Practical Ecommerce

Local Pay-Per-Click Opportunities For Small Businesses

It’s been over a year and a half since I last covered the local pay-per-click market for Practical eCommerce. If there is one thing you can depend on, it is that this industry does not stand still. It’s definitely time to go over the latest opportunities and trends in the local pay-per-click space and ways you can apply them to your business.

Local online market is growing

The local online marketing industry is growing by leaps and bounds, but it’s still very fragmented, primarily because many portals choose to concentrate on specific topics (e.g., restaurants) or specific locations rather than trying to encompass everything. This makes sense. It’s easier to achieve critical mass working within a niche market and serving a targeted and interested audience, as opposed to trying to be all things to all people.

Unfortunately, this also means that each business needs to explore the options available specifically to them, as they will vary depending upon the industry and the location.

There are several categories of local search destinations, including:

  • Search Engines — Google, Yahoo, MSN, Local.com, and others now offer locally based advertising opportunities. Google is experimenting further with Google Maps, their Local Business Center, coupons, etc.

  • Local Guides — CitySearch.com, Yelp.com, and other portals typically provide local information via a number of categories. The key element, however, is that many use their community and social networking to add value by allowing people to read and post reviews, rate businesses, etc.

  • Internet Yellow Pages — YellowPages.com, SuperPages.com and most other traditional yellow pages publishers are developing an online presence. Due to well-developed brands, they attract a significant amount of targeted and quality traffic.

  • Niche Directories — AngiesList.com, NewYorkDoctors.com, and similar websites focus on a specific business category and/or location, which can make them good advertising avenues. More focus leads to more targeted traffic.

As a local-based business, you often have the opportunity to advertise or even receive free exposure, as many of these websites use available information to pre-fill their listings. Whether free or paid, it is important to monitor your listings to make sure that the information is relevant and up-to-date.

The growth of mobile marketing (especially with recent introductions such as the iPhone) takes browsing the Internet via mobile devices to a new comfort level for the general public, a development that will spur continued growth of the local online market. There is still time to get in on the emerging local pay-per-click market before it becomes saturated and costs rise. Anybody remember the days when you could get clicks on Google or Yahoo! for 5 cents each? Local will go the same way — it’s only a question of time.

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Legacy User October 1, 2007 Reply

    AskPoodle.com is revolutionizing local search and internet advertising for small businesses.

    — *Luis Pereira*

  2. Legacy User October 2, 2007 Reply

    I agree. Local PPC costs will rise, especially since most very small businesses are new to it and don't know how to monitor it or what else is on offer. We see it here in the UK with some IYP charging set prices – as high as US$1.00 per click – as a package or "managed" PPCproduct. Until small business owners become better educated and spend more time reviewing their options, they may end up spending far more than they should for sub-standard results.

    But as you mentioned some IYP, and more specifically Local Guides, can be a source of very valuable free advertising. In addition to the US ones you've listed, http://www.bizwiki.co.uk is a new UK local guide where business owners can manage their own listing and add far more detail and information than the standard address and phone number.

    — *Teresha*

  3. Legacy User October 2, 2007 Reply

    You are absolutely correct about local pay-per-click. MarketingRevisited.com has a great new case study providing data comparing local PPC and SEO to local radio advertising. The efficiency of the search marketing is staggering when compared to radio. Certainly with increasing competition for clicks at the local level, these returns will not last forever.

    — *Tom Blue*