As part of this week’s Small Business Week,” one of its sponsors, the small business sales and automation company, Drip, is releasing the findings of a Small Business Conversion Marketing Report. Drip’s survey took place in March and included responses from over 1,000 small business decision makers.

As small business digital marketing has become more sophisticated (and for many small business owners,  confusing), the focus of digital marketing has to become more narrowly defined. For example, the term “conversion,” is now being used as achieving a specific goal of the marketer. (“Likes” or “Follows,” while important, are rarely a strategic goal.) To take a snapshot of how effective small businesses are not only generating leads but helping customers reach a desired conversion goal, Drip asked small business decision makers a series of questions.

Here are the highlights from Drip’s study.


1 | Which of the following is most challenging for your business?

Small businesses are likely to see customer acquisition as the primary hurdle. But significant numbers also struggle with other stages of the conversion-marketing cycle.















| 37.1% |
Turning contacts or visitors into customers










| 23.0% |
Capturing leads or subsc­ribers








| 22.0% |
Getting web traffic


| 7.9% |
Retaining customers

2 | If your business is planning to use digital marketing in the next year, what will be your primary goal?

Most small businesses will embark on digital marketing campaigns this year—and making direct sales is top on their minds.













| 28.6% |
Driving more sales






| 15.5% |
Colle­cting more leads or subsc­ribers






| 14.4% |
Building brand awareness




| 11.6% |
Getting started with digital marketing




10.1% |
Retaining more customers

| 3.6% |
Autom­ating our digital marketing






16.2% |
We won’t be using digital marketing

3 | Which of the following marketing assets does your business currently use?

Most businesses have a basic web presence—which these days includes social media. But a minority are using any other marketing assets.





























| 71.2% |
A website




























| 67.8% |
Social media accounts











| 27.7% |
Digital ads (PPC, display, or social)










| 26.4% |
Offline ads (such as print, TV, or mail)










| 23.2% |
Landing pages or stand­alone web pages








| 21.9% |
A blog




| 10.5% |
None of the above

4 | Does your business collect leads, subscribers, or contact information online?

Relatively few small businesses indicate they are generating leads or building their email lists online, although nearly half are making some kind of effort.













| 30.9% |
Yes, but it doesn’t bring in much business










| 26.3% |
No, but we’d like to








| 19.3% |
No, and we’re not planning to






| 13.6% |
Yes, and we get good results




| 9.9% |
No, because we don’t have a website

5 | Do you allow customers to make purchases, place orders, or book services on your website?

Despite small businesses’ focus on sales as a digital marketing goal, more than a quarter aren’t even planning to sell or book online.













| 28.7% |
No, and we’re not planning to










| 23.5% |
Yes, but it doesn’t bring in much business










| 19.0% |
No, but we’d like to






| 16.4% |
Yes, and we get plenty of business this way




| 12.4% |
No, because we don’t have a website

6 | What does your business primarily use to store contact info and follow up with leads and customers?

More than any other system, small business marketers are using their own email accounts to market to prospects and communicate with customers.













| 30.9% |
Indiv­idual email account (such as Gmail)




| 11.7% |
CRM platform (such as Sales­force)




| 9.4% |
Email marketing service (such as MailChimp)­
| | 1.6% | Marketing autom­ation tool (such as Marketo)






| 15.5% |
A different kind of online system






| 15.0% |
A different kind of offline system






| 16.1% |
We don’t keep track of this infor­mation

7 | What’s your favorite way to get ideas to grow your business?

Small business owners listen to their peers, but also to the internet. Blogs and websites are seen as a valuable source of business-growth and marketing information.













| 29.8% |
Talking to other business owners












| 28.2% |
Reading blogs and websites






| 15.9% |
Attending confe­rences or live events




| 10.3% |
Other media (e.g. books, perio­dicals, or TV)


| 6.4% |
Attending webinars or online events


| 6.0% |
Listening to podcasts

| 3.3% |
 Other 

8 | Which of the following terms would you be able to define?

A majority of small business owners are familiar with two conversion marketing basics: landing pages and conversion rates. Fewer are comfortable with CRM and automation technologies, and fewer still have picked up the language of sales funnels and inbound marketing.

























| 58.0% |
Landing page






















| 53.7% | Conve­rsion rate
















| 39.5% |
CRM














| 36.0% |
Marketing autom­ation












| 30.4% |
Sales funnel












| 27.8% |
Inbound marketing








| 21.9% |
None of the above

9 | About how many hours per week do you or your team spend on marketing?

Limited adoption of digital marketing technologies and concepts makes a lot of sense when you consider that half of small businesses devote less than 2 hours a week to all their marketing efforts.





















| 49.7% |
Under 2 hours










| 24.9% |
2–8 hours




| 12.1% |
8–16 hours


| 5.5% |
16–24 hours




| 7.9% |
More than 24 hours

10 | How would you describe the return on investment (ROI) you get from your marketing?

While nearly 40 percent of small businesses see either mildly or extremely positive ROI from their marketing, an equal number have no idea whether their marketing dollars are doing anything for them.

















| 39.3% | I’m not sure














| 33.7% |
Our marketing ROI is accep­table








| 21.5% |
Our marketing ROI is not accep­table


| 5.5% |
Our marketing ROI is extremely positive