Thursday, August 24, 2006

To Yellow Page or not to Yellow Page...

This seems to be a question keeping many small business owners up late, busily debating pros and cons and crunching the numbers. Of course, the larger the ad, the more budget required... leaving smaller businesses at a further disadvantage versus the giant stores who distract customers with a full-page, (yet still two-dimensional and rather homogenous) Yellow Pages ad.

In an article, Dr. Lynella Grant, author of Yellow Page Smarts, cites research by The Kelsey Group in March 2005, which found that "70% of U.S. households now use the internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services."

The same Kelsey Group study also found that individuals felt that search engines are a "better source of purchasing information than Yellow Pages, newspapers and magazines."

Dr. Grant also points out that most computer-savvy customers, a large and ever-growing segment of the population, know that the most efficient way to find information on businesses is through search engines.

Unfortunately, if you are a small business owner (even if you have a website of your own) you will more than likely not be listed on search engines and remain unseen. If customers can't find you, no matter how great your products are or how friendly your store is, you stand to lose both first time and repeat business.

This unhappy scenario confronts most smaller businesses today: how do you get the word out when the Yellow Pages are over-priced and ineffective, and it's awfully hard to pursue search engine traffic on your own?

MerchantCircle has attacked this problem for you - we offer increased visibility on Google and Yahoo and, unlike the Yellow Pages, provide you with the tools needed to build your own business listing. This means you, as a merchant, are in control of what your potential customers learn about your business. You upload the pictures and you come up with your business description, coupons, blogs, and newsletters.

In addition, because most people rely on their friends' and family's opinions over a random ad floating on the Internet or hidden in the sea of Yellow Pages, MerchantCircle offers consumer ratings, merchant endorsements and your business network to build the bridge necessary to connect you to loyal, lifelong customers, all for free. Try to accomplish any of that by advertising in the Yellow Pages!


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