U.S. Census Findings Count For Local Search Marketers

Talk of the 2010 U.S. Census is heating up on the web – as local information starts to trickle out – with discussion about what national and local census figures mean for everything from politics to the Superbowl.

For local search companies and marketers, the U.S. Census delivers valuable information that helps us understand who we’re trying to reach, how we can best get to them, and considerations that might impact the content of ads.

For example, if you’re a local business hoping to attract a younger demographic, consider this:  according to the New York Times, the U.S. Census showed that young Americans are more diverse than any generation before – with 79 percent of population growth coming from blacks, Asians, and Hispanics between 2000 and 2009.

Businesses hoping to grow top-line sales might want to think about enlisting an expert to help attract consumers from these growing segments. There may be specific local media and search tools, or new ways to explore the content of your marketing, that could extend the business’ reach from the current consumer base to new ones.

Marketers also need to understand the demographics of their local communities. Hudson County in New Jersey was deemed America’s biggest “melting pot,” according to Bloomberg News. A diverse population can have all sorts of implications on local advertising.

Local businesses should consider creating ads in multiple languages and looking at targeted directories –such as Spanish or Chinese-language Yellow Pages – or look at specific Google AdWords strategies to reach a wider demographic.

In the South, the New York Times reports a growth in gay-parented families. Census data found that Jacksonville, Florida, has one of the biggest populations of gay parents in the United States and that LGBT couples in the South are more likely to have children than gay couples on the East or West coasts.

For local businesses in family-related categories, this growth presents a great opportunity.

Whether you’re a family lawyer, a pediatrician, a daycare or a baby shop, you can reach LGBT parents through the regular advertising channels but also through other strategies designed to reach this specific audience.

Many markets have print and online LGBT Yellow Pages, or a social networking strategy can help tap into communities or gay parents who are helping one another find businesses they support.

The Census reports also reveal important information about consumers’ financial resources. It’s certainly no secret that the economic recession has hurt shoppers’ ability to spend.  The Census can help us track the spending power of consumers and their financial points of pain.

The Associated Press reports that Census data shows transportation, commuting and child costs are weighing on working Americans. What can local businesses take from that?  It depends on the business, but a car dealer may use this information to tout the gas mileage or value of cars in locally targeted ads online or in print directories.

So far, we’ve only scratched the surface of data that will be available from the 2010 Census.

But soon, we’ll have a full well of government data that we, as marketers, can take from. And we should drink in that data fully, as it reveals so much about our target customers. The ultimate goal is for local businesses to extend their reach and get found by new consumers who are ready to buy.

I’d suggest following the U.S. Census Bureau online. And if you’re interested in following local demographic data related to diversity, check on USA Today’s interactive map, which will be updated as individual state data is released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column


About The Author: is an award-winning print and online Yellow Pages executive with broad domestic and international experience, and is the Local Search Association vice president of communications. She also blogs about the industry on the Local Search Insider blog. Follow @localsearchassn on Twitter.

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