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
300×250 – English YellowPages.ca and Canada411.ca Search Brick
336×228 French PagesJaunes.ca Search Brick
250×250 French PagesJaunes.ca and Canada411.ca Search Brick
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.
In a posting done by Jeff Jarvis on December 30 titled “9 Remarkable Stats on Google“, Jeff did a very good job of highlighting some interesting stats on Google.
I spent a lot of my time in 2007 working with a number of people from the Google organization in my role with Yellow Pages Group and for as much as we hear Google as the corporate entity, like every successful company in the world, it is the people behind the company that make it truly remarkable.
Anyway, thanks to Jeff for compiling such a list, here are the ones that I found most interesting and I have included a CDN perspective:
- Google controls 65.1% of all searches in the U.S. at the end of 2007 and 86% of all searches in the UK, according to measurement company Hitwise. (For Canada, at least in terms of unique visitors and according to ComScore Media Metrix, November 2007, Google had 87.9% reach, MSN had 46.5%, Ask had 31.4% and Yahoo had 28.1% – this is not the same as searches, but gives you an idea of where Google is within the Canadian market specifically)
- Google earned $15 billion revenue and $6.4 billion profit in 2007, a profit margin of 26.9%. Its revenue was up 57% in the last quarter of 2007 over 2006, says Yahoo Finance. As of late 2007, its stock was up 53% in a year. The company has a market capitalization of $207.6 billion. (As of close of market today – Google’s valuation is 214.36B)
- Google employed almost 16,000 people at the end of 2007, a 50% increase over the year before. (I have been to their offices in Mountain View and New York, they have an incredible culture. I only worry about the employees whose first job is with Google – they are going to be spoiled for life)
- Google became the No. 1 brand in the world in 2007, according to Millward Brown Brandz Top 100. (here is the link to this report – the ranking is on page 10. Google is valued at 66.4B, GE at 61.9B, Microsoft at 54.9B, Coco Cola at 44.1B and China Mobile at 41.2B. The top Canadian firm on the list is the Royal Bank of Canada (#39) valued at 13.6B
- Google controls 79% of the pay-per-click ad market, according to RimmKaufman. It controls 40% of all online advertising, according to web site HipMojo.
“We don’t have a monopoly. We have market share. There’s a difference.”
“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
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
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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.