What are small business marketing trends for 2018?

As this year closes and a new one begins, small business owners are seeking strategies that can help them remain competitive and relevant.  They are analyzing past tactics and campaigns and determining where and how to spend their marketing dollars.

Digital is absolutely a significant part of marketing budgets and in a multifaceted landscape, Small Business Owners are looking for direction and simplicity. Over 1,000 small business owners were surveyed to learn more about their priorities and challenges, and here are the top 5 insights.

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  1. Digital Marketing Success remains elusive to most small business owners. In fact, 46% don’t know if their marketing strategies work. 17% know their strategies aren’t working, and 37% say their marketing efforts are effective.
  2. 2018 is the year of social media marketing. 71% plan to use social media content to acquire customers, 75% will include Facebook in their social media strategy.
  3. Spending percentages for the top 3 digital marketing tools: 38% social media management, 30% SEO and digital ads, 24% website analytics
  4. Over a quarter of small business owners will try to get by in 2018 without spending more on digital marketing. So this means while 28% won’t increase their digital marketing budget, the vast majority will be increasing their digital spend this year.
  5. Biggest challenge for 2018: finding the time or resources for marketing. More than 1 in 5 small businesses report that their greatest challenge is finding the time to properly market their business.

I see enormous opportunities within this list. Starting from the top with the first insight, I find it unacceptable that 46% of small business owners don’t know if their marketing strategies are working. With the level of detail available in digital reports, owners should know exactly what is working for them. Reviewing monthly reports with clients and being a resource and partner is critical. Walking them through strategies and pointing out ROI is a major pathway to renewals. How do I know this? We at Vici are major believers in reviewing monthly reports and we are able to boast a 70% renewal rate. I feel there is a direct correlation here.

The second insight is not surprising, nor is the last, and I’m lumping them together on purpose. Why? Social marketing is crucial and effective, and it is also TIME consuming. If a major challenge is time and a major element is social, taking that burden off the client and running successful social campaigns is a massive opportunity.

As for insights 3 and 4 the opportunities are crystal clear. Digital budgets are rising, and the dollars are being applied to Social, Ads and SEO. This is a no brainer. Bringing these elements into all of your marketing conversations will allow you to determine needs and present solutions in all three of these categories.