Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Successful Digital Presence

Ron Mintle, CEO, of Yellow Magic Incorporated shares critical steps for creating a successful digital presence for Directory Publishers.  

A Successful Digital Presence

Start With Your Core Business
There is a lot of value in your directory database, but it is only valuable when potential buyers can find sellers. Helping make this connection is what provides value to both buyers and sellers and is the primary source of revenue for you. Exploit this potential first. It can be tempting to try to create an “end-all” website, but you need to first create a tool for driving revenue, and then that revenue can be used to fund the expanded development of your website to add as many bells and whistles as you want.

Connecting Buyers and Sellers
The directory business has always been about connecting buyers and sellers, and that has not changed. But it is no longer the “one size fits all” world that we enjoyed with print. What has changed is that now there are a lot more ways to make connections and the competition is steep. What you need to keep in mind is that usage is situational. You need to expose your advertisers to all potential buyers at any time, anywhere, under all circumstances, and on all platforms. This means that you have to present solutions online, on mobile, social, and in print. Which platform will be used depends on many factors where, in most cases, you have no choice but to cover all of the bases.

Know Your Demographics
Who do you want to use your site? Learn what you can about the target audience. Age differences reflect what platforms are accessed and result in the different ways the sites are used. And there is a large disparity of usage between urban and rural users for print vs. digital. Do they have smartphones? Is there good cellular coverage? Do they have data plans or do they mainly use SMS? What is the percentage of broadband Internet connections into homes? Are they Cable, DSL, fiber, or what? All of these and a lot of other factors will determine what devices will be used and what will yield a good user experience. Tailor the site to service the demographics of the users.
Click here to read more.

Book View vs. Listing View
Showing the actual look-and feel of your printed directory has many advantages. Tests have shown that if all the user wants is a telephone number, listing-type results yield faster results, but if the user is trying to evaluate numerous sellers, the traditional layout and rich content of the printed book results in a phone call or purchase much faster. How often have you searched on your computer for something that you thought was
going to be fast and simple and 20 minutes later had not called anyone or bought anything? But by contrast, how often have you opened your printed book and still be staring at it 20 minutes later? The print format
provides more information in a more efficient format for helping make comparison buying decisions. By adding links, buttons, banners, menus, etc. to a digital book view format, you can have the best advantages of print without the cost of print. And additionally, it provides the ability to sell additional content and sell year-round if you have the right tools.However, the graphic-rich images of a book view require greater bandwidth and so those with slow connections will probably prefer a list view format, which also provides the same up-sell potential.

Track Usage
It is not enough to just build a web site and hope that it is used. More than just knowing how much it is costing you vs. what revenue it is generating, you need to know if the site is successful, and whether traffic to it is growing or not. You need to know how it is being used. You need to be able to prove to yourself and your advertisers that you are successfully connecting buyers and sellers. You need to know what people searched for and whether or not they got meaningful results. If they are not getting good results, you need to be able to refine the search experience by adding cross references, keywords, aliases, etc. to improve the performance of the site. It is only when you can prove to advertisers how well the site is working with the use of metrics that you have a strong argument for advertisers to choose your site over another’s, instead of just saying “Trust me, it works.”

Ramp Your Sales
There are a lot of new and different things you can sell with digital products vs. print. With print, sellable items include type size, color, ad size, tabs, banners, inserts, and a lot more. However, now there is a new array of advertising opportunities for the digital realm, and they can be confusing to both your sales reps and the advertisers. Your site needs to include anything a savvy online advertiser may need to be successful. But you don’t need to push all of your sales features to everyone and certainly not all at one time. Start out by selling things that are easy to understand and easy to sell such as keywords, banner ads, buttons, and links. Save things to introduce each year as new features to simplify the learning process and to continue to be able to offer new options to expand an advertiser’s advertising program. Perhaps offer item bundles that range from the basic essentials to a customized mix of multi-media features.

Make Your Site “Sticky”
Internet usage is fickle. It is so easy