Small Business Marketing Trends, Stats, and Alternate Perspectives
If you own a small business, you know the business world changes pretty fast these days. Trends come and go like the sunset. Which makes it hard to know which ones to pay attention to.
Especially when it comes to marketing your services and products, right?
No business owner likes wasting a single dollar on marketing that doesn’t eventually produce sales.
So we thought we would take a look at some recent stats, facts, predictions, trends, etc. All related to small business marketing. The goal is to give you the information in a more relatable fashion.
While also breaking down what the stats could really mean as opposed to what they appear to mean at face value.
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite love-hate relationship…
Social Media Marketing for Small Business
Now, you could ask 100 digital marketing “experts” and not one would agree that a small business can thrive without some form of social media marketing. They would be wrong. There are many businesses that don’t have any online presence whatsoever and still make major profits.
You just don’t see their videos all over Facebook or Instagram. They are likely too busy doing the actual work.
One example is anecdotal. We saw where a small retail store was getting major likes on their Facebook page but rarely posted.
The owner said they have been in business since 1969. They get amazing foot traffic and don’t need Facebook. He said it would be a distraction to spend much time using it.
They only used it to make announcements here and there. And this store had a booming business. All offline.
With that, let’s look at what industry thought leaders say about using social media to market your small business.
We will let you dissect some of the stats and predictions but some we will dive deeper into. Some we might even pick apart!
Social’s Slippery Slope
*These facts and figures were collected by Hubspot - linked below.
69% of Americans use Facebook. (Statista, 2021) - Great to know. However, the question to ask is - what are people doing on Facebook?
● Are they open to looking at your ads?
● Will your organic business posts get any views without paid promotion?
● What is the success rate of using Facebook for business?
Also, how much would you have to spend to get traction on Facebook with ads? How many months of organic posting would it take to get a following?
These goals aren’t impossible. But the questions need to be asked before diving in.
98.3% of Facebook users access the app on mobile. (Statista, 2021) - This is a helpful fact regardless of what type business you would promote on the platform. Because if you choose to utilize Facebook, your website, videos, and graphics need to show up properly on mobile phones.
Desktops and laptops are not extinct but for recreational use - social media - phones are the norm.
Marketers believe Facebook is the most popular social media platform across all age groups. (Hubspot survey) - From what we have read, this is still the truth. However, stats need close inspection and this one uses the phrase “marketers believe.” That is a far cry from “marketers know.”
And knowing how to sniff out stats and beliefs that are not concrete is a big help when deciding how and where to spend your marketing budget.
82% of B2B content marketers leveraged Twitter for organic marketing in 2021. (Content Marketing Institute, 2021) - Is it good to know what other marketers used in their strategy? Yes. Does this statistic tell us anything about the success of such campaigns? No. It doesn’t even have details for audience engagement, much less impact on sales in the long term.
Good to know a stat like that around the water cooler, but a very vague piece of information.
Most Pinterest users (85%) use the platform to plan new projects. (Pinterest, 2021) - This is a nice factoid to have if your business sells products that Pinterest users want or need. Yet, there’s a crucial caveat. The word “plan.”
What people say they want to do and what they do - those are two entirely different things.
That’s why asking someone if they would buy your theoretical invention is a waste of time. It’s easy for them to say yes. But put the invention on the market for sale, then see how many of your new widgets get bought.
That’s the true test of “would someone buy this.”
In 2019, TikTok was the third most downloaded non-gaming app globally. (Statista, 2020) - Advertising on TikTok is not cheap and good luck keeping anyone’s attention even if you’re willing to spend ad dollars there.
Again. We don’t want to insult anyone’s research. Take the info and use Hubspot and Statista reports however works for you and your business.
We’re fans of Hubspot in particular. But most information requires a closer look because dollars are on the line when you’re using the info in your business.
And next we will dissect how video can play a role in expanding your brand.
Online Video for Small Business
You have likely heard the drumbeat for adding videos to your website, social media, and any other marketing channel you can imagine.
But is video necessary for all businesses?
● It is a way to show personality
● It can deliver deeper details than photos alone
● Video is super affordable to create (though time-consuming)
Let’s look at what the stats show. Then you may have a better idea of how much time and money you should invest in video to promote your business.
83% of video marketers say video has helped generate leads. (Wyzowl, 2020) - Leads are important. And this stat isn’t wishy-washy. It would be nice to see on average how many leads per video. How much time and money went into the video etc.
This is an easily trackable marketing tactic. How you track it depends on where you place the video. For example:
● On Youtube - a quiz could be linked after the video
● On Facebook - a link to a free downloadable e-book or guide
● On your website - a contact form pop-up near the end of the video
Engagement rate stays high between 40-53% for videos up to 30 minutes. For videos 30-60 minutes, it drops to 26% then to 13% for videos over an hour. (Wistia 2021) - No shocker here as attention spans continue to drop. Plus, unlimited amounts of videos are available to grab our attention. Whether for business or entertainment.
