SMBs typically don't have big advertising budgets. So they often rely on inexpensive outlets like the Yellow Pages or on simple word-of-mouth.
However, a growing number of SMBs are finding a cost-effective Internet model in pay-per-click advertising, which requires companies to pay only when a consumer clicks on an Internet ad that directs the consumer to the company's Web site.
Obviously, this strategy won't work for SMBs that don't yet have Web sites, and to truly maximize the value, SMBs need to build or buy expertise in selecting appropriate keywords and other ways of driving clicks.
But companies featured in a recent SFGate.com story are getting lots of bang for their ad dollar bucks. One example: A California pet-sitter snares about 40 new clients a year with pay-per-click ads, which cost him only about $75 a month.
In addition to the low cost, pay-per-click makes it easy for SMBs to find qualified leads and to assess the effectiveness of ads. They can also tweak or stop campaigns any time they want, obviously not an option with the Yellow Pages or other traditional forms of media.