84% of Small Businesses say their Biggest Shift in 5 Years is towards Online Marketing

We all know that online marketing has increased in the last few years, but few people realize the rate at which small businesses have adopted online marketing as their #1 priority. Over the last five years, most small businesses have seen a dramatic shift in their priorities, with online marketing emerging on top.

Constant Contact recently conducted a small business survey asking respondents to compare their business experience today with five years ago.

When asked to choose the biggest shifts in how they do business in the past five years, the second-highest choice (selected by 59% of small businesses) was unsurprisingly adjusting to economic uncertainty. A more unexpected result was the most-cited change; the overwhelming majority of small businesses, 84%, said the biggest shift was using (or using more) online marketing tools.

Has online marketing really moved to the forefront of small business’ focus? The responses to this survey would appear to indicate so. When asked what has made it easier to find customers today compared to five years ago, the majority of small businesses (53%) said it was more affordable online marketing tools.

So what online marketing tools are businesses using, and how has their usage changed?

Email Marketing (53% growth rate)

  • 2008: 64%
  • 2013: 98%

Social Media Marketing (770% growth rate)

  • 2008: 10%
  • 2013: 87%

Online Surveys (158% growth rate)

  • 2008: 12%
  • 2013: 31%

Online Coupons (300% growth rate)

  • 2008: 6%
  • 2013: 24%

Mobile Marketing (1050% growth rate)

  • 2008: 2%
  • 2013: 23%

In five years, all forms of online marketing took a significant leap, the most drastic being social media, and the most ubiquitous being email marketing (with a whopping 98% use amongst small businesses).

What does this mean for your business? Perhaps it’s obvious, but if you haven’t started integrating online (and perhaps even mobile) approaches to your marketing plan, you are doomed to be on the wrong side of history. Even if your business is sustaining itself now, these trends show a rapid acceleration amongst small businesses towards all things digital—if your business cannot compete with the rising tide, you may just be swept away.

To learn more about online marketing, check out some of our free courses on social media marketing, email marketing and mobile marketing.

Source: Constant Contact