Chronicling the Smart Hustle of Small Business Entrepreneurs
      What’s new on Smart Hustle Magazine? 10 Last Minute Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas

  2. 800response

    It is interesting to see that 20% of businesses don’t plan on using digital marketing tactics in 2016. There are tools available that allow companies to add a digital aspect to their traditional marketing efforts such as direct mail campaigns with trackable URLs, toll-free vanity numbers with analytics, or adding coupon codes to mailers to track engagement. Even if a business plans on using mostly traditional marketing methods, they need to have some digital aspect of their strategy.


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