Last month Yelp released the results of a survey of 901 of its own small business members. I missed the release at the time so I’m circling back to it.
Among other things, the survey asks questions about 2016 revenue expectations. It also wants to know which candidates respondents are likely to support and so on. I’ll skip those questions and responses.
Below are the questions and answers that caught my attention. It should be emphasized that these respondents are not randomly selected SMBs; they’re Yelp members and so perhaps more digitally savvy than average.
Q: Which of the following, if any, do you currently use when marketing your business?
- Social media platforms — 75%
- Consumer review platforms — 48%
- Search engine advertising — 48%
- Customer relationship management tools — 32%
- None of these — 9%
Comment: the number of businesses with a social media presence (probably Facebook) far exceed the number doing SEM. However this question did not ask specifically about social media advertising.
Q: How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement – digital marketing has helped my business acquire new customers.
- Agree strongly — 43%
- Agree somewhat — 42%
- Disagree somewhat — 9%
- Disagree strongly — 6%
Comment: 85% of respondents believe that digital marketing is beneficial vs. 15% who do not. No surprise here.
Q: In which of the following ways, if any, is digital technology helping your business succeed?
- It helps me attract new customers — 71%
- It helps me build relationships with existing customers — 43%
- It provides access to real-time customer feedback — 35%
- It helps me grow my business efficiently — 32%
- It provides a cost-effective way to manage non-core elements of my business, such as accounting — 21%
- Other — 1%
- None of these — 11%
Comment: The majority appear to believe that digital media are most useful for new customer acquisition. However most SMBs probably get the bulk of their revenues from existing customers. A meaningful minority (43%) do see digital marketing as a tool to build and strengthen existing customer relationships. But a large group of these respondents don’t apparently recognize the ways that digital tools can help with loyalty and existing customer frequency.
Q: Which of the following is the biggest advantage of running a small business?
- Doing something I love — 31%
- Having the flexibility to work how I want — 21%
- Making a difference in my community and local economy — 19%
- Being my own boss — 16%
- Controlling my own financial destiny — 10%
- Other — 2%
Comment: Many people go into business for themselves for reasons that have to do more with lifestyle issues than making money. That proposition would seem to be validated by the hierarchy of responses above.
This raises the question about how much these businesses want to grow and how willing they are to spend on marketing or how critical they view marketing to be overall.
The majority of these respondents do seem to recognize the importance of digital media and marketing in general. Yet their degree of commitment to digital marketing is unclear. Someone may have a Facebook Page or claimed a Yelp profile but still not advertise.
Your thoughts? Anything jump out at you or that you find interesting here?