Reviews, website content and SMB trends in 2019

Last week, we hosted a webinar with our friends at SOCi on “How Reviews, Social and Website Content Impact SEO” which are just some of the trending marketing topics that SMBs need to consider in 2019. Today’s ever-evolving digital landscape is a struggle for small business owners to successfully navigate on their own. 

So should they invest in digital marketing? And if so, what should they prioritize? In this blog post we take you through the key takeaways from the webinar, as well as the top trends from the latest reports in the industry.

Webinar recap

In the webinar, our Head of Marketing & Communication - Jillian Als, was joined by Monica Ho - Chief Marketing Officer at SOCi. They discussed some of the most impactful ways that digital service providers can guide their SMB clients to better optimize their digital presence, with the reality that ‘no click searches’ are on the rise as search results become richer.

Two important points from the webinar:

  • Monica highlighted that reviews and other social user-generated content are becoming increasingly important. In fact, 91% of consumers seek this information out when looking for local business. What’s more is that the volume of reviews play a key role in optimizing SMBs local search reviews. Although businesses are often more concerned with an average rating score of their reviews, the volume of reviews can be equally or in some cases more important.
  • Many platforms like Facebook and Google My Business are challenging the SMBs perception of a website, and leaving business owners wondering - do websites still matter? Jillian stressed that a website is the only media that SMBs truly own and control, making them an important authoritative source of data within the digital landscape. On the visitor-side, many consumers still rely on websites for in-depth information and as many as 63% of consumers used a company website in the past week as part of their digital media usage for local search. Websites may not always be the end destination, but are important part of the purchase path for consumers with a high intent to engage.

The ability to proactively and easily manage reviews and website content is a crucial part of any small businesses marketing strategy. Learn more by checking out the full webinar recording. But what about small businesses - do they agree? And are they putting their money where the experts say they should? 

SMB trends in 2019

The good news is that small business owners are putting a lot of focus on their digital presence, and many of them are in fact spending their marketing dollars where the experts recommend. According to the recent State of Local Marketing Report 2019 by Brand Muscle, websites and landing pages ranked as the highest priority this year, whilst the second top priority for SMBs is social media. This prioritization of websites and social shows that small business owners are well aware that investment into digital marketing can “make or break” their online success.

And this isn’t just a misled notion that they have. A recent report done by SOCi, showed that SMBs are experiencing better marketing success when engaging at a more localized level. Yet as SMBs are crunched for time, the SOCi report calls for businesses to manage their digital presence at the local level, to ensure their online reputation remains in tact.

Key takeaway

In a world where local search factors are rapidly changing, there is a strong need for SMBs to manage their online digital presence to drive user engagement. It’s no surprise that SMBs are keen to invest in digital, but with a lack of time comes a failure to make full use of that investment and this presents an opportunity for those selling digital marketing stack to SMBs. They do need a digital advisor to educate them on the most essential marketing tools necessary to reach and engage with their customers, and once in a while step in and help out.