66% of small businesses planning on spending more on digital marketing

In a hyper-connected world where a strong online presence could mean better growth opportunities for business, 2013 looks to be another year of significantly increased online investment for small businesses.

According to the 2013 AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, which surveyed 1,000 small businesses nationwide, 66 percent of small businesses plan to invest as much or more in digital marketing – websites, social media and online advertisements – as they did last year. The poll also revealed that a vast majority of small businesses will expand their online and digital presence through their company website and email blasts to customers in 2013.

In addition, more investment in mobile marketing solutions is a factor among small businesses polled, with 71 percent “somewhat” or “very likely” to increase budgets for marketing via mobile devices. And nearly one-third use “mobile-friendly” websites – those easily viewable on smartphones – as a way to engage with customers.

“U.S. small businesses see incredible value and opportunity in digital marketing and are clearly increasing their presence as a way to gain access to new customers,” said Cathy Martine, AT&T Executive Vice President of Small Business Solutions. “With a variety of digital tools such as email, websites and social media, coupled with the ability to both deliver and access them from mobile devices, small businesses are building new connections without borders.”

Social Media

Some key tech poll findings on the social media front include:

  • As a way to remain competitive with easy and affordable ways to create awareness, 36 percent of small businesses polled say they use LinkedIn for various reasons, including engaging with others in their industry and extending awareness of their business. This represents a 16 percent increase over last year.
  • While LinkedIn saw an increase, Facebook participation among small businesses polled decreased from 44 percent to 41 percent over the past year.
  • Use of location-based social media also decreased. For example, Foursquare decreased from nine percent to six percent year over year.

In addition, more than 80 percent of small businesses polled will also use word-of-mouth marketing to increase awareness and visibility. Further, 93 percent of startups – defined as businesses that have been operating for less than two years – intend to maximize word-of-mouth marketing.

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