Category Archives: Directory and Yellow Pages Advertising

Posts related specifically directory or Yellow Pages advertising in both print and online.

Google Premium SMB Partner in Canada and my LifeinYellow.ca Guest Blog Post on Partnerships

2013 has been a great start for YPG again and my role as head of business development. We closed off 2012 with a landmark deal with Yahoo to power their local search, “[FIRST LOOK] Yahoo! Canada Integrates YellowAPI.com for Local Search” and have started off 2013 expanding that relationship along with a number of new deals that are at various stages of completion.

One such deal is our recent announcement to become Canada’s largest Premium SMB Partner of Google in Canada. We are now the only partner of Google who services businesses in every province in Canada and in both official languages which is pretty cool. You can read the official press release, “Yellow Pages Group Selected by Google as an AdWords Premier Partner for Small Businesses“.

As part of this announcement I have done a guest post on LifeInYellow.ca titled; Investing in Partnerships That Benefit Our Small Business Clients. In this post I talk about the importance of a robust partner eco-system to ensure that we get SMB information in front of as many consumers as possible.

Click on the link about or the image below to read my latest post.

The YPG Canada partner eco-system to ensure that Canadian SMB's get as much exposure to consumers as possible.

The YPG Canada partner eco-system to ensure that Canadian SMB’s get as much exposure to consumers as possible.

The 8 Most Unusual or Out of the Ordinary Local Business Questions on Answers.YellowPages.ca

The YellowPages.ca Answer Service has been running for over 1-month now and the numbers of local questions being asked and answered is increasing steadily. There are a lot of questions around plumbers, mechanics, electricians, restaurants, etc, however, I wanted to highlight some questions that don’t really fall into the traditional categories of what people are looking for.


Here is my list of the 8 most usual or out of the ordinary local business questions asked by users:

I will continue to monitor and update this list later in the year with more unique questions that are being asked.



From a business perspective the Answer service can be used to increase sales and leads to your business. Here are 3-Steps on how a local businesses can take advantage of this service?

1) Create an account and if your business uses Twitter, connect it to your twitter feed
2) Monitor the questions
3) If a user is asking for a recommendation on your business category or you think you can help them out, provide a recommendation. I suggest that you disclose that you are recommending your own business. In the comments field give some insight into why that person should do business with you.

What this does for a local business is gives them direct access to users who might be interested in their products or services and opens a dialogue with users.

YellowPages.ca Launches Affiliate Program in French and English

YellowPages.ca has launched its affiliate program. This program has all the standard IAB sizes for search bricks, the ability to select between YellowPages.ca stand-alone or YellowPages.ca and Canada411.ca integrated bricks in both French and English.

A versatile program for any website that has local traffic in Canada and definitely one program to look for. Currently the program is invite only, so if you are interested in joining – send me your website via my comments and I will forward directly to the affiliate manager.

For full program details – please visit Affiliates.YellowPages.ca.

You can see an working example at CanadaEast.com.

Here are some examples of the types of search bricks you can select – note I will only display bricks that fit within my blog. The affiliate program contains all the major search brick sizes including; 234×60, 728×90, 468×60, 180×150, 300×250, 336×228, 250×250 and 300×140.

180×150 – English YellowPages.ca Search Brick

yellowpages.gif

300×250 – English YellowPages.ca and Canada411.ca Search Brick

yellowpages2.gif

336×228 French PagesJaunes.ca Search Brick

pagesjaunes.gif

250×250 French PagesJaunes.ca and Canada411.ca Search Brick

pagesjaunes2.gif


My Interview with Larry Sullivan of Local Biz Bits

Posted a couple of days ago is an interview that I did with Larry Sullivan of Local Biz Bits, blog dedicated to provides relevant information, in simple terms, on local search marketing and related Internet marketing techniques for small businesses.

The interview was on such subjects as the local search space in Canada, the impact of social networking, my thoughts on local search in the US and Europe and more.

If you are interested in reading this interview please visit the posting, Local Search – Canadian Style.

Word of Mouth Needs Support – A Deeper Look at Web Referral Traffic

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
Tony Robbins

In discussions with small business owners, when asked, what method of tracking do you use to measure your new sales, the most common response is “I ask my consumers where they heard about me”. Usually the second part of the conversation goes this way – “word of mouth is my best form of advertising” and “I tried many forms of advertising, none have worked for me”.

For this particular post I want to focus on two areas:

1) How word-of-mouth (WOM) needs support
2) How to leverage in-store questions and online traffic

Word-Of-Mouth

I am a very strong believer in WOM and the incredible growth it can generate. That being said, WOM often takes more credit away from supporting advertising vehicles, giving the impression to a SME that their advertising is not working.

A typical conversation with a new customer may go like this:

Bus Owner: Thanks for coming in. How did you happen to hear about our store?
Customer: A friend recommended you
Bus Owner: That’s great, if you liked the service today, please tell your friends

The above dialogue is good, however, what if the conversation was slightly changed:

Bus Owner: Thanks for coming in. Can I ask you two questions about how you come to our store today?
Customer: Sure
Bus Owner: How did you hear about out store?
Customer: From a friend
Bus Owner: Thanks, how did you get our address?
Customer: From your website? From my friend? From the Yellow Pages?
Bus Owner: That’s great, if you liked the service today, please tell your friends about us and have them visit my website, Yellow Pages ad, etc. for my store details.

