New Manta Survey Reveals Trends in Small Business Marketing

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Manta’s Semi-Annual Wellness Index explores where small business owners plan to spend marketing dollars in 2017

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“As our latest Wellness Index shows, small business owners have come a long way in terms of marketing acumen, but they still lack the bandwidth and resources needed to make a true splash in their local markets,” said Sara Oberst, Manta’s VP of Marketing

Manta, the largest online resource dedicated to small business, today released its Semi-Annual Wellness Index, which outlines small business marketing trends for 2017. In two separate polls conducted in November, Manta surveyed small business owners about their marketing budgets, whether they have formal marketing plans, their goals for marketing in the new year, and more.

“As our latest Wellness Index shows, small business owners have come a long way in terms of marketing acumen, but they still lack the bandwidth and resources needed to make a true splash in their local markets,” said Sara Oberst, Manta’s VP of Marketing. “At Manta, we understand that small business owners often wear multiple hats, leaving little to no time for marketing initiatives. On the other hand, marketing is a vital practice for building a reputable brand and driving leads, so 2017 will be an opportune time for small businesses to develop and execute on more comprehensive marketing strategies.”

Though marketing is key to attracting new customers and retaining loyal business, many small business owners don’t have a formal marketing plan in place. According to a Manta poll of 1,115 small business owners, less than half (49 percent) have devised a formal marketing plan — a detailed strategy that can reveal target customers, key marketing channels and local reach. Lack of budget (51 percent), knowledge (18 percent) and time to dedicate to marketing (15 percent) are among small business owners’ top barriers to crafting a marketing strategy.

When armed with a marketing plan, 70 percent of small business owners said the main goal is to expand their business while another 62 percent aim to increase sales through marketing efforts. Just under half (48 percent) of small business owners include goals like increase brand awareness, attract new customers, engage with current customers and launch new products or services in their marketing plans.

Allocating budget to earned, paid and owned marketing campaigns is crucial to achieving these goals, and Manta’s poll found that nearly 70 percent of small business owners have set marketing budgets. Of those with a budget, many (47 percent) spent $4,000 or more marketing dollars in 2016. Conversely, another 29 percent spent less than $1,000 on marketing last year. At this point, most small business owners have their budgets squared away for 2017, and the same Manta poll found that most don’t have plans to adjust their current marketing budgets this year.

In a separate Manta poll of 2,773 small business owners, Manta assessed where exactly small businesses devote their marketing budgets. For the most part, small businesses rely on strategies like social media (45 percent), public relations (31 percent), display advertising (24 percent) and mobile marketing (21 percent) to market their businesses. With just 6 percent of small business owners using tactics like SEO, PPC and content marketing, many businesses are missing out on differentiating themselves from competitors with digital marketing.

“With 65 percent of respondents planning to implement social media marketing in 2017, we were thrilled to see that small business owners understand how powerful those platforms can be in expanding their footprints and interacting with customers,” said Oberst. “This year, small businesses can elevate their presence among potential customers by leveraging digital marketing and social channels. As more consumers flock to on-demand apps and social media to engage with businesses, small businesses need to follow suit by stepping up their marketing games.”

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About Manta
Manta empowers small business owners to succeed on their own terms by helping them stand out, connect with customers and grow their companies. Our solutions include a small business directory with millions of unique monthly visitors, valuable content and a suite of products to manage critical business needs. We strive to inform and inspire through learning opportunities, proprietary research, and a robust online community for dialogue and collaboration. Thousands of business owners join Manta each month. Visit manta.com to learn why.

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Kaitlin Mansour
Walker Sands Communications
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