One of my extra circular activities I enjoy is kickboxing. Today’s feature is discussing the similarities between directory advertising in Calgary and kickboxing. First let me describe 3 fundamentals of kickboxing.
Now what do the above 3 have to do with directory advertising. Let me explain my rationale,
#1) – Stance
In kickboxing we learn the proper stance. In a nutshell, left foot forward, right foot behind and constantly shifting , about 50%, to the front and back. The reason for this type of stance is to allow the body to be loose and to react to any situation our competition may throw at us. Weight
Being nimble is also important in directory advertising. For businesses it is important to look at the distribution between print and online directory advertising. Business is organic, meaning it changes all the time. Evaluating your directory advertising on a yearly basis, in terms of the balance between print and online directory advertising is critical to success over the next 12-months. Weight
In my seminars I talk about the end goal as being “positioning our organization in front of 100% of the Calgary market”. Print directory advertising alone does not accomplish this; businesses must incorporate online directories into their mix.
Many businesses agree with me that business is organic and doing business in 2005 is very different than business done in 1980. There is more competition for prospects dollars. Yet in the same vain, these businesses approach directory advertising from a 1980 perspective, believing that their print ad will capture prospects dollars. Like kickboxing, if you enter a match with the belief that your left foot should be planted without the ability to shift between your left and right, you probably will not last long. Directory advertising is the same, print is not better than the Internet, or vice versa, however, the question is, what Weight distribution do you have to have between print and online so that you can react to the changes in your industry? Weight
#2 – Focus
Kickboxing is about picking the weakest area of your component and going for it. To win the match you require focus. Focus requires patience. You evaluate your competition, feel them out and then strike the area that they leave open.
Directory advertising is very much the same thing. A focused approach allows you to gain that competitive advantage. Using a balance approach between print and online, you gain a competitive advantage allowing your business to gain new prospects that your competition has no access to.
Like I said in step #1, many businesses take a 1980 approach to directory advertising. They businesses believe that print is it and completely disregard the Internet. This is a huge advantage for businesses who understand the organic nature of their industry. As a business owner you can follow the pack of 1980 thinkers and still believe print receives 100% coverage, or you can position your stance and focus on the goal of gaining new prospects that your competition is leaving on the table for you to reach. What type of business owner are you?
#3 – Technique
In kickboxing we practice in front of a wall-sized mirror. The purpose of this is to see ourselves punch and kick and make the necessary modifications to improve our technique.
In directory advertising, we need to refine our technique as well. Just like watching yourself in a mirror, to improve, in directory advertising we need to track and measure our results to find out what is and what is not working. Once we do this, we can really focus on the areas that are producing the returns for us.
In my seminars, I talk about 3 ways to track your directory advertising. Ideally, businesses should be using all 3 methods; however, in some cases it is not practical so the methods are broken into one of 3 methods.
Method #1 – As the business owner you take the initiative
Method #2 – You let your customers takes the initiative
Method #3 – You let a computer take the initiative
Quickly to describe the 3 methods:
Method #1 – Ask the Right Question
Customer calls or stops by your business location.
You ask: “How did you hear about us?”
Customer Reponds: “Yellow Pages” or “Phone Book”
You ask: “Print or Online”
This simple second question usually results in businesses finding out that a growing percentage of their calls and walk-through traffic is actually coming from online directories. Without asking the second question, the business owner’s impressions that print directories are still driving all their business – which is simply not true anymore.
Method #2 – Make Your Business Listing Irresistible
Put an offer in your YellowPages.ca listing – examples next page. Unlike print directories, your business can leverage your Internet listing in ways not possible before, such as:
• Printable Coupons and Offers (no need to buy a specific coupon in the print directory)
• You can change it (redeeming to many offers? – change it – you can actually do that online)
Your customers will either print your offer or mention it when they are in your store. Is there any better way for you to track your results?
Method #3 – Track Your Web Stats
Your website will tell you how many visitors are coming from YellowPages.ca. The thing to remember is that these people cannot find you by accident – they are typing in a business name or category and selecting Calgary or your local area.
We know from research that:
Online business directory users who contact a business after looking it up on the Internet: 71%
Of this group, users who make a purchase or are likely to make a purchase: 62%
Source: “2003 Canadian Business Directory Usage Report”, TNS Canadian Facts, May 2004
In conclusion, directory advertising and kickboxing have a lot of similarities. The end goal for both of these is the same. Kickboxing is about winning the match; directory advertising is about making us money. As businesses, we are already spending money in directory advertising and hopefully we are demanding more from our ad spend. After all this is our business and our money and we should demand the most, do you agree?