More than half (52%) of SMBs say their total advertising budget is now being allocated to online advertising, with 37% of SMBs planning to increase their online advertising spending in 2006, according to a customer survey by online advertising network DirectoryM.
The survey found that an SMB's website is becoming a critical element of the marketing mix, with 62% of SMBs currently attempting to optimise their websites for search engines. Almost half said they also plan to add Cost-Per-Click advertising to their marketing mix in the future.
When asked how they measured the success of their online advertising, 78.6% of DirectoryM customers said that their key measure of success is "the number of leads they receive" while 52.4% cited "customer acquisition" or "monetary value of business closed".
According to Matt Booth, vice president and programme director of interactive local media for The Kelsey Group, "Our research shows that consumers are increasingly using the internet to find local businesses, representing a significant opportunity for SMB advertisers that embrace new media."
But even with planned increases in online advertising budgets and initiatives, 95% of SMBs still want to manage their own online advertising campaigns rather than working with an agency. While small business owners are eager to try new online marketing methods, they are also conscious of how much time they spend on managing their online campaigns.
The survey was conducted among a sample group of 128 of SMBs (small- to medium-sized businesses) in the US and UK, all of whom are DirectoryM advertisers.