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Bredin Fastcast: Content Marketing to SMBs

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How does marketing content affect small and mid-sized business (SMB) visits to your site, their likelihood to buy and their perception of your brand? What business challenges do SMBs seek help with? What topics are SMBs most interested in learning about? What content formats do they want from marketers? From whom do they most want content? Where are they most likely to find it? What do they like best (and least) about marketing content? What kind of content is most likely to generate a lead?

To answer these questions, we recently surveyed 315 U.S. SMB principals. The results are instructive; there are some great learnings on how you can enhance your SMB content marketing program.

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Bredin Fastcast: Content Marketing to SMBs

  1. 1. Content Marketing to SMBs March 2, 2017 Bredin, Inc. www.bredin.com 617-674-7882
  2. 2. Increasing SMB Acquisition, Engagement and Retention 2 Content Marketing  Market Research
  3. 3. Give marketers a current perspective on SMB content preferences • SMB business outlook • Business challenges • Preferred content formats and topics • Preferred content sources • The effect of content on SMBs 3 Research Objective
  4. 4. Methodology How • 15-minute online survey via the Bredin.com/smbpulse Who • 315 principals of U.S. companies with <500 employees (5.5%+/- CI) • 115 with <20 employees (97.7% weighting) • 100 with 20-99 employees (1.9% weighting) • 100 with 100-500 employees (.3% weighting) • Any industry • See slides 26-30 for participant demographics When • November 28 – December 2, 2016 1 2 3 4
  5. 5. Detailed Results
  6. 6. 6 Business Outlook What is your revenue outlook for 2017, compared to 2016? More ¾ of SMBs with 20+ employees expect to grow in 2017 54% 42% 28% 31% 37% 21% 16% 17% 39% 0% 2% 7% 0% 2% 6% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 100-500 20-99 1-19 Up by 10% or more Up, by less than 10% Same as 2016 Down, by less than 10% Down by 10% or more n=250 n=128 n=114 unweighted
  7. 7. 7 Business Challenges: Company Size n=312 Top-two unweighted What are your biggest business challenges? Please rank these business challenges from most important (top) to least important (bottom): Customer acquisition is hardest for VSBs; employee management for larger SMBs Developing new products and services Finding good employees Keeping myself / my employees productive Dealing with competition Retaining good employees Dealing with government regulations Staying in business Having enough money to pay our bills Retaining current customers Managing costs Finding new customers 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 1-19 20-99 100-500
  8. 8. 8 Preferred Topics n=315 Top-two box On a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (very often), how often do you go online to find information on the following topics to help you manage and grow your business? SMBs are most interested in content on their industry, and technology International business Human resources Leadership and management Financial planning and management Law and taxes Operations Sales and marketing Technology Industry news and trends 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
  9. 9. 9 Preferred Topics: Company Size n=315 Top-two box unwieghted On a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (very often), how often do you go online to find information on the following topics to help you manage and grow your business? The largest SMBs are most interested in content on technology International business Human resources Leadership and management Financial planning and management Law and taxes Operations Sales and marketing Technology Industry news and trends 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 1-19 20-99 100-500
  10. 10. 10 Preferred Topics: Respondent Age n=315 Top-two box On a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (very often), how often do you go online to find information on the following topics to help you manage and grow your business? Millennials are most interested in content on technology and operations International business Human resources Leadership and management Financial planning and management Law and taxes Operations Sales and marketing Technology Industry news and trends 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 18-34 35-49 50+
  11. 11. 11 Preferred Topics From Banks: Company Size n=314 Top-two box unweighted On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much), how much do you want information on the following topics from your bank to help you manage and grow your business? SMBs want financial management advice from their bank Human resources International business Sales and marketing Leadership and management Operations Industry news and trends Law and taxes Technology Financial planning and management 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 1-19 20-99 100-500
