Small businesses will invest more time than money in their marketing efforts in future, as budgets tighten in 2021, a new study has shown.
A third of respondents said digital marketing was vital to their survival but would be relying on networking with 43 per cent saying it was their most important marketing channel, followed by social media (27.7%).
Only 3.6 per cent said they would prioritise online paid advertising and 15 per cent admitted they would need to reduce their marketing spend over the next six months as they continue to try to survive the pandemic.
The survey was conducted by digital marketing agency Mr Digital, which is based on the Hampshire-Surrey border who MD Ross Crawford said: “Small businesses have been hit hardest by the pandemic and many now face a huge cash-flow problem.
they will need to focus their efforts on channels that require less monetary investment, such as networking and social media marketing
“As the backbone of our economy, it is important small businesses survive the pandemic and quality marketing will play a vital part in their survival.
“Many business owners will be tightening their budgets as there is so much uncertainty across many different industries and so they will need to focus their efforts on channels that require less monetary investment, such as networking and social media marketing.”
The online survey was completed by more than 80 companies from around the UK in a range of industries including hospitality and leisure, financial services, healthcare, retail and consumer and engineering and construction. Those who took part ranged from sole traders those with 100 employees.
About 13 per cent of them revealed they were either worried or seriously worried about the survival over the next six months.
Just over a third (32.3%) of respondents said they hoped to drive growth by acquiring new customers and more than 20 per cent cited brand awareness was a top outcome for the next six months. In fact, more were interested in getting higher engagement rates than they Google rankings or website traffic combined.
Mr Crawford added: “With tighter marketing budgets, I’d recommend monitoring the return on investment from each of the channels to identify which one or two produce the best results and then focus on those. It’s far more effective to get one channel working effectively than have lots of things working very averagely.”