Small Business Marketing Statistics and Trends (2021)

Updated on March 17, 2021

Overview: Small Business Marketing Statistics & Trends

  1. 41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue.
  2. 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions.
  3. 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy.
  4. 81% of shoppers research online before purchasing.
  5. 60% of consumers begin their product research with a search engine before heading to a particular website.
  6. 75% of local-intent mobile searches result in offline store visits within 24 hours.
  7. 11% of small businesses that don’t have a website don’t see value in it.
  8. 92% of business owners believe that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy.
  9. Customers who engage with a business on social media spend up to 40% more with them in the long term.
  10. 41% of brick-and-mortar buyers read reviews before making a purchase.
  11. Prior online research led to 13% greater in-store spending among omnichannel shoppers. 
  12. Within six months after an omnichannel shopping experience, these customers logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores.
  13. 47% of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing.
  14. 1 in 5 small businesses doesn’t utilize digital marketing.
  15. 1 in 10 small businesses doesn’t invest in any kind of marketing.
  16. 64% of small businesses have a website.
  17. 35% of small businesses without a website believe they are too small to have one.
  18. The top two channels for customer research are online reviews at 55% and company websites at 47%. 
  19. 92% of reviews that consumers shared online were positive.
  20. 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience.
  21. Nearly 90% of marketers say social marketing efforts have increased their business’s exposure.
  22. At 54% use, email is the top marketing tool used by small businesses.
  23. Email marketing’s average ROI is 122%.
  24. 46% of all Google searches have local intent.
  25. 47% of small business owners run marketing entirely on their own.
  26. Almost half of small businesses spend less than two hours per week on marketing efforts.
  27. 75% of small business owners think that internet marketing is very effective or effective for attracting new customers.
  28. 61% of marketers say their biggest challenges are generating traffic and leads.

 

Small business marketing statistics are morphing and updating as quickly as the technologies and people that define these numbers. The technologies that automate small business marketing are shifting, sure. But with them shift consumer preferences and business know-how.

As a result, small business marketing statistics have come to envelope many different facets—from search engine data, to consumer behavior, even to marketer behavior, small business marketing stats tell a wide-reaching, diverse story. And, because of this, it’s difficult to sift through them all. For this very reason, we’ve sifted through them all for you and chosen 28 of the most interesting and actionable small business marketing statistics of 2020:

28 Small Business Marketing Statistics You Need to Know

Whether you’re a freelance marketer hoping to keep on top of trends, a small business owner handling their own marketing, a consumer hoping to become more marketing literate, or anything in between, small business marketing statistics offer valuable insight.

Looking into these numbers on small business marketing to get an idea of the ins and outs of what it takes to effectively market a product or service when you don’t have the brand recognition that larger businesses are able to rely on.

Here are the 28 most useful, illuminating small business marketing statistics of 2020:

1. 41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue.

Though social media is often only valued for its brand-awareness capacities, many small businesses rely on social media to drive revenue. In fact, according to Vendasta, only 3% more small businesses—44%—rely on social media to generate brand awareness. [1] Based on these numbers, small business marketing through social media not only generates the amorphous value of brand recognition, it also generates cold, hard cash. Small business owners and marketers alike should note this shifting perspective on social media marketing.

2. 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions.

Relatedly, just under a quarter of consumers rely on information they access through social media to guide their purchasing decisions. Before purchasing a product or service, shoppers will research comments and reviews on social media. Moreover, a solid 60% of consumers engage through social media with brands that they’ve bought from previously. [2] These small business marketing statistics indicate that social media marketing is not only crucial for acquiring new customers, it’s also necessary for keeping existing customers happy.

3. 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy.

Based off of these previous small business marketing statistics, it should be to no one’s surprise that almost all small businesses report using social media in their marketing strategy. [3] Exactly 96% of small businesses involve social media in their marketing strategy in some form or fashion. For instance, there are over 60 million active business pages on Facebook. [4] So, if you’re looking for a small business online, you’ll almost certainly be able to find them on at least one social media platform, if not all social media platforms.

4. 81% of shoppers research online before purchasing.

More generally, shoppers research online pretty unfailingly before they make a purchase. Whether they purchase online or in-store, 81% of shoppers will research the product or service online before making a purchase. This means that more than a quarter of customers are gaining valuable context through pricing, reviews, and general business information on the web. [5] Be sure that the information they find about your business will make them want to move forward with a purchase rather than dissuade them from doing business with you.

5. 60% of consumers begin their product research with a search engine before heading to a particular website.

