Where are potential customers looking for local businesses?
Where are potential customers looking for local businesses? Not the phone books! Phone book ads don’t work as well as they used to, ask 20 businesses if they feel their phone book ads are cost effective and 19 (if not all 20) will give you a resounding "NO." Why is this? Well, the answer to that question is easy... people just don't use them like the used to in the past.
Phone books are going the way of the dinosaur. In fact, according to a 2011 statistic from Harris Interactive, approximately 70% of U.S. adults will "rarely or never" use phone books. Today they are choosing to use the Internet as their means to find contact information for local businesses. Keep in mind that this is an old statistic and today the decline is certainly to be even greater given the shift towards the internet and the rise in tablet and smart phone adoption.
Similarly, even Yellow Pages themselves are preparing for the downfall of the old fashioned phone book. They have publicly stated that they will derive 53% of their revenue from digital ad sales. One has no choice but to face the fact that digital advertising is the future. So, if you are going to be online, and you had better be if you want to survive in the marketplace, why not get the biggest bang for your buck rather than give it to Yellow Pages and the like?
Today, consumers are searching online for local stores and products. If you want to reach them, you need to establish a presence and provide relevant information. According to the Kelsey Group, 74% of Internet users perform local searches. And ComScore research indicates that a staggering 90% of online commercial searches result in offline bricks and mortar purchases.
Similarly, Microsoft has offered up statistics that show 53 percent of all mobile searches on their search engine, Bing, are for local goods and services.
The takeaway to all of these numbers is that consumers are searching for local products and services online. If you want to reach these potential customers, you need to go where your customers are looking... you need to be online with a professional presence and giving your potential customers the information that they need to make a decision - the decision to choose your business!