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Small business owners and decision makers are fairly optimistic about revenue projections, with 92.5% expecting their revenue to be flat or up in 2013, according to the latest "Small Business Marketing Forecast" by Ad-ology Research (MarketingForecast.com).
This annual study, now in its fifth year, also reveals that small business decision makers are investing their revenue back into advertising and marketing. 30.5% of SMBs who spend more than $1,000 on advertising plan to spend more in 2013 than they did in 2012.
"For the third consecutive year, more than half of all small businesses are confident that their sales will increase," says C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. "It’s also the third year in a row where more than 90% of small businesses say their advertising budget will remain flat or increase."
Approximately 20.5% of small businesses plan to increase their ad spend on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Most SMBs, however, have not yet adopted methods like promoted postings, sponsored tweets and social games/contests.
More than half of small business advertisers say they market to their customers on a 1-to-1 basis. It stands to reason then that direct response and email marketing will take the largest share of many small business budgets in 2013.
Of the small businesses that use email marketing, many are using it heavily. 19.1% sent out email marketing messages 11 times or more in the past 12 months, and 9.1% have sent out 26 or more emails over the past year. Constant Contact and MailChimp are currently the most popular email marketing services for small businesses.
"Mobile marketing will be increasingly important to small businesses in 2013," Smith says. "30.5% of SMBs will use mobile advertising, apps or texting as part of their advertising due in part to its ability to geo-target potential customers."
Other forms of digital marketing will continue to grow in popularity among SMBs:
23.4% of small businesses plan to increase their budget for website development
Optimizing their sites for search engines is a priority, with 20.5% planning for this activity in 2013. Although most small businesses don't currently take advantage of online/mobile video, 12.2% indicate they plan to spend more money and/or time on the medium in 2013
Marketing through daily deals, which as recently as a year ago was thought to be a very effective way for SMBs to advertise, has sharply declined. In fact, just 18% of small businesses plan to use firms like Groupon or Living Social as a way to advertise in 2013. That’s a drop of 67.7% in 12 months.