Phone calls are the highest rated source for sales leads by small and midsize businesses (SMBs), according to a recent BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor report.

Just over two-thirds (66.4%) of SMBs consider phone calls a good or excellent lead source (28% rated calls an excellent lead source; 38.4% rated them as good). This includes leads from click-to-call online ads, which were found to be especially effective for businesses in the restaurant, food and grocery, auto, telecom, and travel industries.

In-person interactions are also a favorite source of leads, with 54.1% of the SMBs surveyed rating the channel as excellent or good (28% excellent; 26.1% good).

Online forms have a similar level of affinity, with 58.2% of SMBs rating them as excellent or good (19.5% excellent; 38.7% good).

Email is the next most popular channel, rated as good or excellent by 43.7% SMBs (15% excellent; 28.7% good).

Facebook pages were the highest ranked social media channel, rating higher than Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks.

About the Data: The report was based on data from a survey of 568 SMBs conducted in 3Q13.

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Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

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