New research from Royal Mail MarketReach paints an optimistic picture of the UK’s SMEs, with nearly nine out of ten (89%) looking to grow their business this year. Underpinning that number is the firm belief, Royal Mail says, in the importance of marketing to SMEs. Indeed, 81% say marketing is critical for business growth, with 37% claiming it is the primary driver of their business.
The survey shows that the range of marketing options open to small businesses is wider than ever. In terms of preference, the most popular channels for SME marketing are email (82%), social media (62%), online advertising (50%) and direct mail (46%). Only 16% of SMEs currently use search marketing.
However, the age old challenge of measuring effectiveness continues to hold back SME spend on new marketing channels. According to Royal Mail, that’s the number one barrier to investing in new marketing efforts. Number two was the cost associated with using the new marketing channel. “Capacity to handle customer responses as a result of marketing activity was third, with SMEs saying that a lack of knowledge about who to contact to set up marketing in a new channel was the fourth greatest barrier.”
Royal Mail MarketReach MD Jonathan Harman said: “Our research shows how important marketing is for UK SMEs. It helps them grow by acquiring new customers and building better relationships with their existing ones.
“But it is clear that lack of knowledge, fears about cost and concerns about measuring their returns could be holding them back. Our SME guide offers solutions to help SMEs overcome some of their concerns and gives them insights from industry experts that they can put into action right now.”