Check out our latest SEL column on how to find the right market and vertical for launching new services for SMBs, featuring a chart that shows the penetration of SMB advertisers on leading IYP sites in 8 verticals, covering 8 major cities: http://searchengineland.com/where-is-the-opportunity-17232.

I’ll be speaking about Local Search and Local Advertising at the LeadsCon conference, March 4-5, 2009.

I’ll be in Vegas for LeadsCon and then in LA, where I’ll be attending Kelsey’s Marketplaces 2009, March 16-18, 2009.

Our latest Search Engine Land column discusses how “SMBs Claim Their Online Business Profiles”. In this post we present a new target group of SMBs we call “Seekers”, SMBs who haven’t quite made the leap to online advertising, but are performing some kind of online activity.

Interested, informed, not quite sold but not adverse to buying, seekers are SMBs who may just prove to be great prospects for new online ad products. Armed with some knowledge of online advertising, they may just need a little help from the professionals to start engaging in more elaborate online marketing activities, and more importantly, to start spending money. Initial tests show they do indeed convert better than the average sales lead, and with up to 10% of SMBs falling in this category, there may be quite an opportunity here.

We’ve been collecting and analyzing ad spend data of SMBs on various local, vertical and IYP sites for over a year. Last month we started looking at SMBs who also advertise on search engines (i.e. businesses who bought PPC ads on search engines).  

We looked at over 3000 SMBs who advertise online, on different websites, out of which we focused on 300 businesses who also advertised on search engines in the past 5 months. The chart shows the average monthly ad spend of SMBs on search engines over a period of 5 months.

search-engine-ad-spend-of-smbs1

The dramatic drop represented in the chart is probably larger than the actual drop in local search ad budget since we filtered out nationwide chains and all SMBs with more than one office location. The businesses represented in the chart are small businesses where the decision making process is swift, as opposed to large corporations, who have a longer decision making process. Additionally, changes in advertising patterns/behavior appear more quickly when it comes to PPC since PPC campaigns can be modified at any give time, unlike annual advertising contracts.

We cannot be sure of the cause for the significant decrease in dollars spent in the months of September and October. However, we did happen to come across another chart, the similarity of which to our own cannot be ignored…

 nasdaq3

A couple of months ago we published a chart that suggested that SMBs who claim or update their business listings on various online directories advertise more than those who do not. In a recent sales leads project for a customer we looked at businesses from various categories in the Denver metropolitan area and examined another feature of online presence of SMBs – whether or not the advertisers have websites.

We looked at over 2,800 Denver auto dealers and repair shops. Below is a chart that represents the breakdown of advertisers, with and without a website, to low, medium, and high-end spenders.

 
The above chart suggests that businesses with websites spend more on online advertising than businesses without websites. Indeed, we have recently been receiving feedback from our clients, who are finding it easier to sell online advertising services to SMBs who have websites.
 

We’re very happy and honored to have been invited by Search Engine Land to take part and contribute to their weekly column on Small and Medium Businesses, Small Is Beautiful.

Our first column was published a couple of weeks ago, and we’ll have a new one coming out once a month. We hope you follow the column and let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see there. Our next post is scheduled to be published October 2nd.

A couple of weeks ago, at SMX Local & Mobile in San Francisco, our CEO, Hanan Lifshitz, presented some of our data pointing to various opportunities for online marketers who provide services for SMBs.
 
For creating the following chart we looked at over 6,000 businesses on leading online directories, from these categories: beauty & fitness, photographers, landscapers and limousine services. The chart shows ad spend information on LA & SF online advertisers from the above categories. 
 
 
Note that since there are advertisers who pay a monthly fee for a placement package or various features in addition to a PPC add, the total of this chart is a little over 100%.
 
The information for the above chart was collected while working on a sales leads project for one of our customers. We provide ad spend and advertising package information to companies who sell online marketing services directly to SMBs. Our customers find that knowing how much SMBs spend on online advertising and what kind of products they purchase can dramatically improve sales conversion rates. For example, companies that sell high-end online ad services, like video, found it’s very effective to target SMBs who are already spending more than $300 a month on online advertising.
 
For more about Palore’s Sales Leads Service or for ordering a custom project, contact us here.
 
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