Archive for April, 2016

Small-Business Marketing Budgets Continue to Rise

According to the 2016 Local Pulse Report from Thrive Analytics, 42% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasing their marketing budgets this year. This is an increase from 35% at the same time last year. The study reported that top growth areas among the more than 1,100 SMB owners who responded include mobile marketing at 49% (an increase of 15% from last year) and online display and paid search at 44% (both up 11%).

Just six out of 10 respondents to the study have a website, but 80% use social media platforms, including Facebook (70%), Twitter (32%) and LinkedIn (26%). Seven of 10 owners expect social media to generate leads, while more than half (57%) use it to build awareness and another 57% utilize it to engage their customers. Only 19% of respondents report paying for advertising on social media.

“Digital media continues to be SMBs’ main focus when it comes to marketing, especially with newer businesses,” said Jason Peaslee, managing partner of Thrive Analytics. “However, older and more established businesses continue to see value in traditional forms of marketing too. As SMBs view local advertising as a more strategic source of leads and essential for keeping up with competition, more dollars are being invested across a growing number of channels.”

Almost half (49%) of all respondents stated that mobile is their top growth area in terms of marketing, but approximately the same number state that their websites are not mobile-optimized. In fact, the majority of respondents reported they do not have a solid mobile marketing strategy.

The Local Pulse Report is a comprehensive bi-annual study that examines social media use, ratings and reviews, mobile marketing, marketing budgets and technology adoption.

Read more: Small-Business Marketing Budgets Continue to Rise

How to Attract B2B Buyers to Ecommerce

Today’s B2B buyers have fewer constraints than those of 10 years ago. To decrease costs, even enterprise companies are streamlining their purchasing processes, including increased online purchasing without the traditional purchase order or invoice.

In “B2B Ecommerce Growing; Becoming More Like B2C,” I explained that B2B buyers are looking for an ecommerce experience that is comparable to buying consumer goods. That expectation will grow in 2016. B2B buyers often make purchases on B2C websites when products are available, so the opportunity to sell to businesses exists for B2C online merchants. Interestingly, 82 percent of B2B buyers have made B2B purchases on Amazon’s consumer site, versus on Amazon Business, according to research firm Forrester.

The Statistics

In a recent survey of enterprise buyers, Forrester found that 32 percent of respondents made half or more of their work purchases online. Fifty-three percent expect more than half of their business purchases to be made online in 2018. The rate of online business purchasing is likely even higher among smaller companies that don’t have rigid purchasing rules.

Reasons for switching to online purchasing include the convenience of being able to purchase 24 hours a day and the speed of completing the transaction. Even if purchases are not made online, business buyers use websites extensively for product research. Sixty-three percent of respondents researched at least half of their work purchases online. While 70 percent of respondents start their research on a search engine rather than a manufacturer or distributor website, the majority make their purchase on an industry distributor website (30 percent) or a manufacturer site (26 percent).

Read more: How to Attract B2B Buyers to Ecommerce

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