PR and SEO don’t rate in top SME priorities

Websites and social media are top marketing priorities for SMEs, while PR and SEO come last.

That’s according to research by printing and design firm Snap, which identified the main challenges facing SMEs as they strive for growth.

It seems confusion abounds when it comes to allocating a marketing budget, and calculating which activities will yield the best return on investment.

For many SMEs, an investment in social media trumps PR as a top priority.

It was found that as business owners strive for growth in the next 12-months, the majority (60 per cent) are aiming to grow by 10-20 per cent.

Yet, most did not know how much they should spend to achieve it. Estimates ranged from 1 per cent – 30 per cent of annual turnover, with an average of 5% emerging.

It was also found that the company website is placed at the very top of the ‘essentials’ list, followed closely behind by business cards, referrals and word-of-mouth, face-to-face networking, promotional items and print collateral. Social media also rated strongly as a priority.

Surprisingly, it was the well-established marketing activities such as email blasts, search engine optimisation, and public relations that were not prioritised by the respondents.

Despite a website being demonstrably crucial to a small business, there is a clear trend towards ‘DIY’ with SME owner’s children, relatives or friends often tasked with creating them. Also featuring were overseas developers sourced online.

The size of business also had an impact on the amount of money invested in marketing. Small businesses (3-5 employees) averaged an annual investment of $25,000, while small-medium operations (11 – 50 employees) invested $107,000. Those businesses with more than 51 employees invested an average of $244,000 annually.

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