PR and SEO don’t rate in top SME priorities

Websites and social media are top marketing priorities for SMEs, while PR and SEO come last.

That’s according to research by printing and design firm Snap, which identified the main challenges facing SMEs as they strive for growth.

It seems confusion abounds when it comes to allocating a marketing budget, and calculating which activities will yield the best return on investment.

For many SMEs, an investment in social media trumps PR as a top priority.

It was found that as business owners strive for growth in the next 12-months, the majority (60 per cent) are aiming to grow by 10-20 per cent.

Yet, most did not know how much they should spend to achieve it. Estimates ranged from 1 per cent – 30 per cent of annual turnover, with an average of 5% emerging.

It was also found that the company website is placed at the very top of the ‘essentials’ list, followed closely behind by business cards, referrals and word-of-mouth, face-to-face networking, promotional items and print collateral. Social media also rated strongly as a priority.

Surprisingly, it was the well-established marketing activities such as email blasts, search engine optimisation, and public relations that were not prioritised by the respondents.

Despite a website being demonstrably crucial to a small business, there is a clear trend towards ‘DIY’ with SME owner’s children, relatives or friends often tasked with creating them. Also featuring were overseas developers sourced online.

The size of business also had an impact on the amount of money invested in marketing. Small businesses (3-5 employees) averaged an annual investment of $25,000, while small-medium operations (11 – 50 employees) invested $107,000. Those businesses with more than 51 employees invested an average of $244,000 annually.

  • SME’s need to focus on a large number of marketing activities at a time and it is very easy for them to become hooked on the latest trend and miss many of the basics that have stood them in good stead in the past.

    While social media is the current buzz in marketing, it is only part of the answer. The staple of a website, SEO and email are just as relevant today as they were 5 years ago. The difference is now you get to enhance their effectiveness with additional social media opportunities.

    Off line marketing shouldn’t be ignored either. It may not be trendy, and in some industries it seen as old fashioned, but traditional advertising methods are still very effective if done appropriately and selectively. Direct mail, catalogues, and who can forget the old favorite, the Promotional Calendars.

    Graham Apolony
    Big Note Marketing

  • Business has been quite busy for us direct marketing via letterbox advertising. Flexibility and adaption to new ideas is king! We are finding an increasing number of On Line stores and services using Letterbox Promotions to point consumers directly to their websites.

    • My point exactly Julie. Driving people to your online business through offline promotion. Your experience proves that although there are many new ways to promote your business, whether you are an online or offline business, you need to use all the available options to promote your business.

  • You need to first find out where your audience are and use the marketing methods they are most likely to connect with… it’s all about targeting.

  • Graham Apolony

    In the good old days, everyone picked up the phone book to find what they needed. Now the book is almost obsolete. If you want something and you don’t have a contact or an existing relationship, you go to the internet. We simply have to have a presence on the web in all it’s forms to be noticed by our potential market.

    Graham Apolony
    Big Note Marketing