Coudray describes how to strengthen your online marketing and improve your standing in search-engine results.
By Mark Coudray
A second effect was also at work. This was the redefining of the role of the producer in the equation. Many, but not all, of the Web-to-print companies were—and are—brokers. They’ve established regional manufacturing arrangements with existing producers. They are effectively taking over the marketing function and simply providing job flow to the printers. Of course, the margins on these jobs is much lower, but the producing companies aren’t doing as much of the work.
This has worked relatively well for those companies for the last eight or nine years, but there’s a sea change happening right now. External factors are coming into play that will allow local companies to regain ground lost to these national and international Internet-based companies.
It’s no surprise to anyone that traditional media like newspapers, magazines, television, and radio have all lost ground to digital advertising and marketing media. Traditional directory advertising has taken a huge hit as more and more companies drop their advertising in this area as well.
Changing approaches to buying
Three major events have taken place over the last two years that will affect your business moving forward. The first is the rise of the smart phone and the introduction of local search marketing. Google recognizes this and now the results of Google Places often will control more than half the search results of page one for a local search.
The second factor is the migration online of the traditional print directories. Yellow Pages is now yellowpages.com. There are superpages.com, yp.com, citysearch.com, merchantcircle.com, manta.com, hotfrog.com, and so on. In markets where local companies have done a poor job of search-engine optimization (SEO), the entire results of a local search for the first page of Google will be made up of Google Places results and directory results.
The third factor—and this is huge—is the consumer trend to search online but buy locally. Here are some of the recent (December 2010) results of several prominent online surveys. According to Yahoo Local, as of the end of last year, 97% of consumers started their searches for local purchases online. For all small businesses, according to Discover, 45% still don’t have a Website. The same survey reveals that these businesses feel it is a myth that it’s necessary to have a site because their market is local and they know the people locally.
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