Even more, over half of consumers will start their research on a search engine. Meaning that, most of the time, customer research will be dictated by the first few results that they come across for a given search term. [5]

Whether they’re searching for your business specifically, or they’re doing a general product or service search will depend on brand awareness and the user’s intent. However, either way, putting SEO best practices to use for both of these instances will help you make the most of consumer’s search engine research habits.

6. 75% of local-intent mobile searches result in offline store visits within 24 hours.

Great news for brick-and-mortar small businesses: Three-quarters of local-intent mobile searches will result in the searcher visiting a local business within 24 hours. Even better news? 30% of these visits end with a purchase. [6] 

This local-specific search engine research seems to bridge a gap between online research and in-store visits. The valuable information that local results provide—like store hours, addresses, and phone numbers, to name just a few—makes in-store shopping easier. And, thus it connects high-intent searchers with local businesses that match their needs.

7. 11% of small businesses that don’t have a website don’t see value in it.

Not everyone has bought into digital marketing, though—of all the businesses that don’t have a website, 11% abstain intentionally. A poll found that these select but still very present small business owners simply don’t see the value in having a website for their small business. [7] However strange this might sound to the ears of a person who has landed on this page, it’s worthwhile to consider. Plus, you can extrapolate from this statistic that 89% of polled small business owners—whether they have a website or not—believe that having a small business website is a worthwhile endeavor.

8. 92% of business owners believe that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy.

In fact, another poll found that 92% of business owners consider having a website to be the most effective digital marketing strategy. [8] It makes sense that almost every polled small business owner agreed that having a website is the top strategy for digital marketing. Without a landing page for your small business, you can’t exactly direct users anywhere.

Targeted ads require a business URL. SEO best practices are ultimately made to lead searchers to a specific website. Email marketing needs a website to send recipients to. Creating a solid small business website is the gate that will open up the rest of the digital marketing world.

9. Customers who engage with a business on social media spend up to 40% more with them in the long term.

According to results from study run by Bain, customers who have engaged with a business on social media spend 20% to 40% more money with that business in the long term than other customers. They also found that these customers are also more likely to demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to the companies they’ve interacted with through social media. [9]

Overall, social media marketing—and the direct communication it allows—elicits customer loyalty that other forms of small business marketing struggle to deliver.

10. 41% of brick-and-mortar buyers read reviews before making a purchase.

Brick-and-mortar establishments need to pay attention to online reviews just as much as online businesses. In fact, 41% of consumers who make a purchase at a brick-and-mortar business will read online reviews before pulling the trigger. [10] Of the 81% of consumers who are researching online before making a purchase, just over half of them are consulting reviews as one of their sources. Make sure your potential customers like what they see. Though you can’t always control what online reviews you receive, be sure to always respond in a respectful and productive manner, and don’t let a review, positive or negative, go unanswered.

11. Prior online research led to 13% greater in-store spending among omnichannel shoppers.

Once a consumer has done their research on your business and decided to make a purchase with you, you’re better off for that initial vetting. Small business marketing statistics show that customers who researched your business online before making an in-store purchase (referred to as omnichannel shoppers) spend 13% more in-store than other shoppers. [11]

So, once a customer has decided that the information they found online about your business is up to their standards, they’re likely to spend more because of that information.

12. Within six months after an omnichannel shopping experience, these customers logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the retailer’s stores.

Moreover, omnichannel customers that researched your business online before making an in-store purchase or more likely to continue shopping with your business. Omnichannel customers logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the same retailer’s stores than other customers in the six months that followed their initial omnichannel experience. [11]

So, not only will these customers spend more in their initial visit to your business, they will also come back for more. The moral of this story? Make sure your business’s online presence will get you in the door with omnichannel shoppers—they’re more loyal and spend more than customers who don’t do their research.

13. 47% of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing.

Whether you can believe it or not, almost half of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing in a year. That means that most small businesses are working with miniscule budgets for their online marketing. Even more, only 25% of business spend $10,001 to $100,000 a year on digital marketing, and a scant 26% of business spend over $100,000 a year on digital marketing. [17]

The number of businesses working with low budgets for their digital marketing strategies indicates a dearth in resources for social media, email, and search engine marketing. Even building and maintaining a company website would fall under digital marketing spend—and most businesses are putting small budgets towards this crucial endeavor.

14. 1 in 5 small businesses doesn’t utilize digital marketing.

Even worse? A fifth of small businesses aren’t utilizing digital marketing at all. That means 20% of small businesses aren’t taking advantage of search engine, email, or social media marketing. Even more, 20% of small businesses don’t have a website. Basically, one in five small businesses aren’t online at all. [3]

Given the importance of omnichannel shopping for brick-and-mortar stores, these small businesses are seriously missing out on a marketing phenomenon. Relying solely on non-digital marketing is a bold move in 2020—be sure you know what you’re missing out on before you decide to stick with billboards and newspaper ads forever.

