Small companies ready to invest and grow 
Marketing is seen by respondents as crucial to growth

Small online businesses are set to turn on the taps of investment this year, with two thirds set to increase spending.

The top consideration for small companies is marketing, with 45 per cent set to boost marketing expenditure this year, according to a study by eBay

A quarter of small business owners (25 per cent) claim not to understand SEO, but three quarters (74 per cent) are of the view that social media can drive growth. 

Other investment priorities for small online businesses include expanding their product offer (35 per cent), improving customer service (12 per cent), boosting staff wages (11 per cent) and training or upskilling their workforce (10 per cent).

Nearly two thirds (61 per cent) rate understanding marketing and advertising as important when recruiting. This expertise is more sought after skill than other more traditional capabilities, including accountancy and financial knowledge (50 per cent) and having a degree (26 per cent).

The focus of small businesses on marketing could have a significant impact on the industry. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the average spend per SME on marketing is £24,000 per annum.

Gareth Jones, marketing director at eBay UK says, ‘At a time when many small businesses are expressing disappointment at the availability of funding, they are still savvy enough to know the ROI that increasing marketing spend can have on their bottom line. This is good news for the industry and the economy more broadly.”

Jones advises businesses to look beyond just their own website and social channels to understand the social experience of their existing and potential customers. 

He also encourages companies to ensure customers are exposed to your best products.

‘This used to be one of the main challenges with online shopping; if a consumer is not walking through a shop, how does a retailer engage them with their products without bombarding them with emails?’

Building a database, getting social media-savvy, and moulding your site to mobile are further pieces of advice. 

Further reading on business investment

See also: Owner’s salary

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