10 of the Best Small Business Marketing Studies Published This Year
Small businesses are demanding; every business owner knows this. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and focus to get a business off the ground, and then it takes even more energy and focus to keep it running.
While focus is great, working in the trenches can limit our vision after awhile. It’s good to step back now and then to look at the larger picture.
Of course, you can—and should—connect with other business owners one-on-one, but it’s also good to step back even further and see how entire groups of small business owners are faring. That’s the benefit of small business surveys. These high-level snapshots can show where you stand compared to your peers, and what strategies and tactics are working best for them.
So take a look below—there are a ton of insights here. Hopefully, you’ll find some reassurance that your business is on the right track. And who knows . . . maybe you’re even ahead of the game.
Yelp’s “Small Business Pulse”
This second annual survey of 1,100 businesses reveals the same thing that almost every other small business survey has found this year: Small businesses are optimistic about the future.
Yelp reports that nearly 90% of survey respondents “expect their business’s revenue will grow in 2017 by an average of 31%.”
Yelp asked small business owners what they think President Trump’s top priorities should be (No. 1 is reducing the regulatory burden for small businesses), and their top challenges for the coming year. The survey also found out how business owners collect feedback from their customers.
Endurance International Group’s “Move Over Main Street: Home Is Where The Business Is”
This survey slants towards smaller businesses, aka “microbusinesses.” According to the results, 90% of these types of small business owners work from home at least some of the time.
Endurance found that while time management is one of the biggest challenges facing people who work from home, 62% of respondents say they actually get more done when they work outside of the office. The survey also quizzed small business owners on:
- What they would outsource if they could
- Social media platforms they liked most
- Marketing tactics they believed were most likely to help them grow their business
WASP Barcode Technologies’ “State of Small Business Report”
This survey/infographic of 1,100 U.S. small business owners is published by my company, and it covers almost every aspect of running a business, including:
- What near-term growth small businesses expect.
- What a small business’s top challenges are.
- Whether small businesses are hiring, and how many people they’re hiring.
- Information on marketing goals, strategies and most-used tactics.
- How small businesses use their websites.
- Whether small businesses track assets, and if so, which systems are used for tracking those assets
Vistaprint’s “Small Business Consumer Expectations Report”
Have you updated your website lately? Like within the last month? Vistaprint’s survey really drives home how important an updated website is.
Of the consumers Vistaprint surveyed, 49.7% say the No. 1 thing that leaves them with a bad impression of a small business website is “outdated contact information.” So what qualifies as “outdated”? It depends on the customer, but 41.6% of respondents said that anything more than a month is outdated.
Oh yeah, and 59.8% of those consumers said that a bad impression makes them less likely to purchase.
Drip’s “2017 Entrepreneurship Data Report”
Drip’s survey asks things like:
- Where do you get the majority of your new customers? 49.8% said “word of mouth.”
- How important is digital marketing to your business? 28.4% said they don’t do any digital marketing.
- What’s your favorite marketing tool or tactic? Word of mouth won, followed closely by Facebook.
Small business surveys by Clutch
Clutch has published three separate and excellent small business surveys so far in 2017: “Small Business Mobile Apps,” “How Small Business Marketing Can Succeed in 2017,” and “Small Business Websites in 2017.” But for the sake of brevity, I’m lumping them together.
Here are the key takeaways from these studies:
- 29% of all small businesses do not have a website.
- 41% of small businesses with revenues of less than $1 million a year have a website.
- 42% of all small businesses have a mobile app.
- 49% of small businesses plan to increase how much they spend on marketing and advertising.
Infusionsoft’s “2017 Small Business Marketing Trends Report”
This survey confirms what several older small business surveys have found. Namely:
- Small business owners are still not outsourcing their marketing; 49% of small business owners still do their own marketing. Compare that to the WASP survey (listed above), which found that only 14% of small businesses outsource marketing.
- Ironically, the top marketing challenge owners face is “finding time and resources for marketing.”
- 47% of owners don’t know if their marketing is effective.
- Social media is the favorite marketing tactic, followed by email marketing.
- Facebook is the most popular social media platform; 71.8% of small businesses surveyed use it, compared to only 36.5% for the runner-up, Twitter.
Street Fight’s “The Urban SMB Report”
Here’s a niche audience for you: small business owners in the Los Angeles area. And yet, Street Fight found just enough of them—241—to put together a survey.
There are plenty of interesting things in this study, but let’s focus on the issue of small business owners not outsourcing their marketing. Street Fight makes clear that this is a bad idea: The owners who outsource are least satisfied with their results.
Ascend2’s “2017 Digital Marketing Plans For Small And Medium Businesses”
This study is more focused on larger businesses than the other studies mentioned in this post; it’s a good example of what larger firms are doing. The survey’s most interesting chart would have to be the one about which marketing channels are most effective and most challenging to use.
G/O Digital’s “Consumers Love Local: Small Retailers Have the Edge”
This report offers another look at how consumers view small businesses and their marketing; it covers how consumers respond to discounts, websites, and online reviews. There are also a few questions about favoring local businesses over chains. The news is good on that front:
“55% of respondents shop at local retailers because they like to support their local community. Additionally, 38% of respondents shop at small e-commerce retailers over national retailers (Amazon, Nordstrom, Home Depot, etc.) online because they prefer to support small businesses.”
What do these surveys say about you?
Based on these surveys, if you’re a small business owner, here’s what I would guess about you:
- You’re doing your marketing yourself.
- You like social media marketing.
- You’ve got a very small marketing budget.
- You’ve got a website, but there’s way more you could be doing with it.
- Despite all that, you’re actually doing reasonably well, and you’re ready to invest in your business and your marketing.
Article and image(s) via All Business