Digital Marketing a Top Priority for Small Business

Tight budgets aren’t stopping a majority of small business owners from investing in social media and digital marketing. New research has found that two-thirds of small business owners plan to invest as much or more in their digital-marketing efforts this year compared to last year.

Included in those efforts are improvements to websites, social media and online advertisements, small business owners said. A majority of business owners also said they will utilize email marketing — email blasts, in particular — in order to improve their presence.

In an attempt to improve social media efforts, small business owners are turning to LinkedIn. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they use LinkedIn in some way for their business — up 16 percent from last year. Facebook use among small businesses, on the other hand, decreased slightly over the past year. Additionally, use of location-based applications decreased in the past year.

Small business owners are also looking beyond social media and digital-marketing efforts. Seventy-one percent of small business owners said they are likely to increase their budgets for mobile marketing. Additionally, small business owners are looking to improve their word-of-mouth marketing efforts throughout the rest of the year. Eighty percent of business owners said they will use word-of-mouth tactics to improve their marketing and visibility. That number is even higher among businesses that have been operating for less than two years.

“United States small businesses see incredible value and opportunity in digital marketing and are clearly increasing their presence as a way to gain access to new customers,” said Cathy Martine, executive vice president at AT&T Small Business Solutions, which conducted the research. “With a variety of digital tools — such as email, websites and social media — coupled with the ability to both deliver and access them from mobile devices, small businesses are building new connections without borders.”

The research was based on the responses of 1,000 small businesses nationwide as a part of the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll.