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According to a new study released recently by TMP Directional Marketing, search engines beat out print yellow page and white pages for the first time as the first source used to find local business information. Since the inception of the world wide web, the Internet has been gaining year after year on other forms of media and has overtaken offline media in many areas. Now the search engines have overtaken the print yellow pages as the top source for local business information.
“According to the study, the first sources used are Search Engines (31%), Print Yellow Pages or White Pages (30%), Internet Yellow Pages Sites (19%) and Local Search Sites (11%). This represents a change from last year’s study, which ranked Print Yellow Pages first (33%), followed by Search Engines (30%).”
While search engines barely edged out the print yellow and white pages by 1% for the top spot, when all the online sources are combined the online sources comprised 61% of the local business resources. This is more than double that of the print yellow pages and white pages. (graph image below from WebProWorld)
While the Internet is the primary source for information, the report also indicates that most local customers still made their final purchase off-line. This highlights the need for brick and mortar stores (off-line stores) to have online resources for customers to find.
Another important revelation in the report is that people who search via the Internet for local business information were likely to act, whether it’s visiting the off-line store, calling the business, or making a purchase.
- Internet YP: 66 percent
- Local Search Sites: 72 percent
- General Search Sites: 66 percent
No longer can local businesses ignore the Internet, nor is it enough to just build a website. Local businesses must market themselves online in the search engines, the Internet yellow pages, and the local search engines. I don’t recommend dropping your print yellow page ad, but if more than twice as many people use the Internet to find local business info than the print yellow pages, you stand to gain twice as many customers from marketing online.
If you are not sure how to best market your business online, I would encourage you to check out OurChurch.Com’s Local Business Search Marketing service.
But We Have a Church or School, Not A Business!
If people use the Internet to find local business information, I guarantee you they also use the Internet to find a school for the kids or a church to attend. This study isn’t just a wake up call for local businesses. Churches and schools need to have an online presence as well and they need to market themselves in the search engines, Internet yellow pages, and local search engines as well.
Since search marketing is outside the area of expertise for most church and school web administrators, churches and schools should seriously consider a church SEM service and school SEM service. Their value will only increase as more people shift their searching online.Whether you are a local business, church, school, or ministry the web is where you need to be to attract new visitors. Print marketing is by no means useless, but each year the studies indicate that the Internet is growing and people’s use of the Internet over other resources is increasing as well. A good marketing strategy will include both online and the off-line elements that work to supplement each other and increase the effect of your marketing campaign.