In a recent report from BIA/Kelsey, small- to medium-sized businesses indicated that spending over the past 12 months on brand building initiatives through social media and various other web properties is up compared to Q4 2011. The source noted that SMBs spent an average of $1,190 over the past 12 months on these web properties – up from $876 in Q4 2011.
However, Director of Research at BIA/Kelsey Steve Marshall says total annual spending on advertising remained flat at around $3,000. The report highlights the emerging trend taking place in the world of online marketing – SMBs dedicate more resources toward their inbound, brand building campaigns and less on their more aggressive advertising efforts. As more marketers bolster digital marketing efforts, custom content optimized for the web will play a greater role in lead generation.
A recent report from Manta, the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business, similarly shows a significant number of small businesses are ramping up their online and content marketing efforts.
According to the source, 90 percent of small business owners will dedicate time to networking online and 74 percent find the practice just as valuable as face-to-face networking. The report shows that 50 percent of respondents cite gaining and targeting prospective customers as the most valuable benefit of online marketing. Seventy-eight percent say they found at least one-quarter of their new customers through online channels over the past year.
The Manta report and the forecast published by BIA/Kelsey further prove the importance of online marketing. Business owners who plan to take their efforts to the web must develop a content strategy that integrates SEO content, mobile technology and social media into one streamlined approach.