Traditional vs. Digital Advertising Choices for Small Business Marketing

Traditional vs. Digital Advertising Choices for Small Business Marketing

Traditional vs. Digital Advertising Choices for Small Business Marketing

Gaining consumer visibility is a key element of success for small business owners who are seeking growth in operations and increased sales. With the many technological advances being made, digital advertising is becoming an increasingly important forum for developing public awareness of local and national organizations. Though traditional advertising methods are still often used, search engines are becoming the main means by which consumers find viable business products and services.

Traditional Advertising Methods

1. Phone Book Advertising

Phone book directories were once the ideal method for reaching local customers since they offered comprehensive distribution with ad placement options. Currently, however, these oversized books are often used as a doorstop, booster seats and recycling material and not a practical local business reference.

2. Newspaper Advertising

In the glory days of newspapers, in column ads and special inserts were a guaranteed method of reaching a huge distribution pool of potential customers. With digital mediums dominating the market however, these advertising venues are struggling to survive.

3. Direct Mailer Advertising

Similar to the large distribution pool once offered by newspapers, direct mailers are also able to reach many people within a zip code region. Since the direct mailers are sent as a mixture of offers and coupons though, ads are often delivered to people who will never sort through the conglomeration of pages, let alone buy the products offered.

Digital Advertising Methods

1. Email Campaigns

For businesses, which have relevant email addresses of paying customers, conducting email campaigns is a highly effective way of retaining clients and building brand loyalty. This method of advertising has a low-cost and is a possible technique for small businesses who are able to collect customer email addresses and permission for weekly or monthly updates.


2. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay Per Click ads account for 20-25% of the click-through rates during internet queries. Search engines will allow businesses to create and place an ad per keyword or keyword phrase, which can cost as little as five cents and up to $400 dollars each time the ad is clicked to reach the company website. The cost associated with the ad is highly dependent on the level of competition surrounding the target key words.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There are many marketing benefits associated with search engine optimization. This is the arena in which Boostability specializes, so I am partial to incorporating this into any small business marketing strategy.


  • SEO campaigns offer businesses high internet visibility for targeted keywords
  • It specializes in driving relevant traffic to business websites
  • SEO is cost effective and able to give the best returns on investments about new customer acquisition
  • SEO is considered a long term asset which can continue to give rankings and drive customers to the business while new markets are captured with extra key words
  • Organic listings, the focus of SEO campaigns, are the most trusted internet query results since search engines rank sites according to votes and a network of linking websites

4.  Social Media

Bargains, deals and special offers are the focus of social media which can sometimes allow notices to go viral. These can stimulate people into buying products and services, but does not necessarily translate into more business.

With the shift from traditional to digital advertising practices occurring rapidly, it is important for small businesses to capitalize on the broad customer pool and relevant target audiences available to garner public awareness and achieve desired business growth. Adapting to effective advertising trends and implementing better business techniques are key principles for maintaining a competitive edge within the consumer market to acquire needed visibility for continued growth.

Colton Miller
[email protected]

Colton is the Director of SEO Strategy at Boostability testing and defining the products and processes that make Boostability's customers successful. He has been a part of Boostability for over 7 years. Colton loves hanging out with his family and gaming. He runs a personal blog over at where he discusses gaming, life, and SEO.