Category Archives: Online/Mobile

New Digital Media Company — Perfect Fit For Yellow Pages

This is guest column from Mike Funaro, President, Small Pond Media:   

“If I knew then what I know now…..”. How many times have we all said that?  As a 23 year Yellow Pages veteran and former independent yellow pages publisher I want to share a white paper written by some colleagues of mine at WSI Digital Marketing.

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The title “Digital Disruption-The Difference between Agencies That Survive, Thrive or Die” got my attention enough to read the entire paper.  When I was finished my first thought was that you could easily have substituted “Yellow Pages Publishers” for “Agencies”.  I have been consulting and brokering in the world of franchising and WSI Digital is one of the companies that I have grown particularly fond of over time.  Almost every time I place someone with WSI Digital, I ask myself how much my yellow pages company could have used them as I struggled to add digital marketing to my product offerings.

Take a quick read about the WSI Digital and how they have helped a legacy business model, Advertising agencies.  Whether you are in the yellow pages industry or struggling to find a new career path, take a look at WSI Digital.  I think you will be impressed.

If you want to learn more, give a call (407-625-1497), or email.  Mike’s LinkedIn profile:  click here

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Say Hello to Local Market Launch

I recently ran an article that “Mom & Pop Are Still Not Advertising Online”, and I think I figured out why. Two reasons actually:

1) It’s not easy. The Internet is a big, wide open, complex, even formidable space with lots of moving parts. There’s search portals, social media, hyperlocal directories, niche sites, IYP’s and on and on. Even geeks really into this stuff have trouble keeping up. And then throw mobile on top and you have a real mess to navigate.

2) It can be very expensive. One SMB showed me a recent proposal he got that would cost him several thousand dollars for something he wasn’t sure he could even get a decent ROI on.

So naturally, many small business owners are reluctant and unsure on who to trust and how to proceed. We think we may have found just the solution for this dilemma, a new supplier for the Yellow Pages industry – Local Market Launch.

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Background
The beginnings of this new industry entry are classical Yellow Pages start-up type stories. Brian Coryat, the company’s Founder & Chief Executive Officer, launched his first internet directory listing service back in 1995 — AAA Internet Promotions. After that he moved on to Web-Ignite, one of the first SEO companies, but is best known for founding and taking public the online advertising company ValueClick, for which he was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2000 for eCommerce.

After moving on from ValueClick, Brian decided to try something different and acquired a small hotel in Wisconsin. When the economy sputtered he began looking at every nickel being spent and noticed a line entry for $700 per month which he later identify was yellow page advertising. Determined to grow his struggling hotel identity beyond just the local print directory, he began the process that every SMB goes through trying to establish a consistent identity across the Internet. It was during that period that he realized that if an experienced industry professional like himself was having such problems, imagine what the less knowledgeable SMB owners were going through. So about 18 months ago he started Local Market Launch headquartered in the heart of beautiful downtown Santa Barbara, California.

Recently the company has announced another important hire in bringing on 20+ year Yellow Pages industry veteran Jeff Hoyer.  Jeff brings background as the former VP, National Sales for R.H. Donnelley/Dex Media, (managed a national team of 30, with P&L responsibility of $420 million in print, online and PPC products), and he was also Group VP at TMP Worldwide where he managed four VP/GMs and a portfolio of national clients.

Value Proposition:
Hoyer was able to give us some insight as to the value Local Market Launch can bring to both Yellow Page publishers and CMR’s. Basically the company performs three critical functions:

  1. Business Listings Management (BLM): They work with SMB’s to develop a business profile, highly customized to their local market, validate and enhance the client data to ensure a standard, quality listing. That profile is then optimized across top 30 search, social & directory sites, sites such as FaceBook, Yelp, Foursquare, Google+, Bing Local, City Search, and Merchant Circle. Once the business profile has been established they then push that information across the net syndicating it to over 150 search portals building the SMB’s brand presence consistently, uniformly.
  2. Local Search Optimization (LSO): After the initial stages of BLM, they come back every month, analyze the business’s top competitors and build citations based on where those competitors have business profiles.
  3. Ongoing Reputation Monitoring (RM): Here they provide interactive agencies, publishers, CMR, national brands, and even those mom & pop SMB’s a dashboard which allows them to break down usage and viewing results of their business’s reputation and social web presence in any number of sorts such as division, zone, etc, and receive daily report cards

When I questioned Hoyer about what a typical average cost that an SMB would expect to see for this type service, he indicated that they are targeting a $600 first year price point. But it doesn’t end there.

