Just Released: The 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report

Posted by The Leadpages Team  |  Jan 20, 2016

If you’re reading this, you’re probably ahead of about 1 in 5 small business marketers. Assuming that reading the LeadPages blog means you’re doing at least some digital marketing, that is. 17%–22% of small business owners aren’t. And if those marketing efforts are effective, you’re in a pretty elite group. Nearly half of small business owners today don’t know whether or not their marketing has any positive impact on their business. What’s more, a sizable minority—14%—know that their marketing doesn’t work. Those are just a few of the notable findings from our new research study, the 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report. In December 2015, LeadPages and Infusionsoft teamed up to survey more than 1,000 small business owners from across the U.S. about their marketing practices, challenges, and goals heading into 2016. The resulting report identified some considerable weak spots in the state of small-business marketing—but also plenty of opportunities for the savvy small business owner to score quick wins. The full report covers answers to 10 different survey questions and an analysis of the state of small business marketing as a whole. It’s full of interesting data, but if you just want the Cliffs Notes, we’ve got you covered there, too. To quickly show you how you can apply these insights to outmarket your own competitors, we’ve created a companion PDF, called “9 Ways to Be a Superior Small Business Marketer in 2016.” Download it below: [cta-box] As a snapshot of small business marketing right now, the 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report is illuminating and occasionally surprising. Here are just a few areas where interesting marketing trends seem to be afoot: Goals and Priorities: In 2016, small businesses will look to digital marketing primarily to meet goals at the top and the bottom of the customer-acquisition funnel. Of the respondents, 51 percent stated driving sales as a top goal this year, while nearly the same number (48 percent) said they’d use their marketing resources mainly to create brand awareness or simply convey information. The takeaway: businesses that focus on getting and nurturing leads have a chance to connect with potential customers in a way that most competitors don’t. Challenges: What’s keeping those business owners who don’t do any digital marketing from jumping in? It may be the perception that there’s just so much to do—which can seem especially exhausting if you’re already busy running a business. Our survey confirms the impression that entrepreneurs are juggling a wide variety of marketing responsibilities. Nearly equal numbers of respondents reported that their biggest challenge was generating web traffic, turning traffic into leads, turning leads into customers, and simply finding enough time and resources for their marketing to begin with. Not as big a priority? Customer retention. Our survey suggests that once small businesses get customers in the door, they don’t find it difficult to keep them. Tactics and Opportunities: Marketing can be a lonely job for small business owners: nearly half handle all their marketing on their own, while another quarter rely on an in-house team. Limited personnel can translate into a limited marketing toolkit. Websites and social media were the only digital marketing channels used by more than half of survey respondents. In line with that finding, more than 40% of small businesses use just 1 or 2 applications or platforms to handle all their digital marketing. Old-school, hard-to-track marketing channels such as telemarketing, print advertising, and direct mail are still in the mix but continue their slow decline. Only a portion of business owners who used these tools in 2015 plan to invest more in them during the year to come. On the other hand, some digital marketing techniques remain remarkably underexploited by small business owners. Our survey indicates that email marketing, content creation, and lead-generation campaigns all have plenty of room to grow—and that small businesses that adopt them now can still get an edge before they become the new default.

What Does It All Mean for You?

I’m a sucker for compelling data on its own, but this report contains more than just fodder for a round of Digital Marketing Trivia. It also suggests some very practical ways small business owners can rise to the top of their fields. To find out whether you’re prepared to succeed with digital marketing in 2016, download our free companion report, “9 Ways to Be a Superior Small Business Marketer in 2016.” Grab it below: [cta-box] What else would you like to know about what marketers are doing in 2016? Tell us in the comments.