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SMBs Leverage Web And Social Media To Achieve Growth, Says Citibank

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/23/2012

Small businesses are becoming more willing to rely on digital sales and marketing strategies to connect with consumers.

For years, marketers have been pushing small businesses to embrace technology and multichannel marketing strategies to forge connections with consumers -- and according to a recent Citibank study, SMBs may finally be taking the multichannel message to heart.

SMBs Using Web and Social Media for Growth

Business owners recognize that marketing is an important ingredient in business growth. Although the vast majority (70%) of business owners use their company website for marketing purposes, more than 40% of small business owners now use social media channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) to reach consumers.

In the past, many businesses have utilized social media channels to create brand awareness, even though they struggled to understand the granular ways consumers used social media to engage with the brand. But a new generation of tools now gives companies the ability to track the impact of specific campaigns, ads and content that is shared in the social space. This allows companies to increase the ROI on their social media spend and is one of many factors contributing to small business growth.

"Although small business owners have been slower to adopt online marketing channels, they are clearly warming up to using these tools to target customers," said Maria Veltre, Managing Director, Small Business Marketing & Customer Experience at Citi. "They are seeing that social media platforms can be an efficient and cost effective means to increase awareness of their business, engage with customers and, ultimately, to drive growth."

At least part of the shift in SMB marketing tactics may be attributable to a growing awareness that online and multichannel tools offer cost-effective ways for small businesses to reach large segments of consumers.

"Today, the web is first place consumers go for information on products and services," said Tracey Weber, Managing Director, Internet and Mobile for North America Consumer Banking at Citi. "The perception is that these channels are expensive and time-consuming, but the reality is there are simple ways to reach current and prospective customers online. Small businesses have a great opportunity to leverage online tools and social media to market their businesses and to help drive growth."

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