SMB Optimism Will Translate to More Local Marketing Spend in 2018

BIA Kelsey’s report, titled “Media Firms & Marketers Win More SMB Clients by Designing Intelligent Data Systems,” revealed that SMB performance is on the rise, with over half describing themselves as growing and 60% projecting an increase in revenue. Another third describes their growth and revenue as steady.

Intelligent data systems and marketing investments are fueling these increases and marketers will have to keep up. So what does the growth of SMBs mean for anyone running campaigns for these companies and what do they have to know to get ahead in 2018?

Small Isn’t Always Local, Local Isn’t Always Small

SMB marketers are often creating campaigns at a local scale simply because small businesses tend to service local markets. However the decision to stay local as a business is often by choice, since coordinating international shipping, receiving and acquiring the necessary permits etc. can be costly and complex on top of many other potential roadblocks.

Regardless, it’s important to clarify that small and local aren’t mutually inclusive for marketers. Take a small ecommerce site that ships internationally for example, who falls under the SMB category but doesn’t do local marketing. On the reverse, huge chains with franchises like gas stations or fast-food restaurants for example are enterprise scale, but need tons of local marketing campaigns to support each location’s success.

Any Size Business Can Leverage Local for More Leads

Local marketing is going to continue to be an important channel for small and large business success. According to an LSA-Burke Local Media Tracking Study, a consumer may use up to 13 different [local] sources to find out information about a business. Local marketers understand the importance of their efforts in the local customer journey as it relates to search engines (keyboard and voice search), community-review pages, social media, local print publications and simple word-of-mouth.

Indeed any business who needs to attract local foot traffic has to have a presence across different local channels to capture this audience along their  path to purhcase. If done correctly, local marketing is an extremely effective tool for SMBs and enterprise alike as 75% of local searches can turn into in-store traffic within 24 hours!

Technological Innovation Backing SMB Growth

Certainly big chains have already taken advantage of the benefits local marketing has to offer, but if local marketing is so effective for SMBs, why haven’t more been embracing digital all this time? There are many reasons why SMBs have turned away from digital marketing in the past, mostly centered around campaign management or budget, but it seems that the landscape is slowly changing in their favor.

Technology like machine learning is transforming how SMB marketers view paid search. Google now allows some third party local reviews in the Knowledge Graph card from sites like Trivago for hotels and resorts, and continues to plug local reviews in PPC ads and more.

Accessible ad management tools, AI technologies and enriched review features for local search results demonstrate the importance of the small business sector and how marketing innovations are shaping local results for these businesses.

More Marketing Dollars Means More Marketing Results

Resources for small business and local marketers are increasing and the business sector is responding with trust. BIA/Kelsey explains that increases in revenue are causing SMBs to be optimistic about growth and as a result they’re planning to invest additional budget back into marketing.

This is good news for SMB martech and related advertising solutions and services. Approximately 75% of SMBs planned to increase their advertising budget last year, while BIA Kelsey reports that just over half of SMBs plan to maintain their advertising budget and another third will increase it.

2018 Will Be Promising for Local Marketers

Emerging advertising technologies are becoming accessible to small businesses as local marketing channels are enriched with new features, making small and local marketing success more viable in 2018 than ever before. Alongside technological innovation finally trickling down to SMBs, past and future investments in marketing and advertising efforts can only add to the ongoing success SMBs are experiencing.

SMBs have a lot of work ahead of them in the year to come, but the implications of a growing small business workforce are positive for our economy overall, but especially for local marketing professionals.

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