The 10 Things I Learned Last Year From the Borrell Annual SMB Survey

BorrellSMB2013ExecSumYou might have though I was getting a little crazy last week by offering a $1,000 marketing report for free, and it was pretty strong language, but it’s so true that there didn’t seem a better way of stating it.

For over 20 years Borrell Associates has been tracking the changes in local advertising and marketing as the web has emerged as the #1 tool for small and mid-sized businesses in local markets.

By taking the survey here, you will receive a copy of the complete report and lunch on us to review it when it comes out later this year. Plus, you’ll be registered to win an iPad from Borrell.

The complete report is almost a $1,000, so I’ve relied on the free executive summary for years to track this important information and the executive summary is just a bite of the entire meal that is the full report. Here’s what you can expect to be on that menu, taken from last year’s executive summary with some tasty side dishes you will glean from taking the survey yourself:

1. SMBs are hopeful. 64% are “very” or “somewhat” optimistic about near-term (12 months) improvement to the local economy.

2. SMBs are besieged with opportunities, receiving on average 5 sales calls per day, from as many as 15 different media, from print to broadcast to outdoor and direct mail, not to mention the countless digital providers ranging from stand-alones like Google, Facebook, Yelp. Groupon and others to national companies trying to offer local digital services like ReachLocal, Signpost and many more.

3. For local advertisers, after online/digital, print still takes the largest share of advertising budgets, followed by direct mail, radio, mobile, outdoor and broadcast television (had to throw this one in).

4. Digital spending continues to rise significantly. In 2011 digital share of ad budgets was 15%; in the 2013 survey, SMBs reported 19%. This equates to a 33% increase in digital ad budgets in two years.

5. Your website should be your #1 source of new customers, after referrals from other customers, of course, and closely followed by referrals from friends and family and professional connections.

6. The top 3 online investments, both by spend and focus, should be your website, social media and email.

7. Mobile marketing is the new black. 85% say a mobile presence is important.

8. The top 3 key metrics for local businesses using social media is to find new customers, grow their social media audience and drive traffic to their websites.

9. Deals are languishing. 77% aren’t participating; only half who do are satisfied.

10. “Showrooming” — using a smartphone to comparison shop while in a store — no big whoop. 9% of SMBs said it hurts business; 24% believe it helps.

For a limited time, we’re able to offer this survey to our local customers. We encourage you to take the survey here to register to win an iPad AND receive your own copy of the complete report AND come to lunch on us to review that full report when it comes out later this year.