  12. 12. 12 Preferred Topics From Banks: Respondent Age n=314 Top-two box On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much), how much do you want information on the following topics from your bank to help you manage and grow your business? Millennials have a stronger appetite for content from banks Human resources International business Sales and marketing Leadership and management Operations Industry news and trends Law and taxes Technology Financial planning and management 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 18-34 35-49 50+
  13. 13. 13 Content Format Preferences n=315 Top-two box On a scale of 1 (not useful) to 5 (very useful), how would you rate each of these content formats as a way to obtain business management tips and advice? Forums and printed pieces are the content marketing formats of choice Blog post Webcast E-book Audio podcast Infographic White paper Video Analyst report Interactive tool (e.g., calculator, quiz) Case study Checklist / worksheet Article Email newsletter Printed sheet, booklet or guide Forum / peer-to-peer exchange 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
  14. 14. 14 Content Format Preferences: Company Size n=315 Top-two box unweighted On a scale of 1 (not useful) to 5 (very useful), how would you rate each of these content formats as a way to obtain business management tips and advice? The largest SMBs prefer forums, email newsletters and analyst reports Blog post Webcast E-book Audio podcast Infographic White paper Video Analyst report Interactive tool (e.g., calculator, quiz) Case study Checklist / worksheet Article Email newsletter Printed sheet, booklet or guide Forum / peer-to-peer exchange 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 1-19 20-99 100-500
  15. 15. 15 Content Format Preferences: Respondent Age n=315 Top-two box On a scale of 1 (not useful) to 5 (very useful), how would you rate each of these content formats as a way to obtain business management tips and advice? Millennials prefer infographics, blog posts, interactive tools, forums and print pieces Blog post Webcast E-book Audio podcast Infographic White paper Video Analyst report Interactive tool (e.g., calculator, quiz) Case study Checklist / worksheet Article Email newsletter Printed sheet, booklet or guide Forum / peer-to-peer exchange 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 18-34 35-49 50+
  16. 16. 16 Generating Leads n=315 Top-two box On a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (very likely), how likely are you to provide your contact information to download, subscribe to or access these kinds of content? SMBs are most likely to provide contact info for forums and email newsletters Infographic Blog White paper E-book Audio podcast Video Webcast Analyst report Article Case study Interactive tool (e.g., calculator, quiz) Checklist / worksheet Printed sheet, booklet or guide Email newsletter Forums / peer-to-peer exchange 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%
  17. 17. 17 Generating Leads: Company Size n=315 Top-two box unweighted On a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (very likely), how likely are you to provide your contact information to download, subscribe to or access these kinds of content? Larger SMBs are more willing to provide their contact info than smaller SMBs Infographic Blog White paper Audio podcast E-book Video Webcast Analyst report Article Case study Interactive tool (e.g., calculator, quiz) Checklist / worksheet Printed sheet, booklet or guide Email newsletter Forums / peer-to-peer exchange 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 1-19 20-99 100-500
  18. 18. 18 Where SMBs Find Content: Company Size n=315 Top-two box unweighted On a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (very likely), please rate how likely you are to find marketing content on these sites. SMBs are most likely to find marketing content on a news sites and resource centers Slideshare Twitter YouTube LinkedIn Facebook On a marketer’s site (e.g., your bank, American Express OPEN, AT&T, Dell, Intuit, Staples, Microsoft etc.) Elsewhere on the Internet (e.g., news sites) 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 1-19 20-99 100-500
  19. 19. 19 Preferred Sources n=315 Top-two box On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much), in general, how much do you want business advice / marketing content from these industries / organizations? SMBs most want content from their peers, followed by their CPA Overnight package delivery companies Rental car companies Credit card companies Airlines Cellphone companies Hotels Employee recruiting sites / temp agencies Alternative lenders Phone (i.e., non-cellphone) companies Payroll service providers Energy (gas, electric) companies Office supply stores / print centers Social media companies Retirement plan providers Local technology solution providers Insurance providers State / local government Software companies Banks Internet access providers / website hosts Marketing services Technology hardware manufacturers Your CPA Other small business owners 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
