Frager Factor

Friday, September 28, 2007

Menu For Local Search Success

Local Search Poised For Marketing Success
People in the US tend to spend 80 percent of their budgets within 50 miles of their homes, and the Kelsey Group thinks that bodes well for local advertising's $110 billion market to shift more into local search ads. Only about four percent of local ad dollars are currently being spent on local search advertising. The Kelsey Group expects that to grow, and fast. They forecast a 50 percent annual growth rate for local search spending.

Enjoying that growth and more means facing down the yellow pages companies for the attention of local people seeking information. It's a challenge for Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, all highly desirous of more of the local search market.

The yellow pages publishers have an advantage today. The Kelsey Group refers to local ad service selling as a "high-touch" occupation, and salespeople can be expensive.

Meanwhile, print and online Yellow Pages provider R.H. Donnelley is testing a new voice-enabled local search solution, dubbed "1-800-CallDex." The service, currently available in the Denver, Phoenix, Spokane and Tucson markets, provides free directory assistance (free DA) and local category search for consumers seeking businesses. The service provides addresses, phone numbers, business descriptions, hours of operation, payment methods and other information.

Free DA is a growing area, with limited consumer adoption and even more limited advertiser pick-up. The field is wide open to grab market share, with Jingle’s 800-free411, AT&T’s 1-800-yellowpages and Goog411 among the competitors.

R.H. Donnelley teamed up with Toronto-based Call Genie to power the service with its Enhanced Voice Directory (EVD) product. The latest release of the product allows consumers in 1-800-CallDex markets to refine their searches by referencing landmarks, neighborhoods and intersections. The system continuously updates itself to reflect how local residents refer to specific landmarks or locations.

R.H. Donnelley has made several moves to bring its offline dominance online. In July, the company announced its intent to acquire Business.com. This follows its 2005 acquisition of Dex Media, and the September 2006 acquisition of SEO/SEM firm LocalLaunch.

Just last week, the company announced an expanded relationship with Yahoo Local, distributing its online yellow pages data on Yahoo's network and streamlining the Yahoo Local ad-buying process for its print yellow pages advertisers.

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About The Author: Owen Frager is an Internet marketing expert ready to help take your company to the next level.

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