Small Businesses Poised to Triple Website Spending

By Margalit Gould

Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm specializing in advertising and media strategies, recently reported that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) spent approximately $6.7 billion in interactive advertising during 2008, accounting for more than half the US total. Borrell speculates that this upwards trend will continue, particularly with respect to the online forum. As evidence, in 2008, SMBs allocated 11% of their advertising expenditures to online media, a boost from an average of 4% just three years earlier.

However these marketing expenses are increasingly related to investments in firms’ websites – technology and design – rather than online advertising such as banner ads, which are on the decline. Additionally becoming exceedingly important to SMBs is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Borrell forecasts increases in this type of spending, from 8% in 2008 to 18% in 2013.

Borrell surveyed SMBs to discover what online source performs most strongly for the firms. 56.8% of respondents stated that search engines are the most effective, and as such, spending related to SEO and “non-advertising” marketing is expected to triple, reports Borrell.

There are a plethora of online marketing options for SMBs, including listings in online directories, acquiring a fitting domain name, bidding for keywords on search engines, setting up email marketing campaigns, and purchasing display ads. However, it is important for an SMB to do its homework to find out how it can stand out from the competition.

The Weight of Keywords in Domain Names

By Margalit Gould

A recent survey published in Search Engine Journal (SEJ) revealed that 51% of people “notice [keywords in domain names] all the time.” This reinforces the conspicuous nature of keywords in the online community and suggests the continued importance that keywords play in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEJ writer Ann Smarty argues that there should be less emphasis on keywords in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) because, “Today it is almost impossible to get hold of any ‘exact match’ domains that wouldn’t be too long or pointless.”

Of course this was very interesting to us at Root Orange!  We think Ms. Smarty would be excited to know it is now possible for any business to use an “exact match” domain using our patent-pending domain technology.   Google will always rank keywords highly in domain names and Root Orange allows businesses to use that to their advantage with our products.  Small businesses around the country (and world) can now use generic domains to drive exclusive, local traffic to their websites.  Sorry to get sales-y out of the blue but it’s hard to resist with such a tantalizing survey!

The Role of Social Media in Small Business Marketing Spending

By Tiffany Simms

Increasingly, small business managers are noticing the changing tide of internet marketing heavily rooted in social media and email. Not only does this medium offer greater exposure to a customer base, but it’s also much cheaper than traditional means of print, television, and radio advertising. To illustrate just how businesses of every size are capturing the social media revolution, Swedish furniture giant IKEA, launched a highly successful low-cost photo-tagging promotion on Facebook due to a limited advertising budget for the opening of their store in Malmo, Sweden.

By allowing Facebook friends to compete for first place in tagging furniture in uploaded pictures (and thus win the item), the company built a viral marketing campaign that generated tremendous advance buzz for the new location.

Research Proves Change

According to eMarketer.com, “Campaigner and Hurwitz & Associates studied small businesses with 20 employees or fewer in July 2009 and found 28% of those that used e-mail marketing considered it an inexpensive and effective way to reach new customers.”

Coupled with the research cited in our earlier blog post “The Best Marketing May Be the Cheapest,” where it was noted that consumers spend 23% of their time consuming media online, business owners’ affinity for cheap and functional social and email marketing campaigns has led the reallocation of marketing dollars. Even in a slow economy, the chart above from eMarketer.com shows more than 70% polled plan to increase their email and social media spending.