These are some tough times for the Yellow Pages industry. As the consumer heads to more digital sources, yellow pages usage is heading down. Coupled with the fact that some cities are mandating that the publishers either have an opt out policy or will not let the books be delivered due to recycling issues.
The old matron of local search is still a viable medium in some cases. It depends on the industry, location, and amount of competition. Some consumers and thus the industry have shifted to digital advertising. Industries like Auto Dealers, Insurance and Real Estate have migrated to the Internet leaving the yellow pages in the dust.
Location is also a big factor in Yellow Pages usage. The more internet savvy the consumer, the more yellow pages usage is lost. The Silicon Valley is a perfect example. With so many consumers wired up, the consumers have learned different methods to find a dentist, plumber or attorney. The converse of this is also true. In parts of the country that are not as digital, yellow pages usage has remained stagnant and can still be a good value.
The good news for the advertiser is that in some areas there are less ads in the yellow pages. Fewer ads mean less competition for the advertiser. Instead of competing with twenty insurance ads, now there may only be ten. The pie (market share) may have gotten smaller, but the slices are bigger now.
So how do you know if yellow pages are bringing you the value and customers you need? A simple answer is to ask all your new customers on how they found you. However, for most small businesses this just does not get done and is hard to do. Many of the employees of small business can’t get the motivation or training to get this marketing information.
The most reliable method is to get a call tracking telephone number. Most of the major yellow page publishers will offer it for free. They know they now need to prove the value of their medium. Ask them to provide you with the number after the tracking is over so you have control over your telephone numbers.
In the future, I will go over what numbers on the call tracking reports are important. In some cases you will be shown numbers that are over estimated. Look for unique callers that last over 10 seconds. Also look for telemarketing calls.
Yellow pages are the original search engine. She may run slower now, but she can still work given the product is priced right. Ask your publisher for the best bundled rate and see if it makes economic sense for your small business
Mike Muskat is the founder of Muskat Marketing a San Francisco Bay Area Marketing Agency. He works with Small Businesses to bring them optimum marketing results.
Just set up salesforce.com customer relationship management (CRM) for my small business and it’s everything I hoped it would be. It’s highly functional and has all the whistles and bells a small business could hope for. I connected it to my Gmail account and now have great record keeping of all the emails I send to current customers as well as future prospects.
I set up the lower cost “Contact Manager” account at a cost of $5.00 a month. It fits most the needs of a small business. It gives me one central data base for all my accounts and contacts as well as a content library for all my customer information and my company’s data. You can save data at the contact level or the account level. It is simple and elegant to use.
It also has a mobile feature that lets me retrieve my information on the go. Salesforce.com makes my life and job easier. What more could you ask for $5.00/month?
Small Business used to rely on multiple sources to get their advertising done. However, in today’s complex digital world, it’s now too time consuming and interrelated to do everything a la carte. There was the web designer, print advertising sources, search engine optimizer, pay per click setup, social media implementation and email promotions that were set up independently of each other.
Today all advertising should work in concert to be effective. The website today needs to be optimized in the beginning with blogging capabilities. Each individual web page needs to be clear and precise to function with a single goal in mind. Special promotions need to be blogged, emailed, sent via print and social media at the same time. There are many beautiful looking web pages that can’t be found by the search engines let alone tie in with other mediums.
A marketing agency will look at all pieces of the marketing puzzle and fit them together. Web pages, blogs, print, search engine optimization, pay per click, landing pages, content for all advertising sources, analytics, email, and social media need to have the same theme. Marketing agencies can be cost effective because there is little duplication of effort. Call a local marketing agency and see if they are up to the task. Most offer free estimates so there is little to lose.
Founder of the Mike Muskat Marketing Agency in Walnut Creek Ca.
With the internet shifting to the mobile arena, I decided to convert my WordPress website into a mobile website. I decided on using the services of dudamobile to make the transition. I am glad I choose www.dadamobileI.com because the process was easy fast and low cost. I also had some technical difficulties and used their tech support. They were great to work with and had the problem taken care of in about 15 minutes. They have a free version but the $9.00 a month version is the better way to go.
As more and more internet traffic is captured through tablets and mobile phones, it is becoming clear that the small business needs to capture these potential customers. The mobile sites make a web site easier to read. It is also easier to contact and buy from a mobile website. Reading text from a regular web site can be very difficult and turn off a potential customer. Take the 20 minutes required and mobilize your website.
Walnut Creek Ca.
I have been asked by many of my new customers, “where do I get started”.
I thought I would write down some of the marketing essentials when starting a new business. I write them in somewhat the order they should be done in, but they can be mixed up a bit.
1. Figure out who you customer is and how you are going to market to them.
2. Do a simple business plan.
3. Build your website and blog. Build your website with quality architecture so that the search engines love it. Some of the top content management systems are Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal. Each has it’s strengths but WordPress is the easiest to work with. Hotwebideas has done an excellent job of narrowing it down in his blog if you need more information.
4. Fill your website with lots of beautiful content. Even do a weekly blog post to keep the website fresh and current.
5. Install Google analytic on your webpage.
6. List on all the internet and blog directories.
7. Optimize Google places/maps
8. Monitor your reputation through Google alerts. Check in and register your business with all the major reputation management companies. Yelp, CitySearch, Yahoo Local, Merchant Circle, Yellowpages.com to mention a few.
9. Try running a low cost pay per click program with Google.
10. Get your social media up and running. Develop a branded look so that all social media looks the same. Same personal picture or company logo everywhere. Write your personal or business biographies and post them on all the sites.
11. Set up your Google profile page. If you don’t have a gmail account, its now time.
12. Set up a Linkedin.com account. Take the time and fill it out completely. Build your network. When asking for contacts, don’t use the linkedin standard format but make the invitation personal.
13. Set up a twitter account. Of all the social media tools, I think that twitter is the hardest for most small businesses. Don’t feel that you have to tell everyone what you had for lunch. Post you weekly blog here and forget the rest. However, it is great if your Madonna and your sharing your lunch secrets.
14. Set up Facebook business page. Spend the time to make it look professional with all the proper information. See if your friends and customer will “like” you. Post new things that are going on with the company. Make it fun.
15. Do a nice video and post it on youtube.com. Not too long, maybe 60 to 90 seconds. Make it professional and well done. Good lighting and sound and do a general review of your business. TurnHere.com will do a nice video for $199.00 with only still pictures. They do a very professional job.
These are the essentials. However, there is so much more to do. Did I mention Search Engine Optimization. SEO can keep you busy for the rest of your business life. Good Luck.
2244 Oak Grove Rd. Walnut Creek Ca.