Live from the Local Media Association Digital Agency Summit

Gordon Borrell delivered the keynote presentation to a packed room of 70 attendees this morning. These attendees represented newspapers, broadcast and directories from six different countries.

Key takeaways included:

  • Web Presence: Website design ($72 billion), hosting ($129 billion) & social media management
  • Online Public Relations: Email management ($43 billion), digital press release distribution, reputation management, opt-in list management
  • Online Marketing Support: SEO ($42 billion), blog development, site visitor analysis, listings claiming
  • Online Ad Production: Online agency/exchange fees ($25 billion), display ad design, app design, online contest/game development, online video production


  • Fewer than 50: $461 average annual expenditure per business location
  • 50 to 499: $63,133
  • 500 to 4,999: $5,851,486
  • 5,000 or more: $471,931,347

Per Borrell, “don’t spend a lot of time on the super small businesses – they won’t spend enough and they will need a lot of your time.”

The smallest businesses spend most of their budgets on web site design, maintenance & hosting.

For 50 to 499 employees – web design/hosting/maintenance represents 38% of their budget. Email management is 10%; online consulting & research is 15%; online agency/exchange fees is 7%. Managing SEM/SEO falls under online consulting (but not the actual fees to Google for example as that falls under online advertising not digital agency services.)

500 to 4,999 businesses spend more on online consulting (17%) – so hospitals and banks for example.


Borrell encouraged attendees to know the competition including: Vistaprint, ReachLocal,,, & Deluxe (check people – than now market digital agency services to SMB’s.) – go to the site so see what they do and what it costs. Example that Borrell used: sample budget for what a veterinarian in Atlanta should spend. – also provides pricing – very cheap – “the quiet disruptor” according to Borrell.

Find what’s spent in your market at

Web site hosting & design/development/maintenance is Gordon’s #1 recommendation on what services to offer as a start. But this requires investment. SEO is second – “it’s a must”. He also loves reputation management and email as tied for 3rd.

Where are the margins? – according to Borrell “it’s in the bundling.” Adding services together makes a meaningful margin.