The SMB Marketing Mix Is Social, Email and SEO — in That Order

SMB bootcamp

I’ve generated numerous small business marketing surveys over the years and they seem to be fairly consistent. However I continue to be fascinated by the state of SMB awareness and adoption of different marketing channels.

Before the LSA’s recent SMB Digital Bootcamp in LA we surveyed the 100+ local businesses that had registered to get a sense of their sophistication and their existing marketing tactics. There was a wide range of sophistication levels in the audience but about two-thirds were DIY practitioners.

We had just under 50 responses to the survey. Below is the array of marketing channels used by this audience. It’s a bit difficult to read but the top three channels used in order are: 1) social 2) email and 3) SEO.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 8.10.25 AM

We then asked what were the three most effective channels from their point of view. Below are their answers. They’re clearly expressing lower levels of satisfaction vs. usage. However the top three tactics or channels are the same: social, email and SEO.

Interestingly in the effectiveness chart below paid search is not as far behind SEO as it is in the usage graphic above. Another observation: blogging and content marketing are fairly widely used but not thought to be particularly effective. Same with online yellow pages.

Video is also used but not regarded as very effective (not in the top three). I suspect the gap between usage and satisfaction/effectiveness is largely a function of ROI — not seeing it clearly or not understanding how to properly evaluate these channels.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 5.17.19 PM

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