I just noticed that Facebook has a listing of nearby businesses in the right sidebar with star ratings and a buttons for users to click to like a business. I never noticed that before, but it’s interesting. Just another example of how prevalent a businesses reputation is today. The star rating is there for all to see, and FB users can add a like to the business if they wish.
This time of year, the Yellow Page reps are busy on the phone calling businesses like yours to get them to renew ads in paper and online versions. A number of my own clients are cancelling any ad spending they currently do.
If you are among those who are spending hundreds, if not thousands a month on YP make sure you watch the video above. Unless your target market is — for example — seniors, chances are you are wasting money on anything but the free YP listings.
Check out this picture of a search for ‘yellow’ pages in Google hot trends for the US. This refers to online searches only and will encompass both searches for products and services and people looking for help from YP for one reason or another. In any case, you can see that the trend is dramatically down.
For alternatives, look to local online sites like popular directories and free used item websites. These can generate a lot of targeted business — a much better dollar spend than through the YP.
Also, don’t neglect your reputation marketing. That is, make sure you get great reviews from your customers and publish those reviews on the web through sites like Google+, Yelp and Yellow Pages (your free listing). This will get some ‘eyeballs’ to your business and some SEO ‘love’ from the search engines.
Bottom line: if you are still spending a bunch of money on the Yellow Pages , in most cases you need to quit already!
In 2011 Google did some research with Shopper Sciences to reveal the Zero Moment of Truth for the automotive industry. They discovered this to be a new step that consumers take in the process of making a buying decision.
Google says that marketers have traditionally followed a three-step mental model of marketing. The first step is ‘stimulus’, like developing a TV ad to stimulate interest. The second is ‘dealership’ — focusing on point-of-sale which has historically been called the ‘first moment of truth‘. The third step is ‘experience’ — people driving their car home and experiencing it. They could have a good experience, or a bad one, and they share it. This is called the ‘second moment of truth‘.
The expectation is that if auto dealers follow the above ‘three steps’ they would have selling success. However, Google found something different when they interviewed 500 recent auto purchasers. The goal was to show where influence takes place as the auto shopper moves from undecided to decided in the buying process.
Google found that the average auto shopper used 18.2 sources of information before a purchase. They found that a fourth step appeared in the mental model which they call the ‘zero moment of truth‘. This is when consumers do their research and do comparisons, all before going to visit a dealership. A stand-out point in the research was that seven out of eight shoppers did their research online — much more that TV, newspapers, and radio and other ‘stimulus’ activities.
The research showed that in terms of both engagement and influence, the ‘zero moment of truth’ was second only to the experience the shopper had when they were actually in the dealership.
The bottom line is that consumers have changed the way they purchase vehicles and service and auto dealers that can integrate the traditional three steps with the zero moment of truth (ZMOT) and its online focus, will have an advantage over their competition. But the research findings can be applied more broadly — to just about any business that caters to consumers. So the question if you are a business owner is: are you offering your target market the best experience of your business at the zero moment of truth? Is your online presence the best you can make it, and are you differentiating your business from the competition?