Indentifying Potential SMB Advertisers

Palore’s Hanan Lifshitz writes an interesting column at SEL in which he says that the best sales prospects for publishers seeking to attract SMB ad dollars are those local businesses that are either already advertising elsewhere or those who’ve claimed online profiles but aren’t yet advertising online.

These folks have taken affirmative action to correct and “own” their information online, at a minimum, or are already experimenting to varying degrees with online advertising and are open to further opportunities:

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.

To identify patterns, Palore examined half a million businesses on leading directory sites in three US tier 2 markets: Atlanta, Dallas and San Antonio.

For those without a “feet on the street” sales force, what the analysis implies is a simple service that manages SMB information across multiple sites and offers a low cost or free “entry level” product that helps businesses claim and update their listings on a number of top local destination sites and in the commercial databases. This would then offer an “upsell” opportunity for an online ad product.

This is along the lines of what GetListed and a couple others are seeking to do in different ways.


2 Responses to “Indentifying Potential SMB Advertisers”

  1. David Mihm Says:

    Greg, thanks for yet another mention of 🙂 Our focus is strongly on free listings & tips for promoting those listings. However, as you point out, there are a number of database products which we recommend on our “Enhance Your Listing” page, principally Universal Business Listing and Localeze.

    We encourage search marketers to use our tool to discover information about SMB’s in their hometowns who aren’t doing a good job of creating their online presence, however. These folks could certainly use outreach from qualified search marketers, as I pointed out in my SEL column last month.

  2. earlpearl Says:

    Interesting analysis. I sold into the smb world and now run smbs. Getting the attention of smb operators is tough no doubt. They are focused on their own businesses and don’t know tons about different media. The ultimate decision is how effective does this particular media draw customers into my business.

    The easiest way to find new smb customers is to find those already doing something in that venue. Palore’s study and logic makes sense…and it worked in the past for other types of services/sales….it should work for increasing selling web marketing services into smbs.

    I strongly suggest smb’s should take initial control of their web efforts through their own website first and get it at least initially optimized for reasonable local/reasonable phrases. That first website neither be fancy or expensive. Then start experimenting with the alternative services out there.

    Meanwhile, I scheduled a meeting with an AT&T web product sales person. Sort of funny. I had two calls from 2 different sales people. Very effective sales pitches on the phone. Hadn’t set up a meeting. When the first one called back I mentioned the 2nd sales person by name……the response….”I called you first”….LOL

    All this stuff is soooooooo sales driven. Hey….sales folks…deliver something to me. 😉

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