In part 1 of our SMB market overview, we looked at the size and scope of the huge and diverse SMB segment.

Let’s continue with a dive into the basics of business formation and funding sources, and a snapshot of the overall SMB contribution to the U.S. economy.

What are the most typical SMB business types?

The most common types of SMB business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability corporations (LLCs), C corporations, and S corporations. Each differs in amount of taxes the owner pays, and the personal liability for the owner. A sole proprietorship is perhaps the easiest to form, but does not create a separate…

In our research, we tend to get into the weeds on a whole range of very specific aspects of the SMB market. However, it’s worth pulling back occasionally to ensure you have good context for thinking about the huge and diverse SMB segment, and aren’t overlooking any key segments or marketing opportunities. If you or any team members are new to the SMB segment, it’s also useful to have an “SMB 101” style overview.

To that end, here are a few essential basics on the SMB market.

What is an SMB?

The short answer is, whoever represents the most profitable target for your business…

Resource centers — like the American Express OPEN Forum, the FedEx Small Business Center, the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Resource Center and the Microsoft U.S. SMB blog — are powerful tools to attract and engage small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). They can also represent a significant investment in content development and promotion.

With the competition out there — dozens of resource centers target SMBs — and the expense of a resource center, what should you be doing to maximize the payback on your SMB resource center? If you don’t have one, should you, and how should you optimize it?


Engaging SMBs with Email Newsletters for and Use linkedin post
Engaging SMBs with Email Newsletters for and Use linkedin post

Have you left your email newsletter strategy on autopilot? If so, you aren’t alone. With all the innovations in social media, interactive content, and mobile, many marketing teams are focused on what’s changing, and have taken a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to email marketing.

But perhaps your newsletter is worth a lot more attention than you’re giving it. Our latest survey of 312 principals of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) shows that they strongly prefer email newsletters for keeping in touch with vendors like you — much more than by social media. …

We’ve had increasing interest from our clients in developing interactive content elements to engage small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Increasing B2SMB use of these tools — ranging from easy-to-navigate white papers to quizzes, calculators and configurators — is consistent with general trends in interactivity. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 79% of marketers plan to use more interactivity this year than last, and fully 87% agree that interactive elements are more effective than static content at engaging their audience.

What is interactivity?

There are lots of different kinds of interactive content. The one unifying theme is that they are not “flat” — like…

As a marketer to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), your company is very likely using social media to drive awareness and engagement, enhance your brand, nurture prospects and even close sales. If so, you’re probably facing a key challenge of social media marketing: developing impactful content to generate bottom-line results.

To find out how you can boost SMB engagement with your social media, we recently surveyed 386 U.S. SMB principals.

Why do SMBs visit vendor social media?

In general, SMBs are most likely to visit your social media presence — for example on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and elsewhere — to learn about your offerings. That’s true of…

One of the biggest challenges our clients in SMB marketing have is collaborating with their sales colleagues to develop effective sales materials. A key part of this challenge is knowing exactly what SMBs want from a salesperson, and when to engage with them.

To find out how you can better connect with SMBs via sales content, we recently surveyed 386 U.S. SMB principals.

When do SMBs want to hear from a salesperson?

You may have seen research that B2B buyers are anywhere from 60% to 85% or more along the path to purchase before they want to engage with a salesperson. While that may be broadly true, there is…

As a marketer to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), your company is probably using content marketing to drive awareness and engagement, enhance your brand, nurture prospects, close sales and retain customers. If so, you’re probably facing a key challenge of content marketing: getting SMBs to share content with their peers

To find out how you can get SMBs to share your content more, we recently surveyed 493 U.S. SMB principals on their content sharing habits. Join us for a thirty-minute fastcast at 2pm Eastern on Thursday, April 27 to get the answers to these questions:

Who shares content?

The bigger the company, the…

What do small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) plan to purchase, or to do, this year and next? What would they do with extra cash? How long does the purchase process take for different product categories? How do SMBs want marketers like you to contact them to make a sale?

To answer these questions — and many more — we recently surveyed 493 U.S. SMB principals. …

How does marketing content affect small and mid-sized business (SMB) visits to your site, their likelihood to buy and their perception of your brand? What business challenges do SMBs seek help with? What topics are SMBs most interested in learning about? What content formats do they want from marketers? From whom do they most want content? Where are they most likely to find it? What do they like best (and least) about marketing content? What kind of content is most likely to generate a lead?

To answer these questions, we recently surveyed 315 U.S. SMB principals. The results are instructive…

Stu Richards

CEO of Bredin, a marketing consultancy that helps Fortune 500 firms develop profitable, long-term relationships with small businesses.

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