SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Online survey provider, Zoomerang.com has conducted a marketing survey of small to midsized businesses (SMBs) in cooperation with SMB content provider and consultant, GrowBiz Media.

The survey, entitled “Small to Midsized Business Marketing Practices Survey 2010″, was conducted on just over 750 SMBs having fewer than 1,000 employees across the USA. The goal of the survey was to find out how SMBs are using their marketing budgets in 2010, as well as their projections for 2011.

The survey reveals an evolution of the marketing tools and technology used by small to midsized businesses. The report shows that many forms of traditional marketing like direct mail remain strong, while at the same time there is continued growth in popularity for email and social media marketing.

Key Findings

The survey clearly shows that SMBs continue to build new practices like email and social media into their marketing budgets. The use of social media in businesses with a marketing budget of $1,000 or less continues to grow in over half of the respondents in the survey.

The top three social networks utilized by SMB survey participants are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, respectively, and survey respondents under the age of 30 were shown to be the highest adopters of social media.

Direct mail ranks third in the the top five areas planned for an increase in SMB marketing budgets for 2011 with website and e-mail coming in first and second, followed by social media and print advertising coming in fourth and fifth.

Direct Mail Budget Expenditures For SMBs in 2010

Direct mail still remain a very important part of SMB marketing in 2010 and clearly shows the value of a good mailing list. The survey shows that 3 out of 100 small to midsize businesses are spending 90 percent of their marketing budget for direct mail, while:

  • 2 out of 100 are spending 70 percent
  • 4 out of 100 are spending 50 percent
  • 4 out of 100 are spending 40 percent
  • 5 out of 100 are spending 30 percent
  • 9 out of 100 are spending 20 percent
  • 19 out of 100 are spending 10 percent or less

Fifty out of 100 SMBs are not spending anything for direct mail in 2010.

Marketing Expenditure Forecast For 2011

Direct mail will continue to play a big role in the marketing budgets of SMBs for the coming year in 2011. Fifteen percent plan to increase their expenditure for direct mail, while only 5 percent plan for a decrease and 40 percent plan to spend the same.

The survey also reveals the projected SMB marketing expenditures for 2011 for websites, email marketing, social media, print advertising, online advertising, public relations, event marketing, trade shows, in-store promotions, SEO, radio and TV advertising.

  • For website expenditures, 17 percent plan for an increase, 3 percent plan for a decrease and 47 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For email marketing, 15 percent plan for an increase, 3 percent plan for a decrease and 41 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For social media, 13 percent plan for an increase, 2 percent plan for a decrease and 37 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For print advertising, 10 percent plan for an increase, 7 percent plan for a decrease and 42 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For online advertising, 9 percent plan for an increase, 4 percent plan for a decrease and 34 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For public relations, 9 percent plan for an increase, 3 percent plan for a decrease and 41 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For event marketing, 8 percent plan for an increase, 3 percent plan for a decrease and 36 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For trade shows, 7 percent plan for an increase, 4 percent plan for a decrease and 35 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For in-store promotions, 6 percent plan for an increase, 4 percent plan for a decrease and 33 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For SEO expenditures, 4 percent plan for an increase, 3 percent plan for a decrease and 28 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For Radio advertising, 3 percent plan for an increase, 4 percent plan for a decrease and 29 percent plan to spend the same.
  • For TV advertising, 3 percent plan for an increase, 4 percent plan for a decrease and 28 percent plan to spend the same.

Word of Mouth Advertising

Most businesses would agree that word of mouth advertising is the most important of all forms of advertising. In the survey, social media is categorized as a form of word of mouth advertising along with in-person networking, customer referral rewards, event marketing and public speaking. The survey reveals that 34 percent of SMBs currently employ social media in their marketing efforts.

The survey reveals the following distribution of word of mouth advertising currently employed by small to midsized businesses:

  • In-person networking: 70 percent
  • Customer referral rewards: 50 percent
  • Social media: 34 percent
  • Event marketing: 21 percent
  • Public speaking: 20 percent

The survey shows that SMB owners are demonstrating a willingness to embrace new marketing methods and ideas while at the same time are incorporating traditional “tried and true” marketing methods. It also reveals that business owners plan to increase their marketing budgets for 2011, which is encouraging, considering the current condition of the economy.

The survey is available as a free downloadable PDF from the Zoomerang.com website.

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