More money will be spent on small business online marketing budgets in 2013 as companies continue to invest in content for websites, SEO, social media and email marketing.
Research by Sagefrog shows 44 per cent of organisations plan to spend more on their marketing activities next year, with 50 per cent anticipating their budgets will stay the same as in 2012.
Online marketing channels will be spent on heavily; content for websites and site development are the top priorities, followed by email and general online marketing.
Digital marketing channels are increasingly becoming a major source of sales leads, with online and email marketing outperformed only by referrals, and providing the best return on investment overall.
Almost 70 per cent of companies spend at least an hour on social media each week, with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter the most popular sites for businesses in B2B sectors.
Social media as part of a small business online marketing strategy
Small businesses are often more restricted than large corporations in terms of marketing budgets, which is why social media is such an attractive proposition.
However, even though it is free to join these networks, making the most of membership requires a significant investment in terms of time.
That is why it is important to not dive into social media headfirst; instead, small businesses should ensure they invest their resources in the channels that are most likely to yield results.
MediaCoach.co.uk director Alan Stevens also advises small businesses to keep a handle on social media. "They [need to] alert themselves to what customers are saying about them, listen very hard and then go where their customers go, and talk with their customers," he said.
Will you be increasing your content marketing investment in 2013?