Where to Focus Your Business’s Ad Dollars in the New Year

By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur.com|December 15, 2011

The Internet is settling in and getting all comfortable in its new role as the reliable, go-to source for people looking for news and information about local businesses, especially restaurants and bars.

Newspapers — in printed form on the doorstep or newsstand, or on newspaper websites — also register as good sources for information about small businesses, as does word of mouth.

These were the major findings contained within a 30-page report released this week by the folks at Pew Research Center called “Where People Get Information About Restaurants and Other Local Businesses.” And if there were any doubts remaining about the impact of the Internet on businesses, this survey should quash them.

More than half of the survey respondents report that they rely on online sources to obtain details about a restaurant or bar. That compares to the roughly one third of consumers who turn to the newspaper for such information. And another quarter of respondents said they listen to those around them to garner details about an eatery or a social club. Bringing up the rear is local television (either broadcasts or the station’s website) at 8 percent.

Pew’s findings offer a wealth of information for entrepreneurs and small business owners, especially during the gift-buying season. Small business owners and merchants need to know where to advertise to generate more business, and this report points directly to the Internet, as well as newspapers and word-of-mouth.

And looking ahead, business owners should be studying these figures to determine where…

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