Small Businesses Rely On Email - But Only Up To A Point, Survey Finds

Individual email accounts such as those on Gmail are the top means of storing contact information for small businesses, according to a new survey by Drip.  

Of 1,003 SMB owners polled by Drip, 30.9% store this data and use it to follow up with leads and customers. Another 9.4% store it with email marketing services such as MailChimp.

And Drip advises SMBs to start their conversion marketing by building their email list. 

However, email is not even mentioned in the list of marketing assets used by companies. Websites are the leading choice for 71.2%, followed by social media accounts (67.8%), digital ads (27.7%) and offline ads such as print, TV or mail (26.4%). Blogs, deployed by 21.9%, are at the bottom of the list, beating only “none of the above.”

Also, it’s clear that small businesses have a way to go in going digital. In answer to the question about storing contact information, 16.1% said that they don’t keep track of it. That was the second choice, after email.

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In addition, 15.0% use a different kind of offline system and 11.7% a CRM platform such as SalesForce. And 1.6% utilize a marketing automation tool like Marketo.

Their biggest challenges are turning contacts into visitors or customers (37.1%), capturing leads or subscribers (23%), getting web traffic (22%) and retaining customers (17.9%).

Perhaps the most discouraging news is that a mere 13.6 say that they get good results from collecting leads, subscribers or contact information online. Another 30.9% say that they gather it but that it doesn’t produce good results.

And over half – 55.5% -- don’t collect this data at all. But 26.3% would like to. Still, 19.3% have no plans to do so, and 9.9% don’t do it because they don’t have a web site.

Similarly, 28.7% don’t allow customers to make purchases, place or orders or book services on their web sites – and they’re not planning to. And 19% don’t but plan to.

On the positive side, 16.4% said yes, and that they get plenty of business from it. But back to the negative—23.5% allow sales, but gripe that it doesn’t bring in much business. Finally, 12.4% can’t do it because they don’t have a site.

SMB owners apparently need education about digital marketing, and to get engaged in it. Almost half spend under two hours a week on along with their team. Another quarter spends two to eight hours. Only 7.9% devote more than 24 hours to it, and 12.1% eight to 16 hours. And 5.9% spend 16 to 24 hours on marketing.

Worse, not all can define even common terms. Of owners surveyed, 39.% know what CRM is, and 53.7% a conversion rate. When it comes to marketing automation and the sales funnel, less than 40% can define either one. And a shocking 21.9% can define none of the above.

Asked to describe their return on investment, 39.3% said they weren’t sure. And 21.5% noted that it isn’t acceptable. In contrast, 33.7% find their ROI is acceptable, and 5.5% that it is extremely positive.  

And of those planning to use digital marketing in the next year, here are their goals:

  • Driving more sales – 28.6%
  • We won’t be using digital marketing – 16.2%
  • Collecting more leads or subscribers – 15.5%
  • Building brand awareness – 14.4%
  • Getting started with digital marketing – 11.6%
  • Retaining more customers – 10.1%
  • Automating our digital marketing – 3.6%

 

 

 

 

 

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