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By David Waxman

While much has been discussed about the impact of the Internet on local businesses in recent years, 2007 should be the year that local businesses fully embrace useful online tools in order to market their business more effectively, efficiently and affordably.

Internet advertising is already invaluable for businesses. Over the past two years, local/small businesses have increased their use of e-mail lists by almost 60 percent, banner ads by more than 50 percent and keywords by more than 40 percent. In addition, during this time, the use of certain advertising media, such as radio, local shopper guides and the Yellow Pages, decreased by more than 20 percent.

However, the news is not all bad for traditional channels, especially television. Two-thirds of small businesses are interested in advertising on television, but in the past year, less than 15 percent of those polled had done so, because it was assumed to be out of their price range. In addition, 77 percent said it is “too expensive to buy the time on air” or “too expensive to develop advertisements” themselves. However, the research findings show that small businesses would prefer to advertise on TV over radio, newspapers, magazines and Internet keywords.

The introduction of new technologies together with wider broadband penetration have effectively leveled the marketing playing field for local businesses due to the affordability of services that were once only available to deep-pocketed national companies. The barrier to entry has also been lowered, not just with new media – such as online advertising – but with traditional media (i.e. radio and television) as well. Now, advertising services that used to be labor intensive, such as media planning, have become increasingly automated with the advent of the Internet.

This is why we founded Spot Runner, the world’s first Internet-based advertising agency. Here are two case studies that illustrate how local business owners can take advantage of the new online tools, including Spot Runner, that are available to get a leg-up in the marketing game and revamp their business strategies in 2007 and beyond.

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David Waxman is Co-Founder, Vice President of Creative Services and Marketing, and a Director of Spot Runner.
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