Almost 50 percent of small businesses have no marketing plan for 2019, and 58 percent spend less than six hours a week on marketing, a recent OutboundEngine survey of 350 U.S. SMB owners found.
Understandably, SMB owners would prefer to spend their time running their business (36 percent) and helping customers solve problems (28 percent) rather than marketing to prospective customers (14 percent).
But those who invested more time and/or percentage of revenue in marketing reported increased revenue growth, and among those that spend the least amount of time on marketing, 47 percent experienced no revenue growth in 2018, and 36 percent are unsure how they'll grow their business in 2019.
Affordability and Efficacy
"There is a common misconception among small business owners that marketing requires a lot of time and money to produce the results needed to grow their business," OutboundEngine CEO Marc Pickren said in a statement.
"The secret to an effective, stress-free marketing plan lies at the cross-section of affordability and efficacy," Pickren added. "Today's business owners, who are often not marketers by trade, have plenty of tools at their disposal to help achieve this balance."
Sixty-two percent of small business owners are as stressed or more stressed about their business in 2019 than they were in 2018, with the leading reasons including finances, limited time and lack of knowledge of business-specific marketing tactics.
When asked what's keeping them from achieving their business objectives, the most common response was lack of funds (28.5 percent), followed by lack of time (22.39 percent) and not knowing which marketing tactic would be most effective for their business (14.25 percent).
Leveraging Social Media
The most successful marketing channels for SMBs in 2018 were organic social media posts (39.72 percent), paid social media posts (17.22 percent), and events (13.61 percent).
"As a small business owner, you must build relationships both in person and online to maintain relevance with your consumers throughout their buyer's journey," OutboundEngine SVP of product Deepak Surana said. "Social media will help you nurture leads and generate more engagement while you are busy running your business."
Still, when asked which marketing tactics were the biggest waste of time, 52 percent chose organic social media posts, 15 percent listed events, and 13 percent cited paid social media posts.
The findings were announced just before both Facebook and Mailchimp introduced marketing solutions for small businesses. Mailchimp's new all-in-one Marketing Platform includes a wide range of CRM functionality along with marketing automation and a website builder, and Facebook has added an Automated Ads tool along with appointment management and video editing solutions.