On that note, many businesses are adding an element of entertainment to business videos. It’s not right for every business, but if the goal is keeping a potential client’s attention it is worth considering.
Regardless, the viewers need a reason to watch. What’s in it for them?
If you’ve been selling appliances for 20 years, you might think you can show the customers a good deal and they will be sold. But if you’re using video, what will keep them watching long enough to realize you have that good deal?
What’s in it for them?
The YouTube audience spans multiple age groups, with 49% of U.S. users over the age of 65. (Hubspot) - Stats like this are helpful if you sell products and services for certain age groups. Do keep in mind this though. Every demographic is using Youtube!
You can reach them all if you understand how to use the YouTube ad system effectively. Or if you can grow your viewer base organically with how-to content, industry news, or infotainment.
Now let’s look at paid advertising.
Small Business Online Ads
One of the complaints you may have heard or have even made:
That no one is seeing the content you post online. And that’s a hard pill to swallow when you take time to write a blog to use on your website. Or do 25 hours of video tutorials that don’t lead to leads.
With online ads, your content will be seen. Now, we could discuss bots and click farms that click your ads but have no intention of buying. But that’s a topic for another time.
Ads are trackable and easy to test on a small scale.
They are not as affordable as they once were. But those willing to test for a few months can give themselves momentum that they weren’t getting with organic posts.
The average cost-per-click in the home improvement industry is $6.40 → the most expensive home improvement industry keyword CPC is $320! (HubSpot via Ahrefs and WordStream, 2020) - Depending on what your company sells, advertising online can be super expensive.
It’s all about your competition. The more people trying to sell cabinets online, for example, the more the keyword “cabinet” will cost in an ad.
If you’re selling pencil sharpeners, the competition is bound to be quite low. Because few shoppers are looking for pencil sharpeners, in case you haven’t noticed.
By using Google Ads for mobile advertising, Williams Sonoma saw a 70% increase in mobile sales. (Google, 2020) - That company was founded in 1956 so they have done some updating with their ads.
Can your company replicate such a big boost in sales? Well, we don’t know what their ad spend was or how long it took to get that 70% increase.
That said, what if testing mobile ads led to a ten percent bump in your sales? What would that lead to ten years from now?
Key question because mobile phones are not going to be used less in ten years, right? So we have to imagine testing the waters now is wise.
We should also think outside the box though. There are still ways to advertise offline. Even online without getting involved with Google or Facebook.
● Paper newspapers still exist despite reports of their total extinction
● Postcards and direct mail still work (physical mail is kept by the recipient on average 17 days ~RetailWire)
● Paid ads negotiated directly with other website owners - ie. an insurance agent pays to place an ad on an accountant’s blog, podcast, or YouTube channel
Sales are where the rubber meets the road. Especially if you’re selling tires.
Marketing, brand awareness, customer journeys - these all should add up to sales. And when they don’t, that is a major problem whether you’re selling tires, wires, or running an IT service.
So let’s look at three key sales stats from the Hubspot report.
65% of sales professionals use a CRM, and 97% consider sales technology "very important" or "important." (LinkedIn, 2020)
35% of salespeople say seasonality is the key reason they're most successful during certain periods yearly. 26% credit understanding industry trends as a major influence on success. (Pipedrive, 2020)
Salespeople active on social media report 45% more sales opportunities. (LinkedIn, 2020)
We agree that technology is very important. How else can small businesses keep up these days? We need some tech tools just to help manage other technology that can be overwhelming.
That’s why companies use CRM software (customer relationship management) especially if their customer or client list is in the hundreds and beyond. How else do you think your dentist remembers your kid is in third grade and when your birthday is?
Stat #2 could be debated. While salespeople make their money by knowing their customers and the market very well, other factors are in play with why certain products do well at different times.
#3 makes sense, right? Before social media, a sales professional who got out and networked more was going to have more sales opportunities. Using social media to keep their face familiar and their brand top of mind naturally helps with sales.
The one tactic we saw over and over with social media though? If you have clear goals, that makes your time on these platforms much more efficient and effective for your business.
It is so easy to get sucked into time-wasting activities on any social platform.
You plan ten minutes of “mingling” with your followers and an hour later you’re reading political posts, giggling at memes, and looking up sports memorabilia on Facebook Marketplace for no good reason!
You know as well as we do that small businesses need all the information they can get to stay competitive these days. Stats, facts, and business trends are part of being in business.
With the flood of data available today, keeping up with it all is a daunting task. Not only reading through all those figures, but understanding them. Plus, investigating the meaning behind some of the data takes additional time.
Hopefully, this article shines a light on new info that helps you boost your bottom line. And gives you new perspectives on all the future stats and facts that you come across.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or strategies may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.
This material was prepared for Eric Powers use.