Why Your Small Business Should Tap Local Online Ads

Is your small business advertising online? And, if so, are you tapping into local search? That could be the missing ingredient to a more successful Internet marketing campaign.

A new study from the Local Search Association found that consumers use Yellow Pages and search engines most to find local businesses, outpacing other local media including social networks, magazines, newspapers, and promotional circulars and e-mails.

"Local media trends give small businesses a good sense of where they should invest their limited advertising budgets," says Neg Norton, president of the Local Search Association. "We recommend an integrated approach that incorporates print and Internet solutions to reach local consumers."

Eighty-four percent of survey respondents used either print or Internet Yellow Pages to find a local business in the last year and 76 percent used a search engine. What does that mean for your small business? You may need to explore new marketing strategies that reach consumers where they search, whether it’s in the print Yellow Pages, search engines or other local media.

"Consumers are using multiple media across print, digital, and mobile platforms for locating small businesses," says Norton. "Businesses should regularly review and update their websites and Internet Yellow Pages listings, as well as their Google Places pages, Bing Business Portal listings and other sources of information online to maximize search engine optimization and online integration. That's how you stay competitive."

Consumers say Yellow Pages are the most trusted, most accurate source they choose first when searching for local business information. Consumers also rate Yellow Pages as the first chosen, easiest and most convenient to access, and the source they find "best in class" for finding information on local businesses.

"Even as reach of search engines, Internet Yellow Pages and social networks continues to expand, print Yellow Pages continue to be strong in their ability to delivery quality sales leads," Norton says.  "Many believe that social networks have a built-in trust factor because they generate referrals from people they know, but consumers by wide margins say that they trust most the local information provided by Yellow Pages and search engines.  We'll continue to monitor for trends in this space as media further blur the lines between social and business listings."


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