Nearly half (47 percent) of small businesses in the U.S. spent less than $10,000 on digital marketing in 2017, according to a recent survey from B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm Clutch. Social media (54 percent), website (51 percent), and email marketing (36 percent) were key areas of investment.
Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) represent a small but promising digital marketing channel, with 10 percent of small businesses already early adopters in the space, according to the survey.
Many small businesses may not budget much for digital marketing because they have so few employees and limited resources to invest. More than half (57 percent) of businesses surveyed reported annual revenue of less than $1 million.
In addition, in-house digital marketing teams may not be “teams” at all—30 percent of small businesses (the largest group) only have one employee working on digital marketing. This finding suggests that in-house digital marketers may lack the time and resources they need to market efficiently.
Small businesses plan to prioritize websites, social media, and email marketing
Small businesses’ priorities for digital marketing this year include renewed investments in their websites, social media, and email marketing. Over half of small businesses surveyed will improve their websites (54 percent) and engage consumers through social media (51 percent), while 36 percent will direct more resources to email marketing in 2018.
Content marketing lags, despite cost-effective results
Fewer than 1 in 4 small businesses plan to invest in content marketing in 2018, but experts caution that failing to perform content marketing is a mistake for small businesses.
Creating content—such as blog posts, whitepapers, and videos—is a highly cost-effective way to build brand loyalty and boost a business’ ranking in search results.
Keith Gutierrez, vice president of marketing at Modgility, reminds small businesses that in developing a content marketing strategy, quality is more important than quantity.
“[Content] just needs to be great, quality stuff you can’t find anywhere else,” Gutierrez said, in a news release.
Small businesses already have what they need to start creating content: They should consider their unique advice and data, and then package that information into useful content.
Virtual/Augmented Reality marketing sees an investment bump
In an effort to keep up with new technology, some companies (12 percent) will increase their investment in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) marketing.
AR/VR marketing is especially effective for products that benefit from in-person tours such as real estate and travel booking.
Derrick Bozkurt, a Colorado realtor at House in Motion, uses VR marketing to create virtual house tours. The technology lets Bozkurt’s clients know exactly what kind of home they’re considering.
Clutch’s 2018 Small Business Social Media Survey included 351 small business owners or managers from across the U.S. with fewer than 500 employees.