Now that the ball on New York’s Time Square has dropped, and we have enjoyed the champagne and celebrations, 2015 presents some unique opportunities for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) to fine tune their SEO and Internet marketing strategies into a powerful, comprehensive plan.
In October-November 2014, BrightLocal carried out their yearly SMB Internet Marketing Survey. This online survey questioned SMBs with 1 to 50 employees about their knowledge of and intentions to use mobile marketing, Internet marketing, and other marketing services. The survey received 736 complete survey responses, 95 percent of which came from North America.
The findings show that in the Internet of Things (IoT) era, a hard-wired, well planned Internet marketing strategy that integrates mobile optimization and social media is critical to driving customers to your business. Even for small, local businesses that rely solely on customers walking through their doors must have a plan. Consider these key facts:
- 32% found Internet marketing to be very effective at drawing in new clientele.
- 75% found Internet marketing to be effective or very effective to drawing in new clientele.
- 4% do not use any online marketing tools.
All of those percentages represent significant increases over the prior year, which means SMBs are increasingly becoming online marketing and social media savvy. Main Street can no longer disregard the power of mobile optimization and social media.
Yet, integrated Internet marketing plans that focus on SEO do not need to drain the bank account. In fact, sticking to best practices may be a very budget conscious way for a small business to outshine the competition.
- 70% spend less than $500 on marketing every month, a decrease from 73% the year prior.
- 83% spend less than $1,000 on marketing every month, a decrease from 85% the year prior.
- 16% spend more than $1,000 on marketing every month, a decrease from 21% the year prior.
While these allocated dollars include every type of marketing effort, Internet activity continues to represent a small percentage of the total budget. SMB’s may consider social media tweets and posts to be ineffectual and not worthy of hiring a professional. For instance, a martial arts studio with only two storefronts may have no need to attract new clients outside of a minimal radius. Thus, the Internet effort stalls.
- 34% allocate less than 10% of their marketing campaign to Internet marketing.
- 50% allocate less than 30% of their marketing campaign budget to Internet marketing.
- 29% allocate more than 70% of their marketing campaign to Internet marketing.
However, another angle points to opportunities for SMB’s to sprint ahead of the competition. With so few SEO and Internet marketing efforts made by geographically-bound businesses, a recently re-vamped strategy that includes coordinated, multi-pronged best practices can yield excellent results. Moreover, a local business may find that it suddenly has nationwide clients calling.
SMB’s rely on incremental business. Converting one or two loyal customers into promoters per month may have a crucial impact on the profitability and long-term viability of the company. Best practices need not overwhelm the budget, such as reviewing keyword usage, organic search phrases, and coordinating blog posts with Twitter tweets and Facebook posts. Thus, the New Year gives every SMB a perfect occasion to sit down with their SEO specialist and update the comprehensive plan.