Small Businesses Turn to Facebook, Twitter for Digital Marketing

Small-business owners fall into four general categories when it comes to tackling digital marketing, according to a study released by Infusionsoft.

The sales and marketing technology buying decisions made by small businesses are influenced more by attitudes and beliefs than by demographic factors such as industry, revenue and years in business, according to a survey of nearly 1,200 small businesses conducted by midmarket sales and software marketing specialist Infusionsoft.

The study, "The American Dream: What Really Motivates Small-Business Owners," revealed four distinct types of small-business sales and marketing technology buyers based on attitudes and behaviors: maximizers, strivers, supporters and customizers. Only companies with 25 or fewer employees and revenue of more than $100,000 were surveyed, the report noted.

According to the report, maximizers tend to invest more time on sales and marketing activities than other segments, with 61 percent spending more than $1,000 per month on marketing. Maximizers also have the most diverse platform reach, with 49 percent using Facebook, 36 percent using Twitter and 31 percent using YouTube, although 60 percent said they need help in building marketing tools and 61 percent said they need assistance in evaluating effective marketing content.

The report characterized strivers as seeking technology that can help them overcome their sales and marketing challenges, move beyond their existing capabilities and support the growth of their business. However, they often lack the time and resources to fully use their technology, causing them to be dissatisfied with it. Survey results indicated strivers have the smallest social media presence of the four groups and often lack a clear social-media marketing strategy.

"The results of the survey paint a clear picture of the sales and marketing technology challenges facing small businesses today," Infusionsoft Chief Marketing Officer Greg Head said in a statement. "The data shows small businesses need better education on how to select and use technology, and they still feel somewhat lost on finding the right solution for their specific needs. By sharing the results, the market will gain a better understanding of what small businesses want from technology."

Specific to sales and marketing, supporters favor technology that helps them reduce costs and save time, with 57 percent of this group spending less than $1,000 per month on marketing and 34 percent spending between $0 and $500 per month. Just under 60 percent of this group tend to favor Facebook for social media marketing, with Twitter coming in second at 31 percent.

Finally, customizers seek technology that can help them automate existing sales processes and scale their business in a way that doesn't compromise their ability to deliver personalized customer service, using Facebook and Twitter to market to customers and leverage LinkedIn for networking. More than half (54 percent) said they need help developing effective marketing strategies and evaluating messaging, and 53 percent said they need help in selecting the right sales and marketing tools. Just more than half (51 percent) spend more than $1,000 per month on marketing.