Tag Archives: USA Today

Survey: SMB’s Wasting Their Time With Social Media

Ouch.  The digital fanatics’ aren’t going to like this one:  As reported in the USA TodayMost small businesses feel like they are wasting their time on social media, according to a new survey.

The survey indicated that about 61% of small businesses don’t see any return on investment on their social-media activities, according to a survey released from Manta, a social network for small businesses. Yet, the big disconnect is that almost 50% of those SMB’s say they’ve increased their time spent on social media.  What’s going on?

In reality, many small businesses just don’t have a true place they fit in yet when it comes to social media.  Most SMB’s will jump in because of peer pressure, or media pressure, or the perception that their business will be left behind even if they have no clue what they’re trying to get out of a social-media campaign. The quote of the day in the article is from Stephanie Schwab, CEO of Crackerjack Marketing:

“Just thinking that Facebook alone will send droves of customers to your doorstep is a mistake a lot of people make”

Why are SMB’s getting into social media anyway?  The study indicates that:

  • 36% said their goal was to acquire and engage new customers,
  • 19% said to gain leads and referrals,
  • 17% said to boost awareness.

And I’m willing to bet that 90+% of them think it’s cheaper than traditional media like print Yellow Pages.  And it may be at the onset.  But isn’t it usually true that you get what you pay for?

Take this one SMB quoted in the article:

“…Regina Hartt, owner of Hartt’s Pool Plastering in Turlock, Calif., says social media hasn’t helped her business because there are too many disreputable companies in the construction business, and no amount of “Likes” on Facebook is going to sway a prospective customer to spend $5,000 to $40,000 on a pool-plastering job. Hartt created a Facebook page for her business over a year ago, but she says out of the 200 to 300 jobs she does a year only three or four come from people who have found the business online…”

How many jobs do think this pool company could get from a print and online Yellow Pages ad program over the course of a year?  I would be willing to bet it far exceeds what they are getting from Facebook.

Perhaps the industry can help SMB’s through this dilemma.  Aren’t we the people who do the “fact finding” on each and every call to help identify where a business stands?   And aren’t we the industry that has simple, one stop solutions in print, online, and mobile?

Folks, we just need to show them the “power of yellow…”

News U Can Use – January

These news items are brought to you by Kuk & Baldwin:

THE COOLNESS FACTOR.     It used to be that high school photos would be taken by a photographer who would set up in the gym one day and snap away as class members filed in one by one.   Typically, the price for a complete “package” would top out at $60 or $70.   But that’s no longer cool.   More and more moms are now making private appointments with the local hip photographer to have model-like photos of their teenagers, and they’re willing to pay the price – for example, in Austin, Texas, $699 for the basic pose and $1199 for the complete package.   The key, according to one parent, is about making the portrait show some individuality, with professional light and shadow, etc. (USA Today, 11/12/12).

GOT MOLD?     Nationwide, mold-Inspection laws are in a state of flux – e.g., Arkansas and Virginia both passed mold-inspection laws and then repealed them; and only Florida and Texas have licensing laws for mold inspectors.   But household mold poses a health threat everywhere, and mortgage lenders frequently require a mold inspection.   That’s why CIE certification (certified indoor environmentalist) is a key credential for many contractors.   The author of the source article achieved CIE certification, enabling him to command $300 to $600 per inspection – and he noted his “yellow-page ads were very effective, accounting for about 75% of my sales for the first two years” (Journal of Light Construction, 11/12).

LAWYER STATS.     In 2011, over 44,000 US law students graduated from ABA-accredited law schools, and nine months later only about half had found jobs in the legal field.   Indeed, in 2010 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics had forecast some 74,000 new lawyer jobs from 2010 to 2020 – but only three years into that decade, some 133,000 new lawyers have hit the job market, and by 2020 there will be 300,000 additional grads.   As we’ve said before in this publication, a great many of these new lawyers will be forced to hang out their own shingle, some out of home offices – and if you can identify them, you need to let them know how important it is for them to be well represented in the YP (Wall St. Journal, 11/9/12).

Find out how to be at the top of your sales performance by clicking on www.kukbaldwin.com.

