According to the 2016 Local Pulse Report from Thrive Analytics, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) remain optimistic about their future sales with marketing budgets increasing by 42%, up from 35% the year over. Mobile marketing is perceived as a top area of growth (49%) among SMBs, followed by online display (44%) and paid search (44%).
Thrive Analytics finds mobile marketing is a top area for growth in 2016
Jason Peaslee, Managing partner, Thrive Analytics, explains:
“Digital media continues to be SMBs’ main focus when it comes to marketing, especially with newer businesses. However, older and more established businesses continue to see value in traditional forms of marketing too. As SMBs view local advertising as a more strategic source of leads and essential for keeping up with competition, more dollars are being invested across a growing number of channels.”
Based on the answers of over 1,100 SMB owners, the report also finds that whilst half of respondents believe mobile marketing to equal an area of significant growth, half of their websites are still not optimised for mobile and many of the SMBs don’t have a mobile strategy. Adoption of mobile payments among the SMBs also lags behind, with just 38% accepting mobile transactions. However, 23% of respondents realise the trend, stating that mobile payments would have a significant impact on their business over the coming years.
Social media is another must for local businesses to effectively market themselves. 60% of SMBs have a website, whilst 80% use social sites such as Facebook (70%), Twitter (32%) and LinkedIn (26%) to drive awareness (57%) and engage their customers (57%). Just 19% of SMBs have paid for social media adverts.
“Many SMBs are now considering social media a standard component of their marketing mix, since many view it as a ‘free’ source of leads. About half of businesses still report that their biggest challenge with social media is the lack of time to manage social channels properly.”
SMBs like to measure the effectiveness of their mobile and social campaigns by the amount of calls (43%) they receive, as well as foot traffic (38%) and number of appointments (35%). 75% of SMBs do not use technology to measure ad performance, whilst over half of them ask their customers how they found their business.