We've already touched on why Yellow Pages ads are costly and ineffective in previous blogs, but it has just occurred to me the main reason Yellow Pages ads don't work -- they're impersonal. They're ads that say the same thing every time you look at them -- definitely no room for conversation there (unless you like talking to walls).
Where as websites provide a forum for business owners and customers to interact. There are actually people on the other side waiting to hear from customers, ready to talk about their business, and available to see how they can help patrons with their needs.
Not only do blogs and newsletters help merchants keep their customers up to speed on store happenings, customer reviews can help steer business owners in a direction that better serves the people in the community. Some customers browsing MerchantCircle have even used the customer review section as a means of asking merchants questions. And the businesses actually answer back:
Take a look at Pennsylvania's New Hope Photo's response to a customer's query.
And Badger Planning Group from Reedsburg, Wisconsin answers as well.
It's nice to see business owners who treat their customers with respect by answering so promptly. By keeping up with their listing, these merchants remember why they're here in the first place - to gain and keep customers through open communication with them. It's easy to forget customers you're advertising to when you have an ad in the Yellow Pages that's only tended once a year.
For other ideas on how to make your listing more appealing and informative to customers, take a look at some fun sample websites we've created:
Buchman Films (Mad About You)
Blue Moon Detective Agency (Moonlighting)