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137 billion. That’s how big the local media market is. Steve Marshall and Matt Booth highlighted findings from “Wave XV” of BIA Kelsey‘s Local Commerce Monitor during this morning’s session, “New Directions for Interactive Local Commerce.” Not surprisingly, there is a steady shift toward digital media, around 13 percent between now and 2015.

Speaking first, Matt Booth laid out the smb landscape.

Smb Landscape:

  • There are 27 million small businesses in the U.S. with a churn rate of 15 percent. Yellow Pages had the largest preponderance of smb advertisers with 3.5 million in the U.S.; however, that number is on the decline.
  • Individual smb spend is low with the use of media becoming increasingly fragmented. Therefore, sales forces have to sell more to retain spend level.
  • Cost of an onsite sales force is largely prohibitive, as it is difficult to scale.
  • Smb focus is shifting to long-term value, driving strategy and go to market plans.

Steve Marshall rounded out the discussion with data nuggets on smb websites, including cost-effective options for smbs in terms of sales and marketing.

VSplash, a managed digital services provider to smb aggregators, reseaerched a half-million smb websites around the world. Key results from its observations include:

  • Only 13 percent of smbs have a local phone number on home page.
  • Only 24 percent have an email address on the website.
  • 36 percent of websites are only a single page in length.

A key takeaway here is that there is a lot of online activity, but a big gap remains between top-level activity and the robustness of follow-through at a granular level. Finally, Steve outlined the top three cost-effective marketing and sales tips as 1) social/viral marketing, 2) self-serve and 3) connecting early to smbs in the business cycle.

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