Recent media/advertising news of note:

What the “fiscal cliff” deal really means for small-business owners
After weeks of speculation and on/off discussions, Congress finally got a deal done.  Now most small-business owners are expecting to see their taxes to rise. “The fiscal cliff deal will make me spend more time working in the business rather than on the business,” commented Bill Westrom, who owns a financial-consulting firm with just five employees. (Source).  The topic is covered in YP Talk in part one of our two-part series about what 2013 holds for SMB’s (Link).

Super Bowl ad slots almost sold out

But then again times can’t really be that bad can they? USA Today is reporting that CBS, which will air this year’s Super Bowl game has just two 30-second Super Bowl ad slots left to sell (and they are probably taken by now) at their record rates of at least $3.8 million for a 30-second slot. Viewers should look for new advertisers, more social media tie-ins, and longer ads at this upcoming 2013 Super Bowl.  <Source>

Internet Advertising Revenues Hit Historic High in Q3 2012

Even in a weak economy, advertisers are pointing more of their advertising dollars towards the Internet.   According to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report figures released by IAB and PwC US, Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. reached $9.26 billion for the third quarter of 2012, making it the largest quarter on record with an 18% increase year-over-year, in comparison to Q3 2011’s $7.8 billion. In addition, they mark a 6% increase over the Q2 2012 figures of $8.72 billion. <Source>

Billboards doing well in Time Square in New York

Never mind that the One Times Square building which hosts the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop has almost no tenants,  it still earns more than $23 million a year in ad revenue. How?  Companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Sony and News Corp. are among the brands that spend millions each year digital billboard advertising to reach people milling around in Times Square.  Even during non-New Year’s days, it’s a very busy place with lots of potential eyeballs.  With digital boards, some of big dollar success comes from being able to change and turnaround new messages faster and with lots of moving graphics. (Source)

Mobile-ad spending continues to grow
There has been no shortage of reports of significant increases in mobile-ads.  According to an eMarketer analysis, the U.S. leads the way with search and display spending up 220% in 2012. Globally, mobile-ad spending reached $8.41 billion, compared with slightly more than $4 billion in 2011. (Source)

ZenithOptimedia has also estimated that traditional media ad spending will be flat in 2013, mobile is still likely to see strong growth.  Factors working in mobile’s favor are its low cost and high levels of consumer engagement, both of which are appealing to advertisers with tight budgets.  (Source)

The increasing expenditures in mobile are also being channeled towards social media mobile sites.  For example, some brands are now putting 20% of their Facebook ad spending into mobile campaigns, up from 14% in October, according to a Kenshoo study.. (Source)

A Tablet Christmas Day
What did you get for Christmas?  Chances are it was a new tablet.  On Christmas Day there were 17.4 million tablet device activations, more than doubling the number of devices from a year before, according to mobile ad/analytics firm Flurry. Tablets also saw more activations than smartphones this year, the firm reports. In other measures, non-Apple tablets gained in popularity on the iPad, and while Christmas Day saw a record number of application downloads.  How many yellow page apps do you think were downloaded?? (Source)

Still haven’t picked out your tablet?  Looking for something to bridge the gap between laptop and smartphone? Here is a review of ten top-rated tablets. (Source)

Twitter Growing in Scope and Usage
Twitter has become the hot social media these days and there has been no shortage of news.  First, if you are little behind about this new media, you can start with a list of “Golden Tweets” that generated the greatest number of “retweets” in 2012. At the top of the heap was President Barack Obama’s “Four more years” tweet, celebrating his victory in the U.S. election. Other much-shared tweets included Justin Bieber’s tribute to a deceased fan; the U.K. Olympic team celebrating its successes; and a Japanese voice actor announcing his engagement to a fellow star. (Source)

Did you also know that over three-quarters of world leaders now use Twitter?  That is an increase of 78% from 2011, according to a Digital Policy Council report. President Barack Obama remains the social network’s top political leader, with 24.6 million followers, followed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, who has 3.8 million followers.  Of course, it’s not really Barack banging away on the keys, but I think you get the concept – Twittering isn’t just for the common folks looking for their 15 milliseconds of fame. (Source)

However, sometimes those tweets can get in you trouble.  Take Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.  He was recently fined $50,000 by the NBA after posting a tweet criticizing the league’s referees. Cuban’s tweet, posted after the Mavs were defeated by the New Orleans Hornets, said he has “failed miserably” at getting the league to fix referee-related issues (Source)

Digital revenues still not there for traditional publishers yet
While all of this twittering, mobile advertising, and social media growth is going on, “traditional publishers” (talking creative media here, not yellow pages) still aren’t offsetting losses from declining print and broadcast advertising with digital advertising.  Web ads are accounting for just a small percent of radio and newspaper groups’ total revenues. Publishers still believe  digital has plenty of promise, “but as 2012 draws to an end, it’s clear that this promise is still more theoretical than real,” writes Erik Sass. (Source)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who says Yellow Page publishers are dull, uncreative, and no fun??

