Marketing / Digital Marketing

Top 5 Findings: 2019 Small Business Marketing Trends Report

Besma Bihnam

Updated: May 29, 2020 · 3 min read

Laptop with trend images

As a small business owner, you have more marketing options than ever. The number of tools and apps designed for small business has skyrocketed. From automation and social media management to customer relationship management (CRM) and analytics, the increasing amount of information and capabilities is powerful.

But with power, an array of tools and apps to choose from, and rapid changes in marketing trends, comes complexity and uncertainty in knowing which methods and tools are effective and deliver results.

We surveyed 1,467 self-identified small business owners from across the United States about their marketing goals, challenges, and tactics for 2019.

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You can read the 2019 Small Business Marketing Trends Report to see the full results, as well as 2019 predictions from marketing leaders and small business experts Donald Miller, Pamela Slim, Meredith Wood, Dennis Yu, Ultimate Sales Machine, and our very own Clate Mask.

Top five findings

1. Small businesses are being left behind when it comes to digital marketing

Twenty-nine percent of small business owners surveyed said they won’t be using digital marketing and consider it the biggest marketing challenge they’ll face in 2019.

This could suggest they’re reconsidering their marketing strategy to boost its effectiveness, or they’re on a tight marketing budget and don’t realize they can still perform digital marketing on a small budget. Digital marketing continues to be an effective way of growing a business in an increasingly digital environment.

2. Social media is holding strong in 2019

Small business owners continue to leverage the power of social media in their marketing efforts. Almost half (49 percent) of survey participants ranked social media management as their primary marketing tool, and 30 percent said they plan to increase their budget and boost spending on social media in 2019. Facebook is still the leading social media platform for small businesses. In fact, 47 percent of business owners regularly use Facebook and will continue incorporating it into their social media strategy.

3. Almost half of small business owners will not spend more on marketing in 2019

While social media remains the top marketing tactic small business owners are budgeting more for in 2019, a significant number of business owners (46 percent) reported they won’t be spending more on marketing in 2019.

This can be an indication that an increasing number of small businesses are on a tight marketing budget and can’t afford to invest more in digital marketing.

4. Lack of time and resources continues to hinder small business owners

It’s not surprising that finding time and resources for marketing is the biggest challenge small business owners face. Over the past four years, the number of business owners who say this is their biggest challenge steadily increased to 22 percent this year, compared to 18 percent in 2016.

5. Gaining and keeping customers is the top marketing goal for 2019

Driving sales is the leading goal for about one-third of the small business owners who participated in our survey. While driving sales has been a top goal for business owners over the years, the method for driving sales is evolving.

Small business and marketing experts we talked to shared their perspective on how AI technology, changing demographics, humanized marketing, and cashless payment options will not only help small business gain and keep customers in 2019 but also help improve efficiency in their day-to-day work.

Source: Keap 2019 Small Business Marketing Trends Report. In October 2018, Keap surveyed a panel of 1,467 self-identified small business owners from across the United States via an online questionnaire. Respondents were not necessarily customers of Keap, and the survey did not identify Keap as a sponsor.

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