The Stationers Guild

Posts Tagged ‘Yelp’

Are Yellow Pages Relevant for Local Businesses?

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a Yelp sponsored survey to determine the relevancy of the Yellow Pages as an effective advertising tool for small business.  The last time I checked (several years ago), advertising in the Yellow Pages was an industry generating somewhere between $13 to $17 billion in advertising revenue.   I have not be able to find any more current data that I believe is reliable.  I suspect Yellow Pages advertising revenue has fallen, but I can’t be positive.

While Yelp’s results are no doubt skewed, Yellow Pages advertising for stationery stores and most local businesses is becoming less effective as “search” has migrated to the internet and mobile phones.  To determine how well your business is positioned to be found by online buyers, spend one minute and visit GetListed.org.  The results may surprise you.

If you are interested in acquiring the skills and knowledge to succeed in local search, visit the Stationers Guild sister site at www.rite4u.com for additional information.  Search marketing and local advertising is changing rapidly and a little time and a few bucks can make a great difference in attracting new clients.

Found below are the survey results from Yelp:

According to Yelp’s survey results “only 24% of our 3,500+ respondents said ‘Yes’ to the question, ‘Are yellow page phone books still relevant?’”  That’s quite a find. Here are some others:

1) Most business owners don’t think yellow page phone books are useful to them:

“Yellow page phone books are useful to me as a business owner.”
Agree – 11%
Somewhat Agree – 17%
Somewhat Disagree – 19%
Disagree – 52%

2) Only about 10% of business owners use yellow page phone books more than once per month; 3 out of 4 don’t use it at all:

How many times per month do you rely on a yellow page phone book to find a local business?
“Zero” – 75%
“Once” – 14%
“Between two and four times” – 8%
“Five or more times” – 3%

3) Very few business owners believe customers find them using a yellow page phone book.

Estimated percentage of customers who find me using a yellow page phone book.
“0%” – 43%
“1-25%” – 47%
“26-50%” – 5%
“51-75%” – 3%
“76-99%” – 1%
“100%” – 0.1%

The conclusion: Business owners have clearly observed the shrinking relevance of yellow page phone books. As we continue to move away from printed phone books, online and mobile directories will continue to grow as the customer’s choice for local business information.

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If you want traffic, claim your business on Google

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

As most of you are no doubt aware, I have written extensively on how important it is to claim your business on Google.  This service is FREE and THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS INVESTMENT YOU CAN MAKE!   Google has just made it more so, by eliminating other “local” search directories from search queries that contain a local qualifier.   For instance, if one is looking for “wedding invitations Omaha” on Google you will no longer be able to find directories such as local.com or YELP search rersults.  With one deft stroke, Google has killed the competition for local search directories that have been piggy-backing for free on their search network.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. If you have not claimed your business on Google, do so immediately.  It is simple, FREE and the most valuable investment you can make.  Just click on the hyperlink and do it now.  It takes about 15 minutes.
  2. If your store is listed on Google, make sure you spruce it up with photographs and other goodies.  Post a couple of videos of your store  on YouTube and have it linked to your local listing.  YouTube is owned by Google and they love to see you playing the game.
  3. Visit getlisted.org and see how you rank for local search.  It is FREE and simple and I would certainly follow the hyperlinks and get listed on these five local search registeries.

Over the next couple of months, I will be rolling out a few inexpensive and easy business strategies to position your business for online search.

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Get Listed: Can your store be found?

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

As readers of this column are well aware, I have long been preaching that local stationers need to take a far more active role at promoting their store online. Whether one has a website or not, it is absolutely critical that your store be found when people are searching for products and services you sell.  

I have recently come across a useful and easy way to determine how well your store is positioned for online search.  Simply go to getlisted.org and type in the name of your business and zip code to see how well you rank.  GetListed.org quickly determines how well your store ranks on five prominent search sites (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp and Best of the Web) and, most importantly, provides you with the essential hyperlinks to claim your business, update your existing listing and add photographs and reviews.  This is by far the most effective tool that I have seen to determine how well positioned your store is for Internet search inquiries.   Find out now!

What do GetListed.org search results mean for my store?    If your listing score is below 25%, I would drop eveything and take action now!  Just follow the useful hyperlinks on the website and create a unique identity for your store in cyberspace.  If your listing score is above 50%, give youself a pat on the back, and take action over the weekend to get your listing to the next level.  Please note that getting a listing score above 50% is almost free and may require about an hour of work on your computer.    If your listing score is above 85%, treat yourself to a glass of champagne and then do what is necessary to get to 100%. 

With the easy roadmap provided to you by GetListed.org  your local store will certainly rank in the top 5% percentile of all local listings (probably closer to 1%) for small business.  Furthermore this can be done for a total cost of under $200 a year (only Best of the Web is a tad expensive).  For those on a famine diet, Google and Bing are free.

Over the next several weeks, I will be unveiling a new strategy for Guild members to radically transform your store and online presence by opting into some of the new technologies that are reshapping the ways local businesses market themselves.    As I wrote recently, I believe that our industry (which I broadly define as personalized stationery and custom invitations) has reached a crossroads. Vendors and dealers can follow the path of least resistance and chase Internet price points down to levels which either puts them out of business or permanently compromises the integrity of their brand and/or the reputation of their business.

Experienced stationers operating through legitimate storefronts continue to be the most effective resource to promote brand awareness. Unfortunately, most of these stationers do not recognize the threat posed by the Internet and/or lack the skills or interest to promote their business effectively in this new medium.   As such, I have decided to reorient the focus of the StationersGuild to help dealers optimize their web presence within their local community so that they will have the best listing in targeted local “search space” for keywords like “wedding invitations,” “business cards,” or “stationery.”

Participation in this program is strictly voluntary, but best results and best pricing will be achieved if we act together.  Many of the programs (like getlisted.org ) are free and I will be assembling information from credible resources on the internet if you wish to implement these programs yourself.  For those who prefer to let the “pros” do it for you, I am in the process of putting together an outstanding talent pool to get the job done at rates that are probably far less than what you are currently paying for Yellow Page Advertising. 

I would love to hear from you and will be sending out a newsletter and survey shortly which goes into the program in more detail.  Ask yourself:  Are you equipped to handle mobile search?  Are those affiliate programs working for you?  Are you updating your site regularly and employing proper Search Engine Optimization strategies?  If you answered no to one or more of these questions, the new StationersGuild strategy could be right for you.

Richard W. May
Founding Member Stationers Guild

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