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New Research Finds Websites a "Top Priority" for Small Businesses

Chandal Nolasco Da Silva
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What are your top marketing priorities for 2019? If you’re like most small business owners, it’s probably a tie between social media advertising and your website, followed by events and door-to-door promotions like direct mail and flyers

According to a new survey of 1,000 small businesses done by Brandmuscle in their “State of Marketing” report, those are the top priorities for small businesses this year. 

graph of marketing top priorities

Small Businesses Look to Invest in Digital Marketing 

It’s clear from the data that small business owners have plans to invest in digital marketing. This likely means updating their existing website or building a website, with email marketing and some limited paid search and display advertising mixed in. Social media advertising also came in as a top priority for small businesses, as 39% intend to increase their marketing budgets for this channel. 

how partners plan to adjust spending pie charts

The increases are interesting, but to put them in context, we need to know how much (on average) small businesses spend on marketing overall. Historically, investment in marketing tends to be a little lean for SMBs. Clutch found that about half of small businesses spent $10,000 or less on all their marketing combined. 

how much did small businesses spend on marketing in 2017 bar graph

If we lined that Clutch data up with the Brandmuscle report, we could do a “back of the napkin” rough estimate of how small business marketing budgets will be spent in 2019. The table below assumes a $10,000 budget and that the small business would allocate funds according to the priorities outlined in the Brandmuscle report:

table of small business 10K budget break down

Does this look like your marketing budget this year? Every business is different, so it doesn’t have to be a carbon copy. Focus on what’s worked for your business in the past, and experiment with new channels based on what’s feasible for your business. Think of the table above as a template. 

The table also shows how frugal small businesses must be with their limited marketing budgets. That said, you can make significant improvements to a company website no matter the size of your budget


Websites Become a Priority for Small Businesses

The best news from this survey is that small businesses are focusing on their websites. This finding is also backed up by several other surveys of small business marketing tactics. For example, Clutch also found that websites were a key marketing channel for small businesses. And it makes sense - your company’s website should be the hub for all your marketing activities.

most popular digital marketing channels for small businesses bar graph

The Website Features Your Customers Are Looking For

If you’re going to optimize your website this year, it might help to know which website features consumers value the most. Clutch did a survey about this a few months ago, and found out the following:

  • 94% of consumers say easy navigation is the most important website feature
  • 83% appreciate when a website looks attractive and up-to-date
  • Half of website users (50%) will leave a website and never come back if the content is irrelevant
  • People value visuals as much as they value product descriptions. 91% of respondents find both features useful
  • 67% of consumers say links to the company’s social media accounts are extremely or somewhat useful
  • Half of consumers (50%) say company blogs are useful
     

There are two other key features of websites that are a must: Mobile-friendliness and site speed. 

Mobile-friendliness matters because there’s now more internet traffic from mobile devices than from desktops. It matters even more because Google has now shifted over to their “mobile-first” index, which means they now prioritize mobile-friendliness over desktop friendliness. 

desktop vs mobile web visits US bar graph

And speed? If your site’s slow, people will leave. Google wants to give searchers the best experience possible, so if your site is too slow to deliver a positive experience, you can get dinged in the search results.

Google actually has a great new tool that will quantify what a slow site is costing you. Google’s Test My Site tool will ask you a few questions, run a speed test of your site, and then give you a concrete dollar amount of how much revenue you’re losing by having a slow website. That alone might be a great motivation for making website speed a top priority for 2019. 

google test my site tool screenshot

Conclusion

Small businesses are smart to be prioritizing their websites in 2019. All your marketing efforts should be tied to a central hub, and that central hub should be your website. 

Social media marketing (both organic and advertising) can play a role, too. This channel is good for attracting new customers and for staying top of mind with existing customers. 

Make sure to track your results from your marketing efforts. Marketing analytics may not be the most exciting topic in the world, but getting a good ROI from your marketing should always be a priority.



Image Credits

Feature Image: Unsplash / Kevin Bhagat
Image 1, 2: via BrandMuscle
Image 3, 4: via Clutch
Image 5: via Stone Temple Consulting
Image 6: via Google’s Test My Site tool

Chandal Nolasco da Silva author bio