During this downtime, small businesses have the opportunity to figure out what works with their marketing strategies and channels. Although it is a chaotic and challenging time, it could be a good time for business leaders to take a hard look at their digital marketing techniques.

We surveyed 500 small business owners and managers across the U.S. about how their companies used their digital marketing channels in the last 12 months and what they hope to accomplish with digital marketing in 2020.

We discovered that business owners are invested in using their own resources and finding creative solutions for their marketing efforts.

Use this guide of tips and tricks to learn how your small business can be more efficient with digital marketing.

Our Findings
Almost all small businesses (88%) invest in social media, which shows the importance of online efforts to reach customers.
Nearly half of small businesses (54%) use email marketing to facilitate personal connections with their customers.
Small businesses plan to use more website marketing (56%) to strengthen their content offering.
In 2020, small businesses use video marketing (32%) to engage and captivate consumers.
In an effort to cut costs, more than half (63%) of small businesses rely on in-house employees who work on digital marketing along with their additional responsibilities. Only 16% use in-house digital marketers whose sole role is digital marketing.
About two-thirds of small businesses (63%) still use traditional marketing services such as print marketing, suggesting that these strategies are still an effective use of marketing.
More than three-quarters of small businesses (76%) believe their digital marketing efforts are effective in achieving their goals.
In 2020, the top 5 goals for digital marketing are to convert leads (19%), increase web traffic (17%), support revenue generation (15%), increase brand and customer engagement (14%), and generate a high volume of qualified leads (14%). The right goal varies by business need.

7 Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in 2020
Build a strong social media presence
Use email marketing to connect with customers
Expand website marketing
Start using video marketing
Use in-house digital marketing resources
Find more outlets for print marketing
Determine your small business’s main goal

Build a Strong Social Media Presence
As the opportunity for direct face-to-face communication is currently limited, small businesses should take to social media to reach their customers.

Social media is part of the majority of small businesses’ marketing plans. Almost all small businesses (88%) invest in social media.

Social media has become a functional aspect of many digital marketing strategies for different businesses and generations.

Business Owners Value Social Media, No Matter Their Age
The majority of all generations rely on social media for their business: Millennials (91%), Generation Xers (91%), and baby boomers (85%) use social media for their business.

In addition, all generations plan to use social media more in 2020; 50% of millennials, 31% of Generation Xers, and 26% of baby boomers plan to grow their digital marketing strategies this year.

Outside of social media, each generation plans to invest more in the following channels:

Millennials: Email marketing (80%), video marketing (75%), and website marketing (50%)
Generation Xers: Email marketing (73%), video marketing (57%), and website marketing (59%)
Baby boomers: Email marketing (65%), video marketing (46%), and website marketing (52%)

Use Email Marketing Campaigns to Connect With Customers

While some may argue that email marketing is outdated, most small businesses still use email to facilitate personal connections with their clients.

More than half of small businesses (54%) plan to use email marketing as part of their digital marketing strategy in 2020.

According to HubSpot, 80% of business leaders believe that email marketing amplifies customer retention. Nearly 60% of respondents of its State of Email Marketing survey say that marketing emails influence their purchasing behavior.

“Email marketing is paramount to the retention of your customer base,” said Ryan Masten, founder of Earn2Trade, a small education and financial business. “There’s much more room for personalization and customization in an email, as you’re communicating directly with your own customers.”

The personalization keeps customers coming back.

The impact of email marketing goes beyond a cluttered inbox. It’s a key digital marketing tool for small businesses looking to expand their brand’s reach and influence.

Expand Website Marketing Efforts

Online visibility is extremely important for businesses in this day and age. If your business doesn’t have a website, your presence within your market is essentially nonexistent.

Small businesses need look no further than their own web platforms to increase their knowledge of website marketing.

In 2020, about 56% of small businesses invest website marketing to increase their digital presence.

Relevant blog posts give your business the perfect opportunity for authority in your market.

Small businesses are increasing their web presence to meet their customers where they are right now, making the transition as seamless as possible.

With online preferences changing frequently alongside the growing digital market, small businesses can add variety to their websites by producing timely content with a personal touch.

Small businesses can study their site’s traffic and engagement levels, finding areas to grow their success. This is a quick way to find what works and what doesn’t.

Start Using Video Marketing

The use of eye-catching videos can help small businesses dominate the digital marketing circuit because videos make the average user spend 88% more time on a website.

Despite over half of consumers wanting to see more video content from brands they support, only about one-third of small businesses (32%) plan to invest more in video marketing this year.

Use In-House Digital Marketing Resources

Small businesses use internal in-house resources who provide their company with creative digital marketing ideas.

The majority of small businesses (63%) rely on in-house employees who work on digital marketing services in addition to other responsibilities. Only 16% of small businesses use employees that only focus on digital marketing.

Find More Outlets for Print Marketing

Businesses aren’t only focusing on digital marketing — most still use traditional marketing techniques such as print marketing.

About two-thirds (63%) of small businesses still use print marketing as part of their marketing strategy. This includes direct mail, flyers, and banners.

Determine Your Small Business’s Main Goal

Having a main goal to measure the success of your digital marketing efforts might be the most beneficial digital marketing tip of all. Before starting their small business marketing plan, companies must determine their primary digital marketing goal.

Currently, more than three-quarters (76%) of small businesses believe their digital marketing efforts are effective in achieving their company’s goals.

In 2020, our findings show that small businesses want to use digital marketing to:

Convert leads (19%)
Increase their web traffic (17%)
Support revenue generation (15%)
Increase brand and customer engagement (14%)
Generate a high volume of qualified leads (14%)

Small Businesses Need to Look Forward in 2020

A successful digital marketing campaign can benefit small businesses during this unpredictable time. Thinking about the future can breathe a bit of optimism in your small business.

Ninya Van Zyl

Credits

Anna Peck – Content Writer & Editor

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The Manifest

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