Online Marketing Effectiveness: Affinity Express Survey Results
While I found the number of respondents using online marketing surprisingly low (63%), it informed us that SMBs (or our respondents in particular) aren't very well-informed about online advertising and marketing, which is reflected in their low use of relatively easy and affordable channels such as online ads and blogging. Therefore, I was less surprised at their assessment of the effectiveness of online tactics. While 56% found online advertising and marketing somewhat or very effective for their businesses, fully 44% found it ineffective.
I believe this is less an indictment of online marketing and more an indication of the need to educate SMBs about these tactics.
My belief is strengthened by the rating of various online tactics by their effectiveness.
Search engine optimization, used by only 31% of respondents, is the most effective tactic with 36% voting it somewhat effective and another 33% saying it's very effective. This indicates that at least part of the perceived low effectiveness of online media is due to lack of familiarity and practice. The answers to another question may be pertinent here. We asked respondents to rank their online marketing objectives. For businesses that use online tactics, sales is the most important objective. Other objectives we suggested, such as brand awareness, lead generation, lead nurturing and customer service, received far less attention. This might in fact be one of the reasons why businesses aren't satisfied with the performance of online media. While tactics like advertising and email marketing can lead to sales (though lead generation is more likely), other online media such as social media marketing and blogging are more appropriate for objectives such as lead nurturing, customer service, brand awareness and reputation management.