In January, we invited small business owners, marketers and executives to participate in our first-ever digital marketing survey. They answered nine key questions and provided useful insights into what’s working, what’s not and where they’re taking their digital strategies in 2018.
Some results were expected, but others were surprising, as companies continue to refine their strategies and seek to strengthen the impact of digital marketing budgets. Our goal in sharing the results is to help companies better understand how other organizations are meeting the challenges and opportunities of marketing in the digital age.
We’ve assembled a two-part analysis of our findings with Part 1 presented below and Part 2 to be shared with you next month. We’ve also produced an e-Book that includes complete survey results – and which has already been delivered to survey respondents. If you’d like to see the rest of the survey results in advance, and receive a copy of the e-book, click here to fill out the survey and we’ll send it right away!
1. Lead gen has taken the lead
A whopping 96% of survey respondents identified lead generation as their primary goal in 2017. This comes as no surprise, as the majority of BroadBased clients express the need for more opportunities to grow their business versus increase website visits, social media followers or email opens.
There has been a clear shift from individual tactics to integrated strategy, and these strategies begin and end with driving more — and better — new business leads.
What was your main goal with digital marketing in 2017?
2. Very few companies are ahead of their digital goals
Only 11% of respondents exceeded their digital marketing goals, with 46% meeting them, and 42% falling short. What does this tell us? For one, companies have mechanisms for tracking their goals well enough to answer the question. Two, more than half of them need a big 2018 to rebound. This will mean increased scrutiny of campaign budgets and expenses, and more transparency with performance and ROI.
Marketers will undoubtedly want more real-time access to key metrics and analytics, which will empower them to make decisions and refine campaign performance on-demand. The result will be better alignment between performance and goals.
Did you meet your goals, fall short, or exceed them?
3. Facebook ads take the cake (and it’s a big slice)
By a substantial margin, survey participants reported that Facebook advertising was their most-successful marketing tactic, followed by email marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).
Regarding SEO, BroadBased has seen strategies move toward more progressive search habits, with users getting more specific with their queries that include longer keyword phrases — “70 inch 4K smart TV” versus “flat screen TV,” for example. This puts a higher premium on content to attract these more savvy buyers, which has resulted in companies investing in content strategies to supplement search campaigns.
Which specific digital marketing tactic was most successful?
The email marketing result reflects a bit of fatigue, as recipients become quicker to unsubscribe, and spam filters increase the difficulty of reaching inboxes and creating engagement. Expect email personalization to become a major factor in 2018, along with smarter automation that addresses each stage of the sales funnel.
4. Content’s kingdom is expanding
Way back in 1996, Bill Gates declared in a remarkably prophetic opinion piece that “Content is King.” And it is rapidly becoming just that. Nearly half of respondents to the BroadBased survey checked content marketing as a digital tactic employed in 2017, edging it ahead of Google Adwords. Email marketing, Facebook advertising and SEO are still in front, but content marketing is gaining, with good reason.
What digital tactics did you use in 2017?
The reason companies are getting serious about their content is simple: it works.
Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, and generates 3 times as many leads. It’s the best way to stand out from your competition, showcase your unique value propositions, and drive higher SEO rankings. We expect even more adoption of content strategies in 2018, with a particular focus on improving lead quality and ongoing customer loyalty.
That wraps up the first installment of our digital marketing survey analysis, make sure to check back next month for the second part. If you’d like to receive a digital e-book of our full analysis, click here to fill out the survey and we’ll email it to you.