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Local Customers Use Internet More Than Yellow Pages

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A new study has revealed that print yellow pages are no longer the main way customers seek local information. The internet (through search engines, local directories etc.) is now the top way consumers look for local information.

The study, conducted in July 2008 by TMP Directional Marketing, was a follow up to a similar study performed in May 2007 with the goal of understanding the value and use of online and offline local search sources including internet and print yellow pages and search sites. The results compared to the previous year, show a big shift in how consumers find local merchants:

Search Engines Now the Primary Information Source

In 2008, for the first time, search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN were the leading source of information for local customers. This means that more local customers are now using the internet to find local merchants and other businesses online. The report also revealed an increased usage frequency of online sources which are used at least once a week or more compared to less than once a week for print directory usage.

Local Searchers are Likely to Act

The survey also found that a large number of local searches take some type of action. This may come in the form of a phone call, an in-store visit or even an email. This highlights that local searchers are in the final stages of their purchase decision and are almost ready to make a purchase.

The breakdown of the percentage of searches that seek further information was high across all online search sites:

  • Internet YP: 66 percent
  • Local Search Sites: 72 percent
  • General Search Sites: 66 percent

The message for local businesses is simple: You need to be found on the internet.

The days are gone where businesses could cover most of their market by simply advertising in the newspaper or print yellow pages, the internet needs to be considered. If you don’t know where to start to increase your local exposure, learn more about our G-Local Listing service, or download a free whitepaper on how PPC advertising can help you attract more local customers.

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