I realize that there is a lot of ”gloom and doom” scenarios in the stationery industry, but I remain quite optimistic that the tide is turning. Sadly, some of the Big Tankers in the industry are slow to recognize the obvious and appear to embracing internet marketing strategies that are no longer fashionable. Crane’s marriage of convenience with Paperless Post is simply one example of that trend, but I suppose that “Paperless Paper” makes sense to some MBA consultant who is still wet behind the ears.
GPS enabled “Smart Phones” is the current rage. Why? Because people are trying to search locally. Granted, many are looking for a pizza or perhaps a pair of shoes, but the real point is that they are trying to find businesses in their immediate neighborhood. In fact, for the past two to three years internet search marketing is focused on local businesses – not online portals.
Google has a huge advantage, but there are many other players scrambling to catch up; particularly the Yellow Pages which found it difficult to give up their $17 billion in annual autopilot sales to poorly served and hopelessly overcharged local businesses. This is very good news for the stationery industry and local businesses in general. Mind you, the devastated retail landscape is still recovering, but business owners who “think local” and, more importantly, market locally should have a major competitive advantage.
To get an idea of what is going in the area of local search, sign up for one of the many seminars available to explain what you must to to rebuild your local relevancy. Found below is their sales pitch:
Did you know that 97% of consumers search online when they want to find a local business or service provider? That’s a number worth paying attention to, especially when you consider the many different places they may be looking — sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, mobile apps like Apple Maps and Google Maps, directories like Superpages and YP.com, social sites like Yelp and Facebook … the list goes on. As a local business, you can’t afford to be missing from these sites or to have customers directed to the wrong address or phone number.
Now, I have no idea who UBL is (and I won’t be attending the webinar), but I suspect that they want to part you with some of your hard-earned cash. I have seen many similar webinars. I suggest that you sign-up for the webinar and listen, but don’t take any action until you have claimed your business on most of the local search registries highlighted on GetListed.org. Mind you, services like UBL are useful for those who truly don’t want to do anything for themselves, but subscribing to the basic listing services (see below) is always the most cost effective. FREE is even better if you want to do it yourself. In this case, a little knowledge is a good thing!
From my perspective, claiming you business on Google and Bing, together with a Facebook Page and a Google+ Page is sufficient to be ahead of 80% of the competition. If you are a bit adventurous, get a Pinterest account (drop me an email and I will send you an invitation). Forget about Twitter as most internet marketing people feel that it will fade into oblivion within a couple of years.
Richard W. May
email is email@example.com