Focusing on local prospects can help SMBs succeed.

A report from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business found that small business owners expect investment in web marketing to continue moving forward. Encouraged by their success and prospects’ use of the web, SMBs will focus on search optimization, social media marketing and other internet channels.

Social is among the channels SMBs are most actively looking into, according to the report. Small businesses in the B2B sector expect to spend as much as 19.1 percent of their budgets on social media marketing in the next five years.

Currently, Fuqua found that about 7 percent of marketing budgets are dedicated to social. As some outdated practices fall out of favor, social appeals to SMBs as a modern direct communication channel with prospects.

The study reveals that SMB spending on web marketing decreased during the recession. However, figures are increasing as the economy recovers and owners see greater value in focusing on a comprehensive web presence.

ContentLEAD recently reported that social media marketing‘s effectiveness goes beyond interactions with prospects on the platforms, themselves. Pairing social with content marketing can help SMBs distribute their custom content effectively while also creating social links to their website pages. This helps increase traffic, and site content optimized with calls to action can guide prospects through a conversion funnel.