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The Writer's Page November 13th, 2008

A new page in The Paper that offers a forum for area writers to display their work, to offer commentary, and/or criticism. Submit work by email, photo art will be considered (we prefer jpg). This will be an occasional feature, scheduled when the editor feels there is sufficent material with which to work and sufficient space to publish. No phone calls, please.

Local Consumers Now Use Internet More Than Yellow Pages
by jim orr

A study made by TMP Directional Marketing*, in an effort to try to find the true value of local businesses advertising on the Internet versus traditional offline print media like the Yellow Pages, has revealed a very clear trend.

The study was first made in May of 2007 and then followed up in July of 2008. It shows a big shift in how consumers find local merchants:

This study reveals that search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN have now edged out the traditional phone book advertising as the leading source of information for local customers. This means more local customers are now using the Internet to find local merchants and other businesses online.

Also most people using the Internet looking for a specific product or service are generally in the final stages of their purchase decision and are almost ready, if not all ready, to make a purchase. This is not to say that one should abandon all forms of print media for advertising and go 100% to the Internet. We are not even close to that point. However, the message for local businesses is simple: You need to be found on the Internet.

So how do you make this happen? What will be surprising to most folks is this does not take a large investment in an expensive website or hiring a SEO firm to get started.

Here is one free tip that will at least get you started. You can have Google list your business on Google Maps. To accomplish the above with your business, just go to on the Internet then select "My Account" > "Local Business Center" > "Add A New Listing"

In a business listing you can select up to 5 categories. Choosing these categories is important. They should match words or phrases your prospects would type into Google should you want them to be found by you. You don't need the town or suburb name in those keyword phrases. Google automatically gets this from your other listing information entered.

As an option, you can also add your business hours, photos, and even a video to your business listing, along with an "additional details" section at the bottom. To get the best results with Google Maps make sure you select the wording of your categories and additional details section with some thought on what your prospective customers would type in.

Now is this all you need to do to have a complete and maximum exposure on the Internet? No, of course not, but it is certainly a good start.
Jim Orr
(888) 738-6806

About the Author: Jim Orr is a local resident living in the Escondido area who helps give advice to local businesses with inexpensive methods to use for their Internet Advertising.
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