The Most Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Most Small Businesses Turn to Word of Mouth Marketing


Many entrepreneurs are not sure where to start when it comes to choosing marketing strategies for small businesses. This shouldn’t be surprising given how rapidly the web changes from day to day. Small businesses simply do not have the time or resources to keep up with larger corporations when it comes to digital marketing. Instead, many small businesses still rely on automated and traditional marketing strategies to bring in new customers.

The 2015 Infusionsoft Small Business Market Research Sales & Marketing Report backs up this way of thinking. According to Infusionsoft Chief Marketing Officer Greg Head, business owners are too busy with day-to-day operations to have the time to manage online efforts, so they turn to those that make their lives easier.

“Most small business owners heavily depend on referrals and word-of-mouth to grow their businesses, and while that is a dependable tactic, it’s not enough to thrive in today’s digital world,” said Head in a press release. “People search online when making buying decisions, so if a small business doesn’t have a website or online presence, they are missing out on a ton of potential customers. Beyond that, small business owners say automating their sales and marketing creates big returns, as it enables them to automatically turn leads into customers and customers into raving fans while they’re busy running the day-to-day operations.”

According to the survey, 62% of small business owners cite customer referrals as the most effective marketing strategy, followed by email marketing (34%), networking (25%), and social media (23%). Television and radio advertising are viewed as the least effective with only 2% of small businesses ranking them in the top 3 spots.

Effective Marketing Strategies

Most Effective Sales & Marketing Overall

Most Effective Sales &
Marketing Overall

However, small businesses are becoming more social. When it comes to lead generation, social media is the top strategy with 71% of companies using it. This is followed by email marketing (70%), content marketing (48%), and search engine marketing (43%).

Online Lead Generation Strategies

Lead Generation Strategies

Lead Generation Strategies

What can we take away from this information? First, not only is email marketing good for lead generation, it’s also effective at creating sales. Social media is good for generating leads but lacks in earning sales, and when it comes to offline lead generation and marketing, word of mouth is still king.

As you consider marketing strategies for small businesses, remember customer satisfaction is still priority. You should then invest in digital marketing – specifically email marketing and a website  – and then networking and events. Traditional marketing including direct mail, print advertising, and TV/radio advertising are no longer worth the investment.

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