Small-Business Marketing Statistics and Trends

Social media, online reviews and email are some of the major players in the small-business marketing space.
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Written by Maddie Shepherd
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Nerdy takeaways
  • 47% of small-business owners run their marketing efforts themselves.

  • 81% of shoppers research online before purchasing.

  • 75% of local-intent mobile searches result in in-person store visits within 24 hours.

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Whether you’re a small-business owner handling your own marketing strategy, a freelance marketer hoping to keep on top of trends or a consumer hoping to become more marketing literate, small-business marketing statistics offer valuable insight.

The following numbers can give you an idea of the ins and outs of what it takes to effectively market a product or service when you don’t have the brand recognition that larger businesses are able to rely on.

Marketing statistics for small business

41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue

Though social media is often only valued for its brand-awareness capacities — and, indeed, 44% of businesses depend on it for that purpose — 41% of small businesses also rely on social media to drive revenue.

74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions

Just under three-quarters of consumers rely on information they access through social media, such as comments and reviews, to guide their purchasing decisions, according to Digital Marketing Magazine.

96% of small businesses use social media in their marketing strategy

Given how much of the population uses social media, it's wise that 96% of small businesses involve social media in their marketing strategy in some way.

For instance, more than 200 million businesses globally leverage Facebook's tools.

Customers who engage with a business on social media spend up to 40% more with them in the long term

According to a study run by the global consulting company Bain & Company, customers who have engaged with a business on social media spend 20% to 40% more money with that business in the long term than other customers. They also found that these customers are also more likely to demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to the companies they’ve interacted with through social media.

81% of shoppers research online before purchasing

Whether they purchase online or in-store, 81% of shoppers will research the product or service online before buying.

This means that the majority of customers are gaining valuable context through pricing, reviews and general business information on the web.

60% of consumers begin their product research with a search engine

Over half of consumers will start their research on a search engine before navigating to a particular website, according to the same Sivi data. This means that customer research will be dictated by the first few results that they come across for a given search term.

75% of local-intent mobile searches result in in-person store visits within 24 hours

If you needed a reminder to keep your business profiles on platforms like Google, Yelp and Facebook accurate, three-quarters of local-intent mobile searches result in the searcher visiting a local business within 24 hours, according to Acquisio, a marketing software provider.

92% of business owners believe that having a website is the most effective digital marketing strategy

Business owners agree that having a website is the top strategy for digital marketing, according to software marketplace G2. Consider building an e-commerce website to sell your products or services online.

45% of brick-and-mortar buyers read reviews before making a purchase

Brick-and-mortar establishments need to pay attention to online reviews just as much as online businesses. In fact, 45% of consumers who make a purchase at a brick-and-mortar business will read online reviews before pulling the trigger.

Though you can’t always control what online reviews your business receives, be sure to respond in a respectful and productive manner, and don’t let a review — positive or negative — go unanswered.

Prior online research led to 13% greater in-store spending among omnichannel shoppers

Once a customer has decided that the information they found online about your business is up to their standards, they’re likely to spend more because of that information, according to a 2016 study by the Harvard Business Review. These same customers logged 23% more repeat shopping trips to the same retailer’s stores than other customers in the six months that followed their initial omnichannel experience, according to the same study.

47% of businesses spent less than $10,000 on digital marketing

Almost half of businesses spent less than $10,000 on digital marketing in a year, according to 2018 data. Additionally, only 25% of business spent $10,001 to $100,000 a year on digital marketing, and 26% of businesses spent over $100,000 a year on digital marketing.

92% of small-business reviews that consumers shared online were positive

Small-business customers tend to leave positive reviews, according to 2017 data from KPMG, so don’t be afraid to ask your customers to review your business, products or services. Of course, every review isn’t guaranteed to be amazing, but your chances for good reviews are even better if you emphasize customer service.

Email is the top marketing tool used by small businesses

At 54% use, email marketing is the most-used marketing tool used by small businesses, according to Blue Corona data. This is followed by business websites (51%) and social media (48%).

Email marketing’s average ROI is $36 for every $1 spent

According to data from Litmus, a well-executed email campaign can yield an average return on investment of $36 per $1 spent.

47% of small-business owners run marketing entirely on their own

Almost half of all small-business owners run their marketing efforts entirely on their own, according to Blue Corona data. While many small businesses may have tight budget and resourcing constraints, marketing software can help you automate your marketing tasks for a monthly or annual fee.

More small-business data from NerdWallet

A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.