When I was young, I always got a chuckle because my mom kept a yellow pages in the trunk of her car. This was long before the Internet and smart phones. Her reasoning was that she would have a way to find a business while she was away from home. Yes, the yellow pages were indispensable back then. You may have even had the same reaction as Nathan Johnson did in “The Jerk” as shown in the movie clip below.
The clip ends with “I’m in print, things are going to start happening to me now!” OK, that is from a 1979 movie and it is certainly exaggerated. When you get a new phone book now, do you even open it? When was the last time you used it to find a company to help you?
Most people now use the Internet to find a company to solve the current issue. Often the search is done on a smartphone which means that keeping a phone book in your trunk is no longer needed. But if someone tries to find your company on the Internet, are they going to find you? If you are found, what will they find?
Now let’s talk about the money that businesses once budgeted for ads in the phone book. In talking to a printer in the Phoenix area, their quarter page ad cost them around $900 per month or $10,800 per year. When the phone book was no longer delivering customers to their shop, they had that money already budgeted for marketing.
Obviously a great replacement for an ad is a great Web site. It can deliver far more information than you could fit into a static ad. While building a site does have an upfront cost, the monthly cost to keep the content fresh doesn’t have to be expensive. In the case of the printer, it is less than $200 per month.
While the Web site is great, it is important to get people to the site. The printer runs ads on Google, Facebook and Yelp on a regular basis to bring potential customers to the Web site. Yes, that advertising costs money. I’m going to guess they spend around $500 each month for online advertising. Often I’m asked for more ways they can advertise their business.
Those of you who have had a business for many years will certainly understand the money you once budgeted for an ad in the phone book. Replacing that expense with online marketing expenses can give you wider exposure and still be a smaller investment. If you started a business more recently, it is still important that you allocate money (and time) each month to promoting your business.
Do you have a Web site? If not, you really should consider investing in even a very basic site. When was the last time your site got any significant updates? If it was more than a couple of years ago, you really need to look at updating your site to work with today’s devices. Now determine a budget to invest in a new or updated Web site. It doesn’t have to be a large number. That investment can pay off when more customers find your business.
Once the site is all set, make sure you have a good presence on at least a couple of social media platforms. Facebook is important for most all businesses. The second or third choice can vary based on your business. Also consider a monthly budget to promote your business online. Once again, it doesn’t have to be a big number if you choose the right platforms.
Need some help with your Web site, social media platforms and online promotion? We’d love to help you. Just give us basic information about how we can help, and we’ll use our online marketing talents for your business. Yes, you may have guessed it, this blog post is one way that we promote our business online.
Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.