Small Businesses Might Need to Continue Emphasizing Digital Efforts

Over the past few years, it’s grown far more important for small businesses to generally increase their presence online as a means of better connecting with a wider variety of consumers overall. However, it seems that many such companies are finally starting to realize the importance of doing so in the most comprehensive way possible, but still not doing as much as they could to actually follow through on that issue.

Today, 93 percent of people start looking for things online by typing relevant terms into a search engine first and foremost, and nearly 7 in 10 also check the social media pages of the companies they’re looking into before making a purchase, according to a new survey from Ciceron. In fact, 87 percent say that the online content a business puts out has at least some impact on their purchasing decisions, especially if the company does nothing but promote itself.

However, there seems to be some disconnect between that reality, which many entrepreneurs acknowledge, and actual follow-through on it, the report said. Companies only devote about a quarter of their marketing budgets toward digital efforts. However, nearly 3 out of 4 businesses also say that they’re going to try to increase that spending in the coming year.

“As funny as that may sound, many businesses are slow to come to the realization that digital marketing is the future of the marketing industry,” wrote Tiffani Allen, the marketing communications coordinator for Ciceron who conducted the research. “It’s safe to assume that businesses need to continue investing in digital marketing strategies to keep up with developing technologies and to satisfy the needs and desires of consumers.”

How will they use it?
When it comes to online marketing from companies trying to reach consumers, only 27 percent of marketing money spent on digital efforts goes toward improving brand awareness, the report said. The largest portion – 40 percent – goes toward pushing sales, and 18 percent more is used to generate leads. But for business-to-business firms, the numbers are much different: 41 percent is used to generate leads, 27 percent to drive sales, and just 17 percent to increase awareness.

Owners who want to devote more money to this type of thing might need to find ways to cut costs, such as obtaining more affordable small business insurance. By slashing expenses for liability insurance, for instance, companies might be able to free up thousands of dollars.