Given the swift growth of mobile Local Market Launch is not limited to just working on solutions for the Internet. To provide a similar, consistent profile on mobile platforms, the company helps develop individual business landing pages which are completely mobile optimized, and then spreads that profile across the internet.

What I think will make this company very different from other providers is its agency friendly business model. The dashboards discussed above are customized for each agency. The company also has no plans to establish a direct relationship with SMB’s. They expect that publishers and CMR’s will be able to take their core product and white label it with their own brands. Under Hoyer’s guidance the company has already begun testing with a “large-scale” publisher. Local Market Launch screen

The company currently has about 20 people and is beginning to rapidly hire in the Santa Barbara area. Of note is that none of the work they do is being done by offshore workers. Everything is being done right here in the good old USA.

LML Will Be at LSA:
Hoyer revealed that the company will be making a big splash at the upcoming Local Search Association conference in Las Vegas April 13-16. The company is planning a wine tasting event in their private suite and he hinted at a drawing for a weekend on the company in Santa Barbara, possibly in a private yacht. Companies interested in meeting with Local Market Launch (or to do the wine tasting) should contact Jeff at mailto:Jeff@localmarketlaunch.com or via his office line of 805-960-5572.

 
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Partner With Local Market Launch
If you are an agency, marketing firm, media publisher, Internet directory or an organization that reaches local businesses, consider partnering with us today.

  • White-glove, dedicated specialists for each client account
  • Single point of contact for each partner project
  • Scalable and effective
  • Easy to integrate tools for resellers
  • Revenue sharing for the life of the client
  • Custom campaign capabilities

Need more information? Give us a call at (800) 720-3291 or email partners@localmarketlaunch.com.

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Are clicks overrated??

With the inception of the Internet, marketers have been all excited about the supposed benefits of online marketing with many considering it the most measureable form of advertising available (guess they never heard of old fashion call tracking). In theory, I understand why they would think that way as every keystroke can be recorded, analyzed, and “what-if”-ed to death.  But I’m still not sure why these marketers spend so much of their time focused on what would appear to be a relatively insignificant data point — the click

True, these marketing gurus can flip open Google Analytics (or other click-tracking software) to see exactly how many users interacted with an ad, and even get all excited about conversion rates, measuring not only how many people clicked on an ad, but also how many actually did something of value, like make an actual purchase after the click.  That kind of data is a lot more accurate than the traditional measurements of guessing how many eyeballs saw or did anything after seeing a 30-second spot on television.   The click has been THE measurement metric of the web for marketers.  At first glance, clicks seemed like a metric that made sense.  But now when you dig a little, you realize there’s a lot more to be looking for.  What happened??

The reality is 99.9+% of banner ads don’t ever get a click.  Think about it.  How often do you click on one of those ads?  And tell me what other media bases their success on a metric where the industry average response rate is 0.1 percent?  Even the best banner campaigns that I have heard of usually has a click-through rate of well under 10%. Ad networks are touting “success” at a 0.05 percent click-through rate. Isn’t that a pretty sad response level, even if the advertising is cheap compared to other media?   Or is it a case of you get what you pay for.

I’ve noted several other comments that online advertisers are too hung up on the rate of click-throughs.  According to an article this spring by Simon Owens , the Director of PR for JESS3 writing in the Nieman Journalism Lab,who noted that in reality, it is a hit-or-miss proposition at best (mostly miss) that  you’re going to capture a consumer just at the moment he’s interested in a particular product or service and get them to click on an ad. Other studies have suggested a better strategy may be to create a lasting impression (didn’t use to be called “brand marketing”) with an image — such as the well-known Geico Gecko.

Yet despite these super low results, Google, the king of search and internet advertising has seen it appropriate to institute an 18% rise in the cost per click from last quarter with only a corresponding 12% increase in clicks. And advertisers use to say print Yellow Pages were predatory for constantly raising ad rates as the perceived usage went down.

