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Survey: LA-Area SMBs Think Digital Marketing Brings Growth

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Last week in LA we held our first ever Digital Boot Camp for small business owners. Alongside partners such as Google, Yahoo, Yelp, GoDaddy, Bing, YP, Closely and more, we put together a program to help LA-area SMBs navigate the confusing digital marketing landscape.

In advance of the event, we conducted a survey of the over 100 registrants to get a better sense of the audience. Even with just 46 responses, a broad range of businesses were represented. Here is are some highlights about the audience:

  • Over 20 industries were represented;
  • 40% were “just me” businesses and 98% had less than 50 employees;
  • 56% had an annual advertising/marketing budget of $5,000 or less and 30% had a budget between $5,000 and $25,000;
  • 15% of businesses opened in the last year and about 15% have been in business for more than 20 years.

While the event brought together a diverse bunch of SMBs with varying levels of digital know-how, many familiar themes were uncovered in the survey. For instance, the top five marketing methods used by these businesses weren’t much of a surprise:

  • Social Media (86%)
  • Email Marketing (61%)
  • SEO (55%)
  • Blog or Content Marketing (50%)
  • Printed Handouts, Newsletters or Flyers (45%)

What was most interesting from the survey was the business owners’ feelings toward growth.  When discussing digital marketing adoption and more specifically the surprisingly large number of SMBs without a website, one of the explanations has been due to an absent desire to grow business.

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While it seems obvious that registrants for a digital marketing event would be looking to grow, the absence of those that aren’t is interesting. With just 1 respondent hoping to keep business at current levels, a somewhat reaching conclusion can be made. It suggests that these “happy where we are” businesses either believe digital marketing will result in more business than they can handle or that it neither helps nor hurts the level of business they currently have.

As I said, it is a somewhat reaching and generalized conclusion, but with 98% of respondents saying they want to grow at least moderately coupled with the fact that they registered for an event to learn about digital marketing, we can assume they believe in the power of digital, and rightfully so.

On the consumer side we have seen study after study showing growth among most demographics in relation to smartphone usage, app usage, social media usage, etc.  With people of all ages using digital media more and more, even SMBs that just want business to remain steady will need a foundational digital strategy (website, online listings, Facebook page) in order to stay in the game.

One Response to “Survey: LA-Area SMBs Think Digital Marketing Brings Growth”

  1. Jacqui Genow says:

    Some interesting information here.

    I think it’s a bold and smart statement to make for those SMBs wanting to grow “moderately”. One of the things I’ve seen in working with business owners on marketing their businesses is that they don’t always have a foundation in place to support rapid growth.

    Was sorry to have missed this event, but hope there will be another soon!

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