15. 1 in 10 small businesses doesn’t invest in any kind of marketing.

Perhaps the most shocking of all, a tenth of small businesses don’t invest in marketing of any kind. That’s right—there are 10% of small businesses out there that not only steer clear of digital marketing, but also avoid all other forms of non-digital marketing, as well. [3] These small businesses likely rely on word-of-mouth and referrals to reach customers. Otherwise, these marketing-free businesses would have no customers to serve.

16. 64% of small businesses have a website.

Yet another shocking small business marketing statistic? Only a little over a third of small businesses have a website. 64% of small businesses have a website, which means 36% of small businesses don’t. [3] This can be a shocking statistic to hear for tech-savvy, digital-forward small businesses. Many small firms either don’t have the resources to create a website or have decided not to make one.

17. 35% of small businesses without a website believe they are too small to have one.

And those businesses without websites each have a specific reason for not having one. The most common reasons that small businesses without websites gave for not having one was that they believe their business was too small to merit a website. 

Other reasons for not having a small business website include:

  • 31% of small businesses use social media instead of having a website
  • 26% of small businesses believe their customers are not online
  • 25% of small businesses lack technical knowledge
  • 23% of small businesses believe it is not relevant to their business or industry
  • 22% of small businesses lack human and/or financial resources
  • 21% of small businesses use a mobile app instead of a website
  • 19% of small businesses owners never got around to it
  • 11% of small businesses don’t see value in it

Whether they’re lacking necessary resources or have consciously decided not to create one, a third of small businesses don’t have an official website. [3]

The top two channels for customer research are online reviews at 55% and company websites at 47%.

And, to be sure, small business websites are important. Remember how we said that customers who do research before shopping, omnichannel customers, are good, loyal customers? Well, omnichannel shoppers mostly use online reviews and—you guessed it—business websites. A poll found that 55% of customers who research businesses prior to shopping consulted online reviews. Business websites were a close second as the most-referenced resource, with 47% of customers using them in their omnichannel research. [12]

19. 92% of small business reviews that consumers shared online were positive.

Luckily for small businesses, though, 92% of small business reviews that polled consumers shared online were positive reviews. Because reviews are so crucial for omnichannel shopping experiences, this small business marketing statistic is auspicious. [12]

Because small business customers tend to leave positive reviews, don’t be afraid to ask your customers to review your site. Of course, every review isn’t guaranteed to be five-star, two thumbs way up. But most of them will likely be positive, based off of this statistic. Your chances for good reviews are even better if you emphasize customer service.

20. 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience.

More generally, online experiences as a whole get customers through the doors of brick-and-mortar businesses. 91% of consumers report having visited a physical store because of an online experience. [3]

Whether a consumer read an online article about the business, communicated with the business through social media, or found the business through a search engine, online experiences are effective enough to get customers up and into small businesses for in-store shopping experiences.

21. Nearly 90% of marketers say social marketing efforts have increased their business’s exposure.

Moreover, social media marketing contributes majorly to online interactions as a whole. In fact, right around 90% of marketers say that their social media marketing efforts have increased their business’s exposure. [3]

As a direct, unpaid line to customers, social media is endlessly valuable for small business marketers. Though a business might not have the budget to pay for expensive ads or the resources to rank #1 for every pertinent keyword, they can always set up a social media account and interact with customers that way. Investing in social media efforts will increase your small business’s exposure and lead to more and more interactions with potential customers which, as we’ve learned, can be highly effective for getting them through your business’s door.

22. At 54% use, email is the top marketing tool used by small businesses.

Of all of the marketing channels out there, email is the top marketing tool for small businesses. At 54% use, email marketing beats out even websites, which, according to this poll, have 51% use. Coming in at a close third is social media marketing, with 48% small business use.

It’s no coincidence that email and social media marketing made it into the top three—as essentially free sources of marketing, these tools are ideal for small businesses on a tight budget. That websites round into second place, despite requiring significant financial investment, is an indication of how crucial they are for small business marketing in this day and age. [3]

23. Email marketing’s average ROI is 122%.

And it’s no surprise that email marketing is so widely used among small businesses. Email marketing renders the highest average return on investment of all marketing channels at 122%. That’s more than four times higher than the ROI for social and paid marketing. [13] Overall, because small business marketers are able to access more bang for their buck through email marketing, they rely on it more than any other channel.

