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If there’s one group of merchants that is likely to do its own advertising and promotion, it is those with only one employee, AKA “very small businesses” (VSBs), according to Wave 18 of BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor™ survey of small-and-medium businesses.

According to the survey, more than half of these VSBs chose to “do it myself” when purchasing online advertising, while only 24 percent chose any kind of paid assistance with “do it with me” or “do it for me” options. Still VSBs do remain open to managed services. LCM Wave 18 reveals that VSBs who use a third party (12.5 percent) pay an average $661 a year on maintaining and operating their online properties.


Economic necessity is one key reason behind the do-it-yourself nature of VSBs. More than 68 percent of the VSB respondents in our survey reported annual revenue of less than $100,000. While their average annual advertising budget is $4,252, four out of the five most popular channels used for advertising (Facebook pages, LinkedIn, websites and email marketing) are offered free or have low cost options.

Other business services that VSBs report they “DIY” include tracking sources of leads and monitoring customer comments. Opportunities exist with this group for low cost solutions (DIY or managed) for communicating with their customers and managing their leads/customer lists. Email marketing and online satisfaction surveys ranked high among advertising services they were considering using in 2015.

The VSB report released today is just the first peek into our LCM data by number of employees at SMBs. In the coming weeks we will be looking at mid-sized SMBs with under 10 employees, and even larger SMBs with between 10-99 employees.

Clients of the BIA/Kelsey Advisory Services can find the full Very Small Businesses spotlight report here. To learn more about our LCM survey, click here.

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