Replacing phonebooks since 2000.


AUGUST, 2016

Do you remember ordering pizza before the internet? We would open up the phone book to the yellow section, look for “Pizza Restaurant,” and then call the one we wanted. Sometimes there would be a coupon next to the section with standing promotions for Dominos or Little Ceasar’s and we would call the one with the good coupon and the huge phone number.

I haven’t used a phone book in years. And when I want to order pizza now, I search Google for ‘pizza delivery’ and pick the one I want.

Whether it is a dentist, or a doctor, or a tax accountant, or just dinner, the phone book is no longer where people find goods and services. Google is.

None of this is surprising to the majority of readers. What is surprising is how often businesses, even relatively large businesses, don’t embrace this in their marketing strategies.

There is an underlying assumption in some industries, especially in specialized, niche services, that ‘no one is looking online for’ someone to dig a well or build a custom hanger door or provide corporate payroll services. This is simply untrue.

Let’s go back to the phone book for a minute. Let’s say you own a business that builds high-end custom pools. 20 years ago, you would have had two listings in the phone book, one under the Pools category with your competitors and one under your own name. With Google, you could be listed as for as many products and services that you are willing to optimize for – pool builder, custom pool builder, in-ground pool builder, pool repair, pool replacement, pools with slides, pool filters, etc. There are some limits, of course. You wouldn’t want to be listed for shoe salesman. But how many more phone calls would you get if you had listed been in the phone book 40, 50, or 100 times instead of 2?

“There is an underlying assumption in some industries that ‘no one is looking online for’ someone to dig a well or build a custom hanger door or provide corporate payroll services. This is simply untrue.”

That’s what Search Engine Optimization is – getting your business listed higher in the place people look for services. The place we all look for services every day, whether we are looking as individual or business consumers.

So how do you include SEO in your marketing strategies? The first step is to talk to someone who knows SEO. Your business probably gets pitched with those super-sketchy, slick SEO guys all the time. Keep ignoring those guys. But people who know SEO, do SEO. Search for an SEO provider in your city and set up some conversations. Decide that this is a priority, decide what resources you can devote to your goals, and listen to the experts. Good SEO doesn’t happen overnight – it is a long-term investment in the visibility of your business.

And the next time some company leaves a phone book at your door, call them to say you don’t need it. You’ve got Google instead.

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