24. 46% of all Google searches have local intent.

Remember when we mentioned how quickly and efficiently local intent searches converted researchers into in-store customers? Well, there’s even more good news for brick-and-mortars stores. Almost half of all Google searches have local intent. Yep—46% of every search that goes into Google indicates that the searcher wants to access information about something in their community. [3]

Is your business’s website indexed for local results? If not, be sure to request indexing from Google so that you can harness this high-converting phenomenon for your small business.

25. 47% of small business owners run marketing entirely on their own.

Unsurprisingly, almost half of all small business owners are running their marketing efforts entirely on their own. Small business owners inevitably end up wearing too many hats. As a result, they can often end up operating out of their wheelhouse. Though some of the 47% of small business owners who run their own marketing likely have previous marketing experience, most of them probably aren’t professional marketers. [3] As a result, small businesses aren’t marketing as well as they could be if they had the resources to hire a professional marketer.

26. Almost half of small businesses spend less than two hours per week on marketing efforts.

Relatedly, because many small business owners are running their marketing on their own, among a thousand other things, many small businesses aren’t able to dedicate the time necessary for running effective marketing campaigns. In fact, almost half of small businesses spend less than two hours a week on marketing efforts. [14]

27. 75% of small business owners think that internet marketing is very effective or effective for attracting new customers.

Despite the difficulties that surround digital marketing—and the many resources it requires—75% of small businesses owners think it’s at least effective (if not very effective) for attracting new customers. [15] And the numbers buttress this general perception of online marketing. As the previous small business marketing statistics we’ve highlighted prove, digital marketing is a juggernaut for both online and brick-and-mortar small businesses.

28. 61% of marketers say their biggest challenges are generating traffic and leads.

Overall, a majority of marketers say that their biggest challenges are generating traffic and leads. Other, less common top challenges for marketers include:

  • 39%: Proving ROI of marketing activities
  • 27%: Securing enough budget 
  • 25%: Website management
  • 24%: Identifying the appropriate marketing technologies
  • 23%: Training marketing teams
  • 22%: Hiring top talent
  • 20%: Targeting content for an international audience
  • 8%: Finding an executive sponsor
  • Other: 4% [16]

Small Business Marketing Statistics: The Bottom Line

There you have it—28 of the freshest, most exciting statistics on small business marketing. Now that you’re familiar with the small business marketing landscape. What are your next moves? Consider taking the omnichannel shopping phenomenon head-on. Polish up your reviews and website if you’re a brick-and-mortar business, or try offering an in-person experience if you primarily operate online. Either way, take these small business marketing statistics with you as you move forward so that your strategies can be as data-driven as possible.

References:

  1. https://www.vendasta.com/blog/163-stunning-social-media-stats-to-savor#generalstats
  2. http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/social-media-marketing/3-out-of-4-consumers-consult-social-media-before-buying/1659
  3. https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/29-small-business-digital-marketing-statistics
  4. https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/facebook-statistics/
  5. https://minewhat.com/blog/motivate-shoppers-who-research-online-to-buy/
  6. https://www.acquisio.com/blog/local/75-local-searches-store-visits/
  7. https://topdigital.agency/2019-small-business-website-statistics-you-need-to-know-to-stay-ahead-of-the-digital-curve/
  8. https://learn.g2.com/small-business-statistics
  9. http://www2.bain.com/Images/BAIN_BRIEF_Putting_social_media_to_work.pdf
  10. https://www.bazaarvoice.com/resources/the-robo-economy-infographic/
  11. https://hbr.org/2017/01/a-study-of-46000-shoppers-shows-that-omnichannel-retailing-works
  12. https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2017/01/the-truth-about-online-consumers.pdf
  13. https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/303219/roi-means-email-beats-social-and-paid-search-every.html
  14. https://www.ironpaper.com/webintel/articles/small-business-marketing-trends-for-2018-10-stats-and-insights/
  15. https://www.business2community.com/infographics/online-marketing-statistics-and-trends-for-small-businesses-you-cant-ignore-infographic-01372677#klZ4sb3aU2pe1fEQ.97
  16. https://www.stateofinbound.com/
  17. https://clutch.co/agencies/digital/resources/small-business-digital-marketing-survey-2018

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Maddie Shepherd
Contributing Writer at Fundera

Maddie Shepherd

Maddie Shepherd is a former Fundera senior staff writer and current contributing writer for Fundera. 

Maddie has an extensive knowledge of business credit cards, accounting tools, and merchant services, but specializes in small business financing advice. She has reviewed and analyzed dozens of financial tools and providers, helping business owners make better financial decisions. 

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