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Nearly Half of Small Businesses Plan to Increase Marketing Spend

April 6, 2017

by Michelle Delgado

Senior Writer & Marketer, Clutch

A survey of 350 small business owners and managers shows optimistic revenue expectations, growing digital marketing budgets, and trends in social media, SEO, video, augmented reality, virtual reality, and more.

WASHINGTON, DC, April 6, 2017 — Amid a widely reported sense of optimism, 59% of small business owners expect their revenue to grow in 2017. With high expectations for future revenue, 49% of small business owners also plan to spend more on marketing and advertising, according to a new survey from Clutch, a leading B2B ratings and reviews firm.

Clutch’s 2017 Small Business Digital Marketing Survey included 350 small business owners and managers. The respondents serve as decision makers in their organizations, driving trends in digital marketing and the creation of new marketing jobs.

Plans to invest more in digital marketing came after reports of modest investment in 2016. Over half of respondents (68%) reported spending less than $100,000 on marketing in 2016, with 41% spending less than $10,000.

Among digital marketing options, small businesses are most eager to increase investment in paid social media (58%), a website (56%), email marketing (39%), and SEO (35%) in 2017.

Experts interviewed pointed to SEO strategies that prioritize local searches as a key trend to watch.

“[Local search] is the equivalent of coming across a brick-and-mortar store,” said Marisa Meddin, who left Pepsi’s marketing team in 2016 to reboot beloved Atlanta restaurant The Dessert Place as an ecommerce venture. “We don't need a ton of money--we just have to work smarter.”

Surprisingly, Clutch also found that 17% of small businesses are interested in investing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in 2017. Although high costs may limit the accessibility of AR and VR in 2017, emphasis on low cost video options such as Instagram stories provide small businesses with the opportunity to explore interactive digital marketing strategies.

“The cheapest solution for giving people a VR experience would be to take a camera, record a video and upload it to YouTube,” said Vlad Korobov, co-founder and COO of Live Typing, a web and mobile app development company.

Of the 350 small businesses surveyed, 335 employ in-house digital marketing staff. Many small businesses (49%) rely on 1 or 2 employees to produce digital marketing campaigns. 80% of small businesses surveyed do work with one or more digital marketing agencies, with the bulk (43%) working with one or two agencies.

This survey included 350 small business owners and managers in the United States. Clutch defined a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees. 40% of respondents were part of a business that had 10 employees or fewer. Nearly half (46%) of the small businesses surveyed reported total revenue 2016 equaling less than $1 million.

Read the full report and source the survey data here: https://clutch.co/agencies/digital/resources/small-business-digital-marketing-survey-2017  

For the raw data, a quotation on the findings, or an introduction to the expert interviewees included in the report, reach out to Michelle Delgado at mdelgado@clutch.co.

About Clutch

A B2B ratings and reviews firm in the heart of Washington, DC, Clutch connects you with the agencies and software solutions that can help you enhance your business and meet your goals. Our methodology maps agencies and software solutions based on customer reviews, the type of services offered, and quality of work.


Michelle Delgado


(202) 869-3866