The potential for online marketing to drive offline sales has been highlighted by a new report that shows 97 per cent of people in the US currently use search engines, comparison sites and other web-based media to research products and services they then buy from nearby stores.

Pay per click and other search engine marketing techniques could be particularly useful in boosting local sales, the study by BIA/Kelsey and ConStat suggests, as 90 per cent of these consumers do their research via sites such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!.

On average, the study found that consumers use 7.9 different sources of media when shopping for local goods or services. This is up from 6.5 sources in 2009 and 5.8 sources in 2008.

Online PR campaigns such as offering money off vouchers can also boost offline sales, with 58 per cent of consumers saying they had used one of these coupons in the past 12 months.

Yahoo!’s retail category director Nicola Ibberson recently said that Christmas sales in 2009 were "a lot better than expected" because online marketing services had helped to drive in-store purchases.

News brought to you by ClickThrough – specialists in Search Engine Optimisation and Internet Marketing.

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