No small business marketing campaign is complete without a detailed rundown of what your peers and competitors are doing with their working capital. While identifying and targeting your ideal customer is one goal of a solid small business marketing campaign, so too is monitoring other companies to see what is working and what new trends are gaining traction for reaching new customers and generating more leads.
So what’s happening in the world of small business marketing?
For starters, if you feel like you’re all alone in your efforts, it’s because you are. A recent survey of a panel of 1,026 self-identified business owners, found that 46.8 percent of these individuals said they handled their own marketing efforts, according to the findings in the 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report, a LeadPages and InfusionSoft Research Project. Further, the survey revealed a wealth of information about the state of small business marketing techniques.
Despite the fact that we’re currently deep in the midst of a digital revolution, nearly 20 percent of small business owners have no plans in place to adopt a digital strategy in 2016, according to the LeadPages survey. Further, of those that have transitioned to using digital, 41 percent of respondents said they only incorporated one or two software applications, while a little more than a quarter indicated they used three or four.
Although utilizing a digital marketing strategy might seem cost-prohibitive to some small business owners, and out of the comfort zone for others, these techniques offer plenty of benefits.
One of the great attributes to digital marketing is that it provides small business owners with the resources to find out what the customer is already thinking, allowing entrepreneurs to adjust their approach to better attract these individuals.
There are plenty of options to choose from, too. As noted by the source, the number of marketing technologies nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, going from 947 to 1,876. With so many choices to pick from, small business owners can find the digital marketing solution that best aligns with their enterprise and goals.
One such tool for tracking leads and closing sales is customer relationship management software (CRM). Less than a quarter of respondents said they currently used one of these programs. However, a CRM can provide valuable insights about the entire sales process, monitor all communications and identify the hottest leads. These solutions can typically generate an average return of $8.71 for every dollar spent.
The inability to track return on investment remains a thorn in the side of many small business owners. According to the report, 48.5 percent of respondents said they were unable to discern whether their marketing attempts were effective. Further, 14 percent admitted to knowing their efforts were not successful.
The lack of ROI metrics can be traced back to the large majority of small business owners not taking advantage of the expanding field of platforms, tools and opportunities offered with digital marketing solutions.
By default and design, small business owners must wear many hats to keep their companies growing. With nearly half of these individuals also having to take sole responsibility for marketing, it’s little surprise that finding the time and resources for enacting and fulfilling the goals of the campaign was a top challenge for the respondents of the survey.
Yet, despite this, less than 16 percent of small business owners utilized automation software. By implementing a solid automation process integrated with a CRM system, you can not only boost the reach of your marketing campaign, but you can also measure and track the results to ensure you’re optimizing ROI.
Ultimately, as noted by Business2Community, small business owners need to create a hybrid campaign that incorporates both traditional and digital strategies. By combining these efforts, you can continue to use the techniques you’re most familiar with, while taking advantage of the new systems and tools hitting the market every year.