Of course the exact questions can be changed and tailored, but the main point is that in most cases WOM is supported by another medium that connects the buyer and the seller. People will refer people they like to people they trust, however, those same people will usually not know all the details about your business. WOM can accelerate your sales when you have a support mechanism behind it and you incorporate it into your WOM strategy.

In-Store Questions and Online Traffic

Continuing with the example above and examining customers who indicated they used the Internet to find your address, we need to examine our web analytics. The first question I usually get is, should I ask customers how they found me on the web? I advise against asking any questions about how people found you on the web. The reason is that there is a lot of confusion among web users – so the typical response is Google – even if they used MSN, Yahoo or something else. This gives the illusion that all web traffic is generated from Google – which is not the case. As a business owner, if you have a good analytics package – all you need to know from your customers is whether they saw your website. Once you have a in-store count you can cross-reference this with your web analytics to find out what is and is not working online.

As a side-note I want to share a quick story. I helped a auto dealer in Calgary with their tracking and customer acquisition strategies. Calgary has two major newspaper dailies – the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun. We started by creating a baseline, by spending one month asking customers how they came to stop by the dealership. Of the two newspaper dailies what we found was that 25% came from paper 1 and 15% came from paper 2. Here is where it gets interesting – this particular dealership had not advertised in paper 2 for a couple of years, yet 15% of new customers said they found the dealership there. Here is my take on this non-scientific survey – when asked, some customers will simply answer what comes to their mind first as opposed to what is actual. Not because they are dishonest, just that they most likely don’t care and will answer to shut you up. The same thing is happening on the web – I bet I could take 10 people who use Yahoo Search as their primary engine and half of them, when asked quickly, would probably say Google. My point is that only relying on asking people how they found you on the web can be misleading, whereas this potential misleading information does not exist with web analytics.

Here are some stats from my mom’s business, The Bra Lady. What we have learned over the past 4-years of tracking results is that WOM is by far her #1 way of generating new business with the Internet as her primary support mechanism to WOM. What we have also found is that many people are referred to her business, but use search engines and directories to find her web address. Probably 80% of her new clients indicate that Internet played a role. NOTE: this may be high and in her particular situation makes a lot of sense – because she is a home based business. However, when I worked with Auto Dealers – this number was about the same and dentists were up there as well.

On a monthly basis we compare the number of referrals who indicate the Internet was a source of them finding her to her actual analytics – we use Google Analytics to understand better exactly how these people ending up finding her.

Here is the aggregate view:

bralady_traffic_from_yellow_pages.jpg

In the above you will notice that the top three referrers of traffic are Google, YellowPages.ca, and Direct. Examining just the top three referrers, typically I would examine further both the traffic from YellowPages.ca and Google.

For Google:

bralady_google_top_keywords.png

What I notice is the majority of keywords from Google are good quality. You will notice that keyword #20 – the one that references ebay is not considered a good keyword, however, this is the nature of search engines. It is important when examining search engine traffic to look at the keywords to get a accurate picture. The conclusion is that Google is generating good traffic.

For YellowPages.ca:

bralady_traffic_from_yellow_pages.png

What I notice is that the top referring URL from yellowpages.ca is the merchant page that was built for her business by YPG – this is good – it supports the decision to have the website URL located on this page. If I continue to examine further I see that users were searching using keywords we anticipated and specifically in Calgary. What I like about directory traffic is that people don’t surf directories. They go there for a purpose – usually to find something in particular – so the traffic generated here is high-quality.

For Direct:
This is pretty self-explanatory.

You will notice that we are also showing other top referrers in Facebook and CalgaryPlus.ca. I did a posting back in July of this year – Facebook – Can Local Business Florish in Social Networking? and its potential impact on local business – watch for this. For those of you interested – here is an article I posted back in 2005 on the strength of media companies and front-page placement – Power of Front Page Placement.

In conclusion – I would challenge any SME to dig a little deeper in 2008 in terms of their tracking and understanding of customers. Also I would encourage you to not presuppose answers as to where online traffic might come from. In Canada – we are continually bombarded with US news and information about the Internet, which sometimes gives us a US perspective on traffic as opposed to a CDN perspective on traffic. Build your measurement criteria, find the tools to track and examine them monthly – this will generate great results for your business in 2008.


Taking a Look at Local Merchant Pages in Canada

I thought it would be interesting to run a blog post comparing different ways to present information on local businesses in Canada. Most local business sites present information in a standardized way, so the following examples will give you an idea of what some of the most common players in Canada are doing. By the way – there are many small regional players in the local space, however, for this particular post I wanted to focus on sites that the majority of Canadians who recognize.

Lastly I had to reduce the images to fit within my blog post – so for a real comparison, please click on the images to load the full page.

YellowPages.ca has recently launched a new look merchant page – see screenshot below from Martin Grove Volkswagen in Toronto.

Martin Grove Volkswagon on YellowPages.ca

Here is a screen shot of the same company on Google Maps

Martin Grove Volkswagen on Google

Here is a screen shot from Yahoo Local

Martin Grove Yahoo Local