Best SMB Customer Acquisition Channels, January 2015 [CHART]

Word-of-mouth (W-O-M) remains the the most effective marketing channel for generating new leads and customers, according to SMBs responding to a recent BrightLocal survey. Asked to choose from 12 online and offline channels, 28% indicated W-O-M to be their most effective, up from 26% the previous year. Online marketing channels – which appear to be gaining in appeal among respondents – comprised the next 3 most-effective. Specifically, 1 in 5 respondents reported that SEO is their most effective marketing channel, with 15% citing online local directories and 10% email marketing.

(For the purposes of the study, W-O-M was considered an offline medium. Social media was not among the marketing channel options listed.)

The importance of SEO is reflected in respondents’ perspectives concerning success metrics: search engine rankings emerged as a more prioritized metric than the number of customers walking through the door, although phone calls to the business are respondents’ most important metric. Read the rest at MarketingCharts.