Bredin Report: What Content Formats Drive Awareness?

One of the questions we get most often is which content formats work best at each stage of the sales cycle – and especially, which kinds of content moves SMBs into the top of the sales funnel.

To get the most current insights – on this and much more – we recently surveyed over 800 SMBs in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. We’ll present the insights on how SMBs learn about products and services for their businesses at 1pmE next Thursday, August 12.

The biggest takeaway: SMBs are most likely to learn about products and services for their business via articles and email newsletters. Articles are the most effective format for SMBs with under 100 employees, while email newsletters are most effective for SMBs with 100 to 500 employees.

Top 10 Awareness Formats by company size

How likely are you to first learn about products or services for your business via each of these specific content formats from vendors? N=862

Just over half of SMBs with under 20 employees (very small businesses, or VSBs) are very or somewhat likely to learn of new offerings via articles and email newsletters. A one-off email, for example from a vendor sales rep, is also effective, as is video on a vendor’s website, and a research report – i.e., peer insight, which is always compelling to SMBs.

Small businesses (SBs, 20-99 employees) also rate research reports highly for product and service awareness, after articles and email newsletters. In addition to one-off emails and video on a vendor’s site, SBs also rate webcasts and analyst reports highly.

Mid-sized businesses (MBs, 100-500 employees) rate email newsletters the highest for awareness, but have a three-way tie for second-most effective: articles, one-off emails, and research reports. Just below that are LinkedIn posts.

The least effective format, for all size groups? An infographic, although almost nine in 10 MBs still rate it as effective.

Content effectiveness ranges widely for VSBs – it’s a 37 percentage point range from the most effective format (article) to the least effective (infographic). For SBs, the range is 25 percentage points; for MBs, it’s only 10 percentage points. In other words, it’s critical to use the right formats to engage VSBs at the top of the sales funnel, while larger SMBs rely on a wider range of content formats to learn about products and services for their businesses.

While content format effectiveness varies greatly by company size, there is relatively little variability by country. U.S. SMBs rate articles the highest, while SMBs in Canada, the U.K., and Australia/New Zealand rate email newsletters most effective. The one format that stands out is checklists, which SMBs in Australia/New Zealand rate significantly higher than other SMBs.

Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs? Bredin can keep you up to date on evolving SMB needs and challenges through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, leads, conversion and revenue.

About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.