O’Kuly & Associates
The Vandalia Chamber, in conjunction with O’Kuly & Associates, recently completed a survey to answer two questions: 1.) How many people use the internet versus the phonebook to look up local businesses, and 2.) Which phonebook is used most often?
It is interesting that 66 percent used the internet the most, while only 34 percent said they used a phonebook to look up a local business. For phonebooks, the Hometown Phonebook hit a home run, with Yellowbook a distant second, and the Yellow Pages barely made a mark with a mere 6 percent of the responders using it.
The most telling information though came from a breakdown by age of those using the internet to look up local business information. In the 16-30 age group, a whopping 92 percent used the internet rather than a phonebook with the majority of them using a smartphone to access information.
The 31-49 age group was a bit more disparate, with 70 percent using the internet over using a phonebook. Fifty-one percent of those used a smartphone with the remaining 45% split between using tablets and home computers to look up local business information.
In the 50-plus group only 40 percent used the internet versus 60 percent using a phonebook to look up a local business. Another major difference with this group is that they tend to use their home computer when using the internet to look up a local business. Of that 40 percent, 37 percent used a smartphone and you can expect this number to increase because this group is finding this is the best way to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren. Who, by the way, are the ones most often teaching them how to use their new electronic toy!
So what can be gleaned from this information? If you advertise in the yellow pages of phonebooks, put your big money in the Hometown Phonebook, put a decent ad in the Yellowbook and make sure your business name is spelled correctly in the Yellow Pages Phonebook.
Next make sure you have a website that you market to the 60 percent that use the web to lookup local business information. If you have a brick and mortar business, it is extremely important to make sure you are listed on Google Business Maps followed up with Yahoo and Bing Business Maps.
Completely opposite of this survey’s information on phonebooks, make sure you are listed correctly with the online Yellow Pages because that is the most popular app after Google for looking up businesses.
Although pundits will take this information and tell you that traditional advertising, like radio and newspapers, is dead, don’t believe them. Traditional advertising is still strong, especially in our area. With that said though, ask yourself these questions before you advertise:
What are you selling?
Who are your customers?
How much money do you have to spend?
What is the timeframe of what you want to accomplish?
Use the answer to those questions to decide the best way to advertise., However, make sure you ask yourself the most important overall question about branding: What do you want your customers and the community to think about you and your business? Act and advertise accordingly.
The bottom line from this survey is to show you how to spend your money more wisely when advertising in phonebooks, and within that even saving money. It is also about not leaving any money on the table, i.e., building your profits by making sure you have a presence, an easy to use presence, on the internet.
The survey was conducted at three area service stations that have mostly local traffic: FS, Sunset 66 and Circle K. There were 304 survey participants and a drawing was held at each station for a $25 gas card.