SMBs who wish to advertise online now have many options: vertical sites, local sites, search engines, traditional and new directories; SMB owners need only choose where they would like their business to appear. Online directories are a common choice for advertisers, and the group at Palore chose to examine the more traditional type of national directories such as Internet Yellow Pages.
We decided to focus on the south of the US for a change, rather than the top markets on the coasts. Looking at leading categories of SMBs in 3 major cities: Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio, our review covered over 500,000 businesses on leading directories. Out of these, we focused on the 10,700 businesses that advertised on traditional directories, and we checked if they perform other online activities. First, we examined how many of these advertisers dabble in other forms of online visibility and claimed their business profiles free of charge (either on search engines or on other online directories). See the chart below for the results:
As you can see, 30% (3,200) of the businesses we analyzed claimed their business profiles on other directories or on search engines.
Upon further examination, we found that an even larger percentage of these advertisers also advertised elsewhere, on local and vertical sites, as well as on search engines. See the chart below:
A majority of 65% (6,900) of SMBs who advertise on traditional online directories also advertise on other sites.
It is clear from the two charts above that most advertisers on traditional online directories also engage in other, either free or paid, activities to increase their online visibility. In other words, if you’re an advertiser on sites such as IYPs, odds are you’re also advertising and promoting your online presence somewhere else on the Web. By the way, this also applies to businesses that advertise primarily on local and vertical sites.
What is even more interesting is that of over 500,000 businesses we examined, we found that the vast majority of SMBs do nothing in terms of online advertising or visibility. SMBs are hard to get in the game, but once in, they try out different things.
Selling additional online services to that group of “low hanging fruit” SMBs is a common practice among online marketers. But the real challenge presented here is how to get all those SMBs that are still on the sidelines into the game – a challenge we face as an industry. What is the best way to get them involved? A group of SMBs we called “seekers” in our previous column, SMBs that don’t advertise online but do claim their business profiles, represent a bridge to this untapped group. I will be talking about this in further deatail at LeadsCon in March, where a group of industry experts will discuss ways to attract SMBs online.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.