By Rieva Lesonsky

Some holdouts may still be focusing their marketing efforts on traditional advertising. But the new U.S. SMB Spending Forecast by BIA/Kelsey reports that an increasing number of small and midsized companies (SMBs) are shifting their marketing budgets online.

By 2015, the study reports, 30 percent of SMBs’ marketing budgets will be spent on traditional advertising—a decrease from 52 percent in 2010. Here’s where the other 70 percent of their ad budgets will go:

  • Digital/online media (this includes mobile, social, online directories, online display ads and digital outdoor ads)
  • Performance-based commerce (this includes pay-per-click ads, daily deals and couponing)
  • Customer retention (this includes email, reputation management, websites, social marketing and appointment-setting tools)

What’s more, despite the recession, U.S. SMBs are planning to increase their spending on media, marketing and business solutions by 12 percent per year–from $22.4 billion in 2010 to $40.2 billion in 2015.

Within that overall amount, online/digital media spending will grow the most, increasing by 24.9 percent by 2015. By contrast, traditional advertising spending will remain pretty much flat between 2010 and 2015, growing at just 0.6 percent annually.

What does this news mean to your business? First, I will admit that not one size fits all. So if you find that your current mix of traditional advertising is working for you, then great. But if you are saying that without ever having tried digital methods, then I urge you to at least give them a try.

“Digital marketing” sounds intimidating, but all it really is is simple things like email newsletters, social media or building a basic website. These are things that in the 21st century, every business should be doing—and as the BIA study shows, most of them are. Why aren’t you?