Constant Contact recently conducted a survey to identify small businesses marketing pain points, in time for the UK’s first-ever Small Business Saturday on 7 December. What we found (and this won’t come as a shock to those of you running a small business!) is that small business people are dividing their time across a broad spectrum of tasks to keep their business going. They’re wearing a lot of hats—acting as customer service representative, business operations manager, sales person, and more for their organisation.
What did come as a surprise was the lack of time small businesses devote to tasks related to future growth. Overall, only eight per cent of the respondents’ time per month is spent on marketing/promotions, eight per cent on technology, and seven per cent on business planning.
Meanwhile, tasks related directly to the day-to-day maintenance of their business took up the majority of their time: 20 per cent of time per month is spent on operations, 19 per cent spent on customer service, 16 per cent of time is used handling accounting/finance of the business, and 13 per cent is spent on sales.
Slow adoption curve for marketing technologies
Given that only 8 per cent of time is spent on marketing/promotions, it is understandable that the use of marketing technologies is low across the board. Case in point: almost one third of small businesses in Great Britain do not have a website for marketing.
So why not outsource marketing responsibilities?
While there are many marketing activities that are getting neglected, those surveyed reported wishing they had more time to focus on them. Outsourcing marketing tasks like a logical alternative, however many are not outsourcing. Why? There is a perception that they cannot afford to: 28 per cent report they cannot afford to outsource local print adverts, 23 per cent report not being able to afford to outsource search engine optimisation (SEO), and 22 per cent report not having the monetary means to outsource social media marketing.
Many also expressed the belief that they have the skills internally to handle certain tasks—but having the skills doesn’t always mean having the time. This was given as a reason for not outsourcing by 65 per cent for SEO, 60 per cent for social media marketing, and 61 per cent for online/banner adverts.
The good news
Small business owners do see value in outsourcing certain tasks that require some technological savvy. Forty-four per cent reported outsourcing SEO, and 33 per cent got outside help for their website. The truth is, outsourcing can be an affordable and effective option for small businesses—especially considering the valued time they would earn back. Constant Contact has 400-plus UK-based small business marketing consultants who provide support to many of our customers and they tell us that many of them breathe a sigh of relief when they realize outsourcing is an affordable, viable option for their business.