In the growing world of social advertising, the “cost per click” of an ad placed on the popular Facebook site has increased by 74% over the last year in four of the world’s largest media markets, according to TBG Digital, an independent marketing firm specializing in social media.  And for these growing advertising costs you get what?  According to a study by Webtrends this year, Facebook’s average click-through rate for an ad was 0.05 per cent in 2010.  Whoopi hoo..

Tech Talk – How will new electronic gadgets impact Yellow Pages print usage?

A recent Pew Internet & American Life bimonthly report – Americans and their gadgets provided some interesting stats on how the “digital” world has exploded far beyond the traditional PC desktop and is now showing some significant impact to many industry segments.  But will it also impact print Yellow Pages?

The pace of adoption of new, lower cost tech toys into everyday life is certainly startling.  No long are the hot new toys only available to just the tech geeks.  The average consumer has a dizzying array of devices they can now choose from which offer the “anytime, anywhere” access to news, information, friends, and entertainment.

Some of the key findings were:

  • 85% of Americans now own a cell phone. Cell phone ownership rates among young adults (18-29 year olds) has now reached an eye popping 96%.  For this demographic, mobile phones have almost become a “necessity” of modern communications.  How did we use to survive without them?
  • 76% of Americans own either a desktop or a laptop computer. Since 2006, laptop ownership has grown dramatically (from 30% to 52%) while desktop ownership has declined some.
  • Just under half of American adults (47%) own an mp3 player such as an iPod, an exponential five-fold increase from the 11% who owned this type of device in early 2005.
  • E-book readers (such as the Kindle) and tablet computers (such as the iPad) — the hottest new toys are still relatively new arrivals to the consumer technology scene and are owned by a relatively modest number of Americans.  Expect that to change after this upcoming holiday season.
  • Adding it all up, eight in ten American adults (78%) own two or more of these devices.

So where does all this leave the Yellow Page industry?

First and foremost, who is going to work with small businesses to recast their advertising messages onto these new media? Obviously their traditional advertising programs will need to be modified, updated, and resized to work in each of these different digital worlds. Publishers clearly understand this need as they have begun to reposition their sales teams as true multimedia consultants who were delivering leads to the doorstep of the advertiser and asked they not be as focused on what the platform is.

Secondly several publishers have indicated that despite the perception that the print product usage is rapidly declining in larger metro areas, call tracking volumes continue to go up. This isn’t possible if people aren’t using the print books.  Print is NOT dead, and won’t be for a long, long time.

Clearly we are headed towards a more diversified digital world with the advancements now available across a wide range of technology. For these new platforms to succeed robust, informative, and accurate content will be needed. When it comes to small and midsize business advertising, the yellow page industry is ideally positioned to be the supporting provider across all of these platforms whenever they are ready for local advertising information.

 

Directional Media Strategies 2010 Conference Gearing Up

The speakers for the Directional Media Strategies 2010 conference are being finalized. In addition to the current roster of 40 speakers from across the global Yellow Pages and local search landscape, BIA/Kelsey has just added Randy Wootton, VP, Global Search and Online Marketplace from Microsoft Advertising to the DMS ’10 line-up.    In a special session, Wootton is expected to cover “Microsoft’s Local Love Connections,” which will present Microsoft’s views on the local opportunity — where its strengths lie and their approach to partnering.

Time is running short to register for the event.  DMS ’10, will be held September 14-16, 2010 in Dallas.   In addition to Wootton, here is a partial list of some of the other speakers expected:

  • Bruce Cotterill, CEO, Yellow Pages Group (New Zealand)
  • Perry Evans, Founder and CEO, Closely
  • Howard Lerman, Chairman, Cofounder and CEO, Yext
  • Lem Lloyd, VP, North America Channel Sales, Yahoo
  • Stephane Marceau, CMO, Yellow Pages Group (Canada)
  • Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and Cofounder, LivingSocial
  • Scott Pomeroy, President and CEO, Local Insight Media
  • Ken Ray, VP and CMO, AT&T Advertising Solutions

Click to view the complete list of DMS ’10 speakers.

Click to here to register for the conference.