In today’s changing media environment, local businesses are looking for new ways to reach the consumer. In addition to placing ads in traditional outlets like the print Yellow Pages—which still have significant consumer reach—local businesses are increasingly adding websites and social networking pages, online videos, iPhone and iPad apps and other popular advertising tools to their marketing strategies. Their hope is that by taking advantage of new digital and mobile offerings, they’ll be able to reach new customers, generate leads and stay ahead of competitors who are slower to adapt.

While implementing an integrated, multi-platform advertising approach is an important aspect of the local business search experience, so is making sure that the advertisements businesses employ contain the types of information that consumers need. Local businesses risk missing out on potential leads they’ve worked so hard to attain if their ads don’t include basic background information on the operation and its offerings.

Released in March, the first annual “Local Media Tracking Study,” conducted by Burke and commissioned by the Yellow Pages Association, includes some interesting findings about consumer ad satisfaction. The survey found that 21% of print Yellow Pages users and 18% of Internet Yellow Pages users said that the amount of information in the ads they found was too little.

Of those who said there was too little info, the following percentage of respondents pointed to these information points as missing:

  • Hours of operation: 19% in print Yellow Pages; 17% in Internet Yellow Pages.
  • Details about projects: 16% in print Yellow Pages; 19% in Internet Yellow Pages
  • Details about services: 16% in print Yellow Pages; 9% in Internet Yellow Pages
  • Prices: 15% in print Yellow Pages; 20% in Internet Yellow Pages
  • Not enough info/too vague: 9% in print Yellow Pages; 11% in Internet Yellow Pages
  • Locations/area of the city: 6% in print Yellow Pages; 9% in Internet Yellow Pages
  • Website: 4% in print Yellow Pages; 12% in Internet Yellow Pages

So what does this mean for the local business advertiser? The key takeaway is that a “less is more” approach when it comes to the types of information included in local ads does not satisfy consumers’ needs. A “more is more” approach—in essence, creating an info-rich ad—ensures that the consumer is fully informed about the local business, its services, and the nature of the products and services they offer.

A great-looking ad in a heavily used directory can fail to maximize the level of leads one expects if it doesn’t include all of the information that consumers want when making decisions. To satisfy the consumer decision process, local businesses should recognize the value of info-rich ads and work to implement them into their marketing strategies. And they need not worry that too much information in an ad will overwhelm consumers. According to the study, just 2% of print Yellow Pages users and 5% of Internet Yellow pages users said the amount of information in ads was too much.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column

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About The Author: brings nearly three decades of Yellow Pages and local search experience, as Director of Research for the Yellow Pages Association (YPA). Larry spearheads and advises on all association-driven research activities for the industry, as well as blogs about the industry on the InsideYP blog.

Connect with the author via: Email



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