Posted: 13 Apr 2017
Despite widespread political uncertainty, a new study reveals that small businesses are feeling pretty optimistic.
The study, conducted by B2B ratings and reviews firm Clutch, quizzed 350 small business owners and managers to find out what their projections were for the coming year. Clutch's 2017 Small Business Digital Marketing Survey touched upon digital and social marketing budgets, revenue expectations, and asked how new technologies and trends like video, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will impact their sector.
A significant proportion (59%) of small business owners expected their revenues to grow in 2017, but it is not just profit that small firms are aiming for. Notably, 17% stated that they wanted to implement VR or AR into their strategy.
Marketing is another key area of interest, signifying its sizeable potential to help businesses of every size. Some 49% reported that they intend to boost their marketing budget this year, which is a welcome change of attitude in comparison to the lukewarm approach we saw last year. In 2016, 68% of respondents spent less than $100,000 on marketing and 41% said that they spent less than $10,000.
Among the areas of digital in which to develop, small businesses aimed to focus on social media (58%), a website (56%), email marketing (39%) and SEO (35%) in 2017. In terms of SEO, experts have predicted that strategies that prioritise local searches will be something we see more of this year.
"[Local search] is the equivalent of coming across a brick-and-mortar store," said Marisa Meddin, who used to work on Pepsi's marketing team in 2016 but left to run an Atlanta-based restaurant as an e-commerce venture. "We don't need a ton of money - we just have to work smarter."
Finally, the study highlighted hiring practices, finding that 335 of the 350 businesses have an in-house digital marketing team. Almost half (49%) of these use a team of one or two employees to conduct their campaigns. However, agencies retained their appeal with 80% reporting that they do work with one or more agencies.