Small Businesses No Exception to Market Spend Shift to Online

Like larger businesses, small businesses are shifting more of their marketing initiatives from traditional media to web-based tools such as social media — including blogs, social networking, and online communities and forums — and email marketing.

This was a key finding from a recent Campaigner survey released earlier this month. The survey is the first of two reports investigating how North American small businesses with 20 employees or less are succeeding today, and how they’re adapting their marketing plans and budgets to compete more effectively. Data was gathered from 259 respondents.

When asked which marketing vehicles they use most, the top four categories respondents cited were social media, email newsletters, search engine marketing and webinars/podcasts. They were followed by traditional marketing vehicles, including direct mail, trade shows and local newspaper advertising.

The survey also revealed that small businesses expecting to grow this year are more likely to be using or planning to use email marketing. In fact, 82 percent of small businesses that use or plan to use email marketing expect revenue growth, while only 18 percent of small businesses that don’t use, or have no plans to use, email marketing expect growth.

Small businesses relying more on web-based marketing tools cited attracting and retaining customers (50 percent), growing revenue (15 percent), improving cash flow (9 percent), and maintaining profitability (8 percent) as their top business challenges.

The survey also found that many small business owners are seeing the beginnings of a turnaround, and are positioning themselves for stronger growth in 2010 by relying more heavily on web-based marketing tools.

Campaigner, an email marketing solutions provider, sponsored the online survey conducted in July by research and consulting firm Hurwitz & Associates.

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