The way we find local businesses and services in America is changing.
10 or 20 years ago, finding a local veterinarian, home inspector, pest control company, florist, plumber, or other service meant pulling out the phone book and looking up the appropriate term in the Yellow Pages. Today, finding these services just involves turning on your smart phone and running a Google search.
The trend is definite: People don’t use the phonebook. They use their phones.
In the age of Google, your potential clients are searching online for local services (in this blog, we use the term “Google” to represent all search engines, including Bing and Yahoo, as it is the most popular). In fact, 80% of people use search engines to find services in their area. Less and less consumers are using paper directories to find those businesses and services.
This doesn’t mean that a listing in the Yellow Pages can’t help your business. Phone books are still used frequently by older consumers, and they are also utilized more frequently in rural areas. Still, the trend is toward online searches and away from paper directories. It’s important to budget your marketing dollars accordingly. Fortunately, adding Google and SEO to your marketing plan is extremely affordable, with a high potential ROI.
Every business is different, but in 2017 one thing is certain: Every business needs a website. A good website lets you tell the story of your business while helping potential customers find you right when they need you and are ready to buy.
Many companies pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month to place an ad in the Yellow Pages. A website lets you tell a lot more about yourself, showcasing your services, testimonials, achievements, and accomplishments, while allowing you to target specific geographic areas and jobs.
It may or may not be time to remove your ads from the Yellow Pages, but if you aren’t present online, your marketing dollars could be better spent. Adjust to reflect the changes of the American marketplace, and you’ll see your small business survive and thrive in the 21st century.