Bredin Report: How SMBs Promote Themselves

We recently surveyed 500 U.S. SMB principals to find out which media works best to find customers and where they’ll direct spending in 2024.

While the top tactics vary by company headcount, “company website” is consistently the best performer – it’s rated either first or second-most effective by all respondents. Word of mouth, email, and content marketing are in the top five most effective tactics for all size segments.

For SMBs with fewer than 20 employees (very small businesses, or VSBs), the top-performing marketing tactic is word of mouth. Email and content marketing are tied for third-most effective.

In companies with 20 to 100 employees (small businesses, or SBs), word of mouth is second, followed by email marketing. Respondents from businesses with 100 to 500 employees (midsized businesses, or MBs), report that email marketing is most effective, and content marketing is third.

Most Effective SMB Promotional Tactics
Most Effective SMB Promotional TacticsLooking forward, SBs and MBs will increase spending the most overall on their websites — not surprising, given how well they perform. VSBs will increase their promotional spending the most on word-of-mouth marketing.

It’s interesting that spending will increase more on social media relative to its performance — no social media platform was in the top five best-performing promotional tactics. For VSBs, spending will increase most on Facebook and Instagram; SBs, YouTube and X (formerly Twitter); and MBs, YouTube.

Marketing Tactics SMBs will Increase Spending on the MostMarketing Tactics SMBs will Increase Spending on the Most

Are you looking for deeper insight into your target SMB?
Bredin’s global research gives you in-depth, actionable insights to improve your go-to-market, product, pricing, UX, and other strategies. We also conduct research to generate uniquely valuable data for high-impact content, PR, social, and sales support programs.

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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.