Small business interest in mobile marketing nearly has doubled in the past year, says a new report.
According to a survey by Ad-ology Research, 22 percent of small businesses say they plan to dedicate more resources to getting their message out on mobiles, up from the 12.6 percent who said so a year earlier. (In 2009, just two percent of small businesses surveyed planned to increase mobile resources.)
“Marketing opportunities using mobile devices are rapidly emerging just as they did for the Internet many years ago,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “Small business owners are increasingly connected, themselves, and recognize mobile as a viable way to effectively and efficiently reach potential customers.” (The major reason cited for investing in mobile marketing: The ability to deliver a new ad message quickly.)
According to the study, more than 80 percent of U.S. small business owners have a smartphone—compared to less than half of the general population.
The study also found that social media has become a must-do for small business: Just 10 percent of firms say they won’t use social media in 2012, down from the 24 percent who said so in 2011 and 39 percent in 2010. Half of small businesses plan to pour more time and/or money into Facebook, Twitter, et al in 2012.
There’s been a shift in the way small businesses view social media: For the first time, “improving the customer experience” topped the list of the social media benefits list. Previously, social media was valued most highly for generating leads.
“Even the smallest businesses are putting more resources into online, and really see these newer ways of marketing as a way to reach new audiences. That said, many small businesses—even ones moving into or increasing plans for online—still rely on traditional media,” Smith said.
Other findings from the study: Use of online video is on the rise. Nearly a quarter of small businesses say they plan to invest in this medium in 2012, up from 18.4 percent in 2011.
Nearly a quarter of small firms plan to increase their budget for daily deals. The most popular providers: Groupon and Living Social.
And small businesses haven't given up on old-school ways of marketing: More than a quarter (29 percent) plan to increase budgets for direct mail.