At the beginning of 2016, experts across the board were unanimous in their calls for smaller businesses to start taking digital marketing more seriously. It’s not that last year represented a quantum leap in digital marketing or online business in general. Instead, it was simply a case of it becoming more and more apparent that too many smaller businesses were allowing themselves to fall behind. But while the advice was heeded by many, it seems that 2017 is going to be an even bigger year for digital marketing spending.
Specifically, the results of a new study suggests that a whopping 70% of small to medium-sized businesses have every intention of expanding their digital marketing budgets over the next 12 months. The study was carried out by GetResponse and seems to suggest that the overwhelming majority of small and medium-sized businesses will be investing more heavily in digital marketing going forwards.
Along with speaking to more than 200 business leaders in the SME sector about their intentions for digital marketing spending, they also went further to pinpoint exactly which channels are likely to see the heaviest investment over the coming year. Needless to say, the findings of the study were more than a little revealing.
First of all, when gauging how many of the participants said that their digital marketing budgets will “increase considerably” this year, a full 30% ticked the box. What’s more, a further 40% stated that their digital marketing budgets will “increase somewhat” throughout 2017. By contrast, just 28% of the businesses included in the study said that they intended to spend exactly the same on digital marketing this year as in 2016. Likewise, just 2% indicated their intention to spend less on digital marketing over the coming year.
“Digital marketing is vital for SMBs and our survey numbers bear that out,” commented Simon Grabowski, GetResponse CEO and Founder. “Marketers are investing accordingly, given the substantial return on investment delivered through web-based campaigns.”
In terms of where exactly this additional money will be focused, it became clear that e-mail, mobile and social media will represent the key channels of interest for most SMEs this year. Social media in particular seems to have captured the interests of smaller to medium-sized businesses, with 59% of those polled stating that social networks will play a key role in their digital marketing expansion efforts. After this, the second channel of greatest importance to SMEs proved to be mobile – businesses at all levels focusing more intensively on mobile markets than ever before. E-mail marketing also scored an impressively high 42%.
If nothing else, all of the above should represents an important wake-up call for anyone in the SME sector that has not yet given thought to their own digital marketing intentions for the year ahead. It’s one thing to allow things to keep ticking over as they are, but given the way in which the vast majority intend to step things up, now is not the time to risk being left behind by cutting corners on digital marketing investment.