The FINANCIAL -- ST. LOUIS. The majority of small businesses still see print Yellow Pages advertising as their most effective way to generate sales leads, but more are also eager to integrate effective Internet options into their overall marketing approach, according to a new, independent survey.
The nationwide survey of 1,000 small businesses shows that 63 percent currently advertise in a printed Yellow Pages directory, the most commonly named form of advertising among the respondents by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.
Of all the various forms of advertising that the respondents used, small businesses ranked the printed Yellow Pages first as the medium that generates the most calls from potential customers -- the No.1 reason small
businesses cited for taking out any ads at all. The survey was conducted by Utah-based Western Wats Data Collection Agency and was commissioned by AT&T.
The survey also shows that small businesses increasingly recognize the need to add online advertising to their mix. About 53 percent said they expect to buy online ads featuring videos within the next couple of years.
These businesses -- with 25 or fewer employees -- plan to explore an integrated approach to advertising, and the growth opportunities are strong: About 23 percent advertise online currently, and two-thirds have their own Web site.
"Consumers are still going to the book as their primary choice for local business information, but they're also searching online before they buy," said Frank Jules, president and CEO of AT&T Advertising & Publishing,
which publishes the AT&T Real Yellow Pages. "The survey shows that small businesses are addressing this reality in their marketing plans. To help navigate this changing landscape, we offer small businesses integrated
solutions that incorporate print, Internet Yellow Pages, search-engine marketing and Web site design with e-commerce capability."
The survey results align with current and emerging consumer-search trends. According to research by analyst firm The Kelsey Group, 61 percent of Americans say they still turn to the printed Yellow Pages as their
preferred way to find local business information. Thirteen percent named search engines as their most preferred source, and 7 percent named Internet Yellow Pages.
"It's a case of one plus one equals three," said Charles Stubbs, president and CEO of YELLOWPAGES.COM. "Today, consumers have more options than ever to search for local business information. Reaching the right
audience -- or the right business, if you're a consumer -- means being exposed to multiple media channels."