Nearly 30 percent of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are looking to increase their online presence in 2014, according to new research from business cloud services and digital media firm j2 Global. A number of these firms are still in the early stages of setting up a site or online store.
A major part of developing a web presence is creating original, compelling content to improve SEO and drive engagement. Such content is at the heart of online marketing, and helps to establish representatives of the business as thought leaders in their industries. With all of these SMBs looking to make their first steps onto the web, a reasonable uptick in content marketing services, with an emphasis on quality, can be expected as well.
The 2014 SMB Survey — which was sent to over 32,000 SMB professionals — found that 24 percent of companies are interested in “adopting email marketing automation to easily and efficiently reach customers,” the second-most popular marketing priority. Building a list of prospects to send regular offers and newsletters is essential for attracting and keeping them in your sales funnel. Email blasts that lack informative, useful content are wasting a crucial opportunity. SMBs hoping to utilize email marketing must place an emphasis on the content they distribute to demonstrate their knowledge and value, not flood people’s inboxes with hard sales pitches.
Nearly 70 percent of SMBs surveyed said they either currently use Facebook or plan to use it next year to develop their business. Twitter came in second place, with nearly 43 percent of respondents using or planning to use it. Social media is a prime location to distribute content, allowing businesses to get in direct contact with their target consumers, as long as the content is click-worthy and of a high quality.
Although mobile marketing is another focus for larger businesses that SMBs have yet to fully embrace, 2014 doesn’t look to be the year for much progress in that area, with just 13.4 percent of respondents selecting mobile marketing as a prime area of concern.
This is a major oversight for SMBs, eMarketer is quick to note, since “more than 45 percent of the US population will use the mobile Internet at least monthly this year.” Plus, that number is “set to rise to nearly two-thirds by 2017.” An argument can be made that with at least a basic website, SMBs will be reachable via mobile — even if the site isn’t optimized for the best user experience.
Many larger businesses already use social media for business development and marketing purposes; establishing an online presence via content creation is a logical place to start.
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