Today’s small business owners face more competition than they ever have before, and with so many ways for customers to find businesses to patronize, it’s more important than ever for your small businesses to be easily discoverable by current and future customers.
In years past, small businesses only had to pay for an ad in a print directory, most often the Yellow Pages, to expand their reach. They would pay as much as $5k each month for a half page advertisement, and as much as $10k for a full page. Today, small business owners are presented with more affordable and more effective ways to market their businesses, most notably SEO, yet many of them still view the Yellow Pages as the gold standard, and they spend accordingly for either traditional Yellow Pages ads or Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) listings with an IYP-created website.
Directories like IYP will often market their services as equally or more effective than traditional SEO. Yet, they actually limit the reach and success that a your business can achieve. In fact, unless you closely monitor the traffic you get from IYP or another directory listing, you can be duped into thinking that your efforts are paying off. IYP requires your business to pay a certain amount of money for each call that comes from your listing, but there’s no guarantee that they calls you receive are coming from people who are interested in purchasing your services.
A Michigan small business owner who felt that he wasted thousands of dollars on ineffective IYP marketing had this to say:
“We set up a system to track each call we received from IYP, and the vast majority of those calls came from solicitors, job hunters, and people who were price shopping. When it came time for us to renew our listing, our IYP agent boasted that we’d received 68 calls over the previous month. If even half of those callers were converted into customers, I would have been thrilled. However, out of those 68 calls, only 12 were interested in our services. Since we were paying about $40 per call, we wasted more than $2,240.00 on solicitors, job hunters, and price shoppers — in just one month.”
A Tale of Two Searches
The first image is a screen shot from an IYP search for “SEO company West Bloomfield, MI,” The second image is taken from a Google search with the same criteria. Note that the top 5 results in both searches are completely different. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a customer who just did those same searches. Will this person, who lives in a world where Google rests on the tip of most tongues, disregard that credibility and choose the businesses from the IYP search? Not likely.
SEO Is the Gold Standard in Digital Marketing
The amount of people who own smartphones and tablets grows exponentially each day, and more and more of them are searching on the go, rather than at home. Since today’s consumer is most likely to purchase services from a business who ranks high in a Google search, it is unwise for someone to make potential customers take an extra step to find their business.
Consumers want a quick search with quick results, and the odds that someone will take the extra step to search for your business in an online directory gets smaller every day. By investing in SEO, rather than a directory listing, you can spend less money and see better results. In fact, many businesses see a 5x to 10x increase in ROI after leaving IYP and investing in SEO.
In order to create the largest possible online presence, a small business needs to identify its audience and market to them in places where they are and where they will be. With more and more people searching solely from Google every day, it’s unlikely that your customers are - and will continue to be - waiting for you in the Yellow Pages.
By having a well designed and useful website that is easily discovered through relevant Google searches, your business can experience steady growth that leads to long term success.
If you’re tired of wasting money on ineffective directory listings, contact High Level Marketing today to learn how a digital marketing strategy with strong SEO can help you gain more customers and prepare for a successful future.