Small Businesses Rely on Traditional Advertising While Embracing Online

December 19, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Local & Directories / Small Biz | Magazines | Newspapers | Telecom

Most small businesses still see print Yellow Pages advertising as their most effective way to generate sales leads, but many are also eager to integrate effective internet options into their overall marketing approach, according to a new survey of 1,000 small businesses.

Some 63% of small businesses (25 or fewer employees) advertise in a printed Yellow Pages directory, the most commonly named form of advertising among the respondents by nearly a two-to-one margin, the study commissioned by AT&T and conducted by Western Wats found.

Among the findings:

  • Of all the various forms of advertising, small businesses ranked print Yellow Pages as the medium that generates the most calls from potential customers – and the top reason small businesses cited for taking out any ads at all.
  • However, small businesses increasingly recognize the need to add online advertising to their mix: About 53% said they expect to buy online ads featuring videos within the next couple of years.
  • These businesses plan to explore an integrated approach to advertising, and the growth opportunities are strong: About 23% advertise online currently, and two-thirds have their own website.

“Consumers are still going to the book as their primary choice for local business information, but they’re also searching online before they buy,” said Frank Jules, president and CEO of AT&T Advertising & Publishing, which publishes the AT&T Real Yellow Pages.

“It’s a case of one plus one equals three,” said Charles Stubbs, president and CEO of YELLOWPAGES.COM. “Today, consumers have more options than ever to search for local business information. Reaching the right audience – or the right business, if you’re a consumer – means being exposed to multiple media channels.”

Additional findings on online advertising spending:

  • 20% expect to spend more on internet Yellow Pages.
  • 38% expect to spend more on internet banner ads.
  • 43% said they spent more on keyword-search traffic this year compared with last year, and 34% expect to keep increasing that spending next year.

Small businesses’ print-based advertising spending will remain strong as well:

  • 72% of businesses expect to spend the same amount on print Yellow Pages advertising next year, and 11% will spend more.
  • 19% of respondents also expect to spend more next year on newspaper and magazine ads – the second-most mentioned medium in the survey.

About the study: The respondents were concentrated in 10 areas from coast to coast – Atlanta, San Francisco, Charlotte, NC, Connecticut, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Milwaukee, Oklahoma and San Diego.

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