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SMBs Believe They Can Self-Manage Most Critical Marketing Channels

One of the interesting themes that has emerged in discussions and recent data is small business marketing self-management vs. outsourcing: DIY vs. DIFM. This has always been a topic in the industry but what has become clear more recently is that most of the market is DIY today.

Data from an InfusionSoft survey of SMBs discovered that roughly 71% were doing their own marketing. And we’ve found something similar in our own surveys and in other third party data.

Who does your marketing?

InfusionSoft SMB data

Source: InfusionSoft and LeadPages, n=1,000 SMBs (2016)

DIY marketing can often produce weak results, which can in turn cause SMBs to draw the wrong conclusions about a marketing method or channel. As I previously discussed, at our most recent LSA Bootcamp, we asked how many attendees were currently doing paid-search marketing. Two hands went up. But when asked how many had ever done paid search, nearly 40 hands went up.

I inferred from this that people had done it themselves and not had success and so had effectively given up on paid search or concluded that it didn’t work. I’m making a bunch of leaps in drawing that conclusion but I think the logic is correct.SMB methods comparison

Source: LSA SMB survey in progress (2016)

We’re in the midst of an SMB survey as part of a larger project. I pulled some data from a couple of questions to capture something interesting (above).

There’s an almost 1:1 alignment between the top marketing methods these SMBs regard as “essential” for online success and the methods they also believe they can manage in house. The one area that falls outside their DIY comfort zone is SEO.

Social media in the lists above almost probably does not include paid-social in their minds. When most SMBs think of social media they’re thinking organic (e.g., Facebook Page). The point here, however, is that they perceive themselves to be able to effectively manage the most critical marketing channels and tools with the exception of SEO.

This mentality may help explain some of the resistance faced by marketing services providers selling things outside of the critical cluster of marketing channels and tools (e.g., paid search). There’s more to consider and discuss but I wanted to share these results preliminarily because they point to something very interesting in the SMB digital marketing mindset.

4 Responses to “SMBs Believe They Can Self-Manage Most Critical Marketing Channels”

  1. Perry says:

    I’d observe that the VSMB is actually a lot more active and increasingly comfortable with simple Facebook paid ad tools – most commonly “spending a few dollars” to promote their posts. It’s a lot more pervasive that we expected – to achieve the engagement stats we’re observing across the ~500K or so businesses we scan daily, there simply has to be some active spending on ad products.

    FB is also increasingly viewed as a customer interaction channel, and the intense focus FB is about to put into Messenger for SMB will undoubtedly continue to reinforce the importance of FB for “interacting with your customers”.

  2. ZIV KOREN says:

    Another interesting point to consider is the lack of correlation between what SMBs deem as essential and the actual effectiveness of the channel:
    1. SMBs websites that are not promoted using paid search or paid social campaigns will have near zero traffic
    2. Organic social reach is virtually dead with exposure ranging between 0%-5%.
    The lack of correlation may be attributed to the limited ability of SMBs to track the effectiveness of DIY marketing channels; with the exception of emails that are relatively simple to track and understand, very few SMBs can set-up and understand Google Analytics or makes sense of Facebook’s “Reach” and “Engagement” (which is why most will be still concerned with “Likes” which has become a vanity KPI).
    The interesting question is should service providers focus on what the SMBs think they want – tangible easy to understand “presence” products; or what the SMBs need – real ROI that can only be achieved by covering the full attract – convert – retain funnel.
    We at Camilyo strongly believe in the latter.

  3. admin says:

    Obviously there needs to be a balance between giving them guidance and doing what they want. Clearly business owners themselves often don’t know what works — hence the websites focus/attribution. But if the sales channel or marketing services provider does something totally unfamiliar or takes a “we know what’s best for you” approach that won’t retain the customer.

  4. admin says:

    Certainly FB wants businesses to see the platform in that way.

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