Mediapost is reporting that consumers turn to search engines as their first source for local products and services more often than any other option including print yellow and white pages combined.
Local Search Is Hot, Yellow Pages Still Get Used – 10/09/2008
[Search engines as a first source for local info is] up just one percentage point from 2007, but still enough to move search engines ahead of print Yellow or White pages in terms of overall usage. About 30% of consumers turned to printed directories first, down from 33% last year.
“I think we’re starting to see the traditional print products hit a baseline,” said Gregg Stewart, TMPDM’s SVP, interactive. “If you go back farther than the two years of this study, you’d likely see a much larger drop in usage towards the beginning and middle of 2000. It’s also differential by category. Looking at something like airlines, the print product is obviously not as relevant. But for emergency needs like plumbers, consumers have still held on to their directories.”
Local businesses, I hope you’re listening. Where are your customers? And, just as importantly, where are people with money conducting searches for local businesses. Would you rather reach the print searching crowd or the web searching crowd given a choice?
If you’re reaching less customers are you paying less? If not, why not?
Where will your ad dollars go further? Paying for the manufacturing, transportation, and distribution of bulky print directories, or for visits to your website where you can include as much information about your company’s services, products, hours, phone numbers, contact info, maps, etc.