Small Biz Owners: Optimistic, Upping Ad Spend, Rely On Print

May 2011 — FedEx Office (formerly FedEx Kinko’s), an operating company of FedEx Corp., released the results of its fourth annual Signs of the Times national survey of small businesses.

The study finds that:

Small business owners optimism is growing — Six in ten (63%) small  business owners are confident in the long-term success of their business, compared to a little more than half (54%) in 2010.

Younger business owners are even more assured about the future – The vast majority of small business owners age 18-35 (85%) are confident in the long-term success of their business compared to other age groups (35-54 at 56%; 55 and above at 63%).

While many small business owners plan to reach existing and potential customers online and through social media, more than half (53%) will turn to more traditional channels like newsletters and direct mail

Tactics to Reach Potential and Existing Customers

%

Plan to increase communication via newsletters, direct mail, etc.

53%

Plan to create or improve company’s online presence (website,  banner ads, SEO)

52%

Plan to utilize social media and networking websites (e.g., Twitter,  Facebook, LinkedIn)

45%

Traditional advertising/marketing tools continue to be popular with small business owners.

 Advertising/Marketing Tool

%

 Business cards.

78%

 Yellow pages

54%

 Brochures

50%

 Flyers

44%

 Direct Mailers

44%

 Newspaper ads

42%

 Out-of-store signs/banners/posters

30%

 In-store signs/banners/posters

28%

 Coupons

28%

The majority of small business owners (91%) believe that the quality of a company’s marketing/advertising materials reflects the quality of its products and services. Despite this connection, nearly a quarter (23%) say their own marketing/advertising materials do not reflect the quality of their products and services.

Just over a third (35%) of small business owners plan to split their resources evenly between Web-based marketing and traditional advertising materials, while another third (36%) will focus the most resources on Web-based marketing/advertising opportunities. Nearly three in 10 (29%) plan to focus the most resources on traditional marketing and advertising.

Two in ten small business owners (22%) say social media is a critical tool for marketing their business and half (50%) have experimented with it for that purpose.  Younger small business owners (ages 18-35) are more likely to use social media than their older counterparts. A full third (33%) say social media is a critical tool for marketing their business, compared to owners overall.

 

About the survey:  FedEx Office, in conjunction with the Ketchum Global Research Network, worked with Braun Research to conduct the third annual FedEx Office Signs of the Times Small Business Survey. The survey polled small business owners who employ 5 to 100 employees and own firms that generate over $100,000 in annual revenue. A total of 505 interviews were completed; the margin of error is +/-4.38 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Online interviews were conducted March 2011.

Source: Marketing Charts, 1 in 3 Small Biz to Focus Marketing on Web, May 6, 2011