Panelists are bullish on small business ad potential, saying that with a growing number of firms entering the online marketplace, the Internet could see a rebirth of content as a new surge of advertisers hits the digital space.
Even with a slowly rebounding economy and sluggish ad sales, sales directors speaking at BIA/Kelsey’s ILM: 09 Conference Thursday were incredibly bullish about generating ad dollars with small businesses.
Court Cunningham, chief executive officer with Internet advertising site Yodle, is optimistic about small businesses entering into the online arena, saying that half of businesses he talks to don’t even have a Web site yet.
Adoption is in the early stages at small businesses, he said. Once it gets into full swing, Cunningham said he believes the Internet could see a rebirth of content as a new surge of advertisers hits the digital space.
WebVisible CEO and founder Kirsten Mangers and Andy Vogel, senior director of sales with the Los Angeles Times Media Group, both agreed, saying they’ve seen an upswing in small business involvement in online ad sales, and the amount of money being spent on those ads.
With that uptick, though, comes the fear of a high turnover rate in advertisers that might not see immediate results with something they may expect to be a panacea of sorts.
Cunningham said the churn rate of Yodle clients has increased, but he stressed that establishing a solid relationship with clients, and explaining the results in a way a less-than-Web savvy client will understand is critical. The first six months are crucial, he said.
Vogel said the Los Angeles Times Media Group offers seminars to try to educate prospective advertisers that might be unsure of how a multiple-platform ad campaign can play out in the business’ favor.
The Los Angeles Times Media Group is itself learning how these cross-platform sales are working. Vogel said the walls between sales groups have recently been demolished, and the ad sales teams now sell across all media, as opposed to having specific teams focusing on specific media, like print or mobile.
He said that the restructuring has forced a lot of training for his sales team, but his group is investigating new forms of marketing, specifically location-based.
He said the Times Group is rolling out a celebrity-sighting iPhone application next year that will be able to geo-target users for advertisements.