How Small Businesses Can Drive Marketing Success in 2017

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Marketing is a crucial component to building awareness and driving engagement for small businesses. Yet, small business owners face a unique set of challenges and constraints in their marketing efforts. To get the most from their marketing, small business owners need to identify marketing and advertising strategies that will deliver the greatest impact with the fewest resources.

SMBs Increasing Spend in 2017

According to recent research from Clutch, almost half (49%) of small business owners plan to increase their marketing and advertising budgets in 2017. When it comes to setting a marketing budget, you should think in terms of percentages rather than a fixed amount. As a rule, small businesses should allocate 7-8% of their revenue to marketing. Compared with other pressing expenses, such as payroll or inventory, marketing can sometimes seem like a superfluous cost. However, every £1 spent on marketing benefits a small business eight times as much as it would a larger firm.

Spend Smarter with Digital Marketing

In 2017, most small businesses are turning to digital marketing to get the most from their budgets. Cheaper, quicker and more measurable, digital marketing enables small business owners to cut costs and spend smarter. So, where are small business owners planning to allocate their digital marketing spend?

Some 58% of survey respondents say they plan to increase their investment in social media, and 57% plan to spend more on their websites.

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Emerging Digital Marketing Trends

Having a strong digital presence is key to being found by prospects and staying engaged with current customers. Below are some of the key digital marketing trends set to impact small businesses in 2017:

1) Time to Pay Up in Social Media

Long gone are the days of organic social media marketing. Almost every post you see on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like has money behind it. If small businesses want to increase their reach and engage with audiences on social media, they need to dedicate a portion of their budget to promoted posts. Fortunately, social media marketing is still more cost-effective than traditional forms of advertising, but success will depend on the level of investment and the quality of creative.

2) Mobile-Friendly is a Must

Mobile-friendly websites are no longer just an option. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile, today’s customers are accustomed to finding the information they want, anytime and anywhere. Small business owners need to ensure their websites are mobile accessible and that relevant business information, such as opening times, location and contact information, are easily available on mobile devices.

3) Add a Personal Touch to Email Marketing

Today’s customers are bombarded with marketing messages. Personalisation is one way that you can cut through the noise and deliver relevant content to audiences. In fact, according to Experian, emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and marketers found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. To build trust and engagement, look to incorporate dynamic content elements, segmentation and personalisation into your email marketing strategies.


As small business owners step up their digital marketing efforts this year, confidence and flexibility will be key. Consider creating a marketing strategy and digital marketing plan to guide your efforts and set key performance indicators to monitor and gauge success.

Ideally, your strategy and budget also should accommodate for experimentation. It may take more than two-weeks of trial and error to determine the best tactics for your business. The key is to dedicate the right amount of resources to figure out what works and what doesn’t.