What we’ve been convincing businesses for several years is confirmed once again here, “For those looking to go beyond chatter though, search engine optimization and online local directories were the second and third most effective marketing channels for bringing in new leads and customers, followed by email marketing.”
Small businesses acknowledge that clients are critical to their success: In a March 2015 study by The Alternative Board (TAB), 48% of small-business owners (SBOs) worldwide said their customers drove their success—the No. 1 response when asked how to describe their company culture. As such, they’re putting a strong emphasis on driving new and repeat customers this year—and it’s stressing many out.
Leading Business Concerns Among US Small-Business Owners, March 2015 (% of respondents)
In a December 2014 study by Zogby Analytics for Xero, growing the customer base was the top 2015 business priority among US SBOs, cited by 62.2%.
However, SBOs are feeling the heat. In March 2015 research by Constant Contact, finding new customers was the leading business concern among US SBOs, cited by two-thirds. Retaining existing customers was also important, at 40%—the No. 3 response behind having enough time.
Spring 2015 research by Ebiquity for American Express looked at a different list of priorities and here, keeping current business and revenue sources was the No. 1 company priority cited by US SBOs, at 38%, followed by growing the business (34%).
When it comes to bringing in new business, word-of-mouth is still the most effective marketing channel for small and medium-sized businesses, cited by 28% polled in November 2014 by BrightLocal. For those looking to go beyond chatter though, search engine optimization and online local directories were the second and third most effective marketing channels for bringing in new leads and customers, followed by email marketing.