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.