One of the items pinging around the internet world these days is the hunt for Batman.  Really.

Turns out that American actor Adam West, best known for his lead role in the original Batman TV series on the ABC TV network and the initial Batman feature film from 1966 lives near Ketchum, Idaho.  Even at the ripe young age of 84, West is still well known for his voice work on animated series such as The Fairly OddParents and Family Guy.

An online blogger known as slapshotten11 also happens to live near West, and recently decided to look him up in the Names & Numbers Sun Valley Idaho phone book that covers the Kethcum area.  As he found, it wasn’t easy to track down the Batman:

The idea was the brain child of Ken Martin, a sales manager at Names & Numbers. We asked him to tell us more about how this little bit of fun came to be in the Sun Valley Names and Numbers Telephone Book:

“…About 20 years ago, I was skiing in my home town of Sun Valley, Idaho.  It was April and a beautiful day. I stopped for a mid-mountain break and snack at the historic Roundhouse Restaurant.  The deck at Roundhouse is a favorite place to enjoy the sunshine and views.  While there, I overheard the unmistakable voice of Adam West, a Sun Valley local.  He was having lunch at Roundhouse with his wife.  Adam’s voice is quite distinctive and reminded me of his character Batman from the Batman television series.  As per local Sun Valley etiquette, I let them enjoy their day without any intrusion and resumed skiing.

A few weeks later, we started sales for the Sun Valley Names & Numbers Telephone Book.  One night, I reminisced about my encounter with Adam West and thought it would be fun to put Batman in the telephone book.   I gave that a bit of thought and came up with an idea.

At the time, it was pretty easy for me to add a new “custom” yellow page heading.  I thought; let’s create a new heading for CRIMEFIGHTERS.  As I began to write up the appropriate paperwork, I thought I’ll make it more fun by creating a cross-reference to the white pages which led me to more creative thinking and including something about ‘Bruce Wayne – Millionaire’ and Adam West.  I wrote up an order with 4 different white and yellow page listings (as seen above).

Several months went by as we continued our sales in Sun Valley and I completely forgot about the Batman listing.  The book was delivered in November and I was having dinner with some friends at a local restaurant.  Our waitress knew that I did the phone book and told me how she went to look up the phone number of Tom West and came across the listing for Adam West and Batman.  She thought that was hysterical.  I thought, I hope we don’t get sued for trade name or copyright violation.

The next morning, I was in our office and the telephone rang.  It’s a small office and I could hear the receptionist’s conversation.  Our receptionist’s name answered the phone and I heard her say “Oh hi Batman, this is Robin…..  yes, he’s here,  would you like to speak with him?”  Robin informed me that Batman was on the phone and wanted to speak with me.

I took the call.  It was clearly Adam West’s voice who asked me if I was the person responsible for putting Batman in the telephone book.  I hesitated before responding, thinking again… what have I done and do I want to admit this.  I had to tell the truth and replied that indeed it was me.  Adam West responded that he thought it was great and that he really appreciated that we hadn’t listed his actual telephone number and asked if he could stop by to pick up some copies to send to his friends.

About a week later, on the front page of USA Today was the caption:  “Holy Run Around – in the local Sun Valley telephone directory, Batman is listed under CRIMEFIGHTERS in the yellow pages”  They then proceeded to provide the rest of the chain of listings.  The story also was on nationally syndicated radio as well as on the Tonight Show.

The listings have continued to appear ever since and is part of what sets the Names and Numbers Telephone Directory apart.….”

Who says Yellow Page publishers can’t be creative and have a little fun?   Perhaps more publishers should consider similar efforts as a way to bring some additional attention to the high quality print and online products they produce.  It certainly can’t hurt…