A recent report from eMarketer (link good until Dec 23) cites recent surveys by Affinity Internet and Interland that show small businesses are keen to using online marketing, but also that there are barriers.
Online marketing was rated the second highest marketing medium after word of mouth. Despite its popularity over 30% of survey respondents cited cost as a barrier to marketing online and most report being only “somewhat or fairly knowledgeable on the subject.”
The Interland survey indicates that the most popular forms of online marketing for small businesses are email marketing and search engine optimization. While growing fast, podcasting and RSS were mentioned by only 10% of respondents.
I am am absolutely finding this to be true in our search marketing practice. Natural search engine optimization has easily provided the lowest cost per acquisition over any other online marketing method our clients have used. Email continues to be effective as well. Email is even more effective when combined with a blog and RSS feed.