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Affinity Express Release SMB Advertising Survey Results

Friday, June 10, 2011

Press release from the issuing company

Chicago, - Affinity Express Inc., the leading offshore, onshore and onsite provider of high-volume print and interactive advertising and marketing production solutions, with hundreds of multi-media publishing, marketing services, retailer and other clients, released the results of its survey of small- to medium-sized business (SMB) customers to measure their use of online advertising and marketing tactics.
Around 70 SMBs responded to the survey and 63% and have used online advertising or marketing for their business. Website and landing pages is the most commonly used tactic used by 77% of respondents, with email marketing following closely (73%). Half of the respondents use social media marketing (50%) and around one-third use search engine optimization (31%) and online catalogs (27%). Channels like display ads (23%), blogging (23%), search ads (19%), and mobile (15%) are less explored.
An interesting find is the low use of search engine optimization compared to the prevalence of websites and landing pages as a marketing tactic. This indicates that SMBs are focusing efforts on developing websites and landing pages, but not on optimizing those pages to get found in search results.
Sales is the Most Important Online Marketing Objective

Sales is the most important focus for a small business owner (36% voted it the most important objective of their online advertising or marketing activities), and drives her marketing strategy. However, 23% respondents indicated that brand awareness was most important. Less important are lead generation (14%), lead nurturing (9%), customer service (9%), reputation management (5%), and customer lifetime value (5%).

Only 12% SMBs Consider Online Marketing Very Effective

The focus on sales might be partly why SMB owners don't rate online tactics as very effective. Only 12% consider online advertising and marketing very effective and 44% admit it is somewhat effective. 36% rate online tactics somewhat ineffective for their businesses, while 8% consider it very ineffective.
Search Engine Optimization is the Most Effective Online Marketing Tactic

Even though search engine optimization isn't used by many SMBs, it emerged as the most effective tactic with 33% voting it very effective. Website and landing pages are at a distant second (16%), followed closely by email marketing (15%), online display ads (13%), search ads (13%), online catalogs  (13%), and mobile (12%). Surprisingly, social media marketing (9%) and blogging (6%) are considered least effective.

Cost and Lack of Resources Are Significant Challenges

The biggest challenge that SMBs face with online marketing is the high cost of external resources (27%), followed closely by insufficient expertise (25%) and lack of measurable ROI (25%). Lack of in-house resources is the most significant issue for 20% of respondents and lack of buy-in from management is only an issue with 2%.
SMBs Manage Online Marketing In-House or Through DIY Services

57% respondents have internal teams manage online advertising and marketing and 48% use online do-it-yourself services. 22% use outsourcing providers, 4% use freelance providers, and 4% use Affinity Express, who only started offering online advertising and marketing production to this category in 2011.
84% Respondents Will Use Online Marketing in 2011

Despite the perceived low effectiveness of online marketing, 84% respondents say they plan to use online marketing in 2011.
Respondents' Business Size

Almost all the survey respondents are owners or employees of a small business, with over half of the businesses employing 2-10 people and 26% employing only one person. Only 8% of the businesses have more than 500 employees. 5% each have 11-100 and 101-500 employees respectively.
For the full report and all charts, access SMB Online Marketing and Advertising Survey.


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