A new survey has revealed the most reliable sales channels for small businesses in the UK, with digital advertising the most popular, while cold calling trails behind.

The survey, of over 2,500 small businesses across Britain, was run by website and online tech company UENI and allowed businesses to identify each of the sales channels they found most useful for their business.

Results from the survey revealed that the majority of small businesses find the best channels to increase sales are digital advertising, voted for by 63 per cent of respondents. This was followed by email at 54 per cent and word of mouth, also chosen by 54 per cent.

Advertising in traditional channels came in fourth with 26 per cent voting for it, then visiting customers, chosen by 21 per cent and cold calling trailing at only 10 per cent.

Christine Telyan is CEO of UENI, the company which carried out the survey. She said: “It’s no surprise that digital advertising was the most popular sales channel.

“We know that most people start their search for small businesses online, so appearing prominently in digital is the most likely way for British small businesses to increase their sales.

“Email and word of mouth were also favourites and visiting customers was popular with one fifth of the people we asked. These are all ways you can personalise your approach to customers which is something we always recommend.

“Advertising in traditional channels like newspapers, magazines and billboards proved popular with a quarter of small businesses – but that was less than half than those who voted for digital. It’s a sign of the times where people are making choices based on what they find on the internet versus what they see in traditional media.

“Cold calling trailed and rightly so – with GDPR protecting people’s data and the much richer options for personalised advertising available online, there’s little space for cold calling in the digital age.”