  20. 20. Overnight package delivery companies Credit card companies Rental car companies Airlines Cellphone companies Employee recruiting sites / temp agencies Hotels Alternative lenders Payroll service providers Phone (i.e., non-cellphone) companies Energy (gas, electric) companies Office supply stores / print centers Retirement plan providers Social media companies Local technology solution providers Banks Insurance providers Software companies State / local government Internet access providers / website hosts Marketing services Technology hardware manufacturers Your CPA Other small business owners 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 1-19 20-99 100-50020 Preferred Sources: Company Size n=315 Top-two box unweighted On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much), in general, how much do you want business advice / marketing content from these industries / organizations? Larger SMBs also want content from tech solution providers
  21. 21. 21 Effect of Content Marketing: Company Size n=315 Top-two box unweighted On a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), please rate these statements. Content can drive traffic, transactions and trust I want to be contacted by the sponsoring company I provide false contact information to prevent companies from contacting me I am more likely to buy from a vendor whose site has business management tips and advice After I have read or viewed marketing content (after providing my contact information), I have a better feeling towards the company that sponsored it I am more likely to visit a vendor's site if it has business management tips and advice I am more likely to explore a vendor's site if it has business management tips and advice I am more likely to think favorably of a vendor whose site has business management tips and advice I am more likely to do business with the sponsoring company after reading or viewing their marketing content I am more likely to make a purchase if the marketing content links to product information After I have read or viewed marketing content (without having to provide my contact information), I have a better feeling towards the company that sponsored it I am more likely to provide contact information from my PC / laptop than my smartphone / tablet If I provide my contact information, the sponsoring company will contact me By providing my contact information, I give the sponsoring company permission to contact me 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 1-19 20-99 100-500
  22. 22. Content Marketing to SMBs: 7 Tips Test different formats and topics • Topics relevant to your industry / brand • By persona • Across the sales cycle Know your audience(s): title, company size, industry, pain points Include sales and event support content in your editorial plan Design content to support search Plan for cross-promotion: on site, via email, in social media Focus marketing content on tech, and marketing • Support the whole sales cycle • Relevant, actionable, ideally industry-specific • Newsletter and resource center for VSB; research for MB 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 22 Ensure your content is unique and actionable • Easy to understand • Industry-specific, as possible
  23. 23. How Bredin Can Help 23 • Planning: Persona, mapping, ed cal • Creation: Unique, high value • Exclusive SMB focus • Foundational: Persona, media preferences • Executional: Designed to support high-value content creation Content Research
  24. 24. For More Information 24 Stu Richards, CEO stu@bredin.com Twitter: @BredinInc ✔ ✔ ✔ Email me for a copy of this report Get the full report at bit.ly/2lxzAEv Join me for our next Fastcast, SMB Purchase Intent and Contact Preferences, at 1pmE on Thursday March 30
  25. 25. Sample Characteristics
  26. 26. 39% 27% 23% 10% Sample Characteristics Owner, Founder, Manager, Partner, CxO, etc. 100%Title Principal 26 Industry PS: Educational services, Finance & insurance, Health care & social assistance, Information technology, Management of companies & enterprises, Professional services RW: Accommodation & food service, Arts, Entertainment & recreation, Real estate, rental & leasing, Retail trade, Transportation & warehousing, Wholesale Trade M: Construction, Manufacturing, Mining, Scientific & technical services, Utilities Other: Administrative, support, waste management & remediation service, Other services (except public administration) n=315 n=315
  27. 27. 51% 49% Male Female 25% 32% 43% 18-34 35-49 50+ 27 Age Gender n=315 n=315 Sample Characteristics
  28. 28. 37% 32% 32% 1-19 Employees 20-99 Employees 100-500 Employees 24% 26% 50% 0 to 5 Years 6 to 10 Years More than 10 years 28 Company Size Years in Business n=315 n=310 Sample Characteristics
  29. 29. 38% 32% 24% 3% 3% Up by 10% or more Up, by less than 10% Same as 2015 Down, by less than 10% Down by 10% or more 29 2016 Revenue Growth n=315 2015 Revenue 39% 15% 46% Less than $500k $500k to $999k $1M+ n=314 Sample Characteristics
  30. 30. 30 Region n=315 Midwest 20% West 26% South 36% Northeast 19% Sample Characteristics
  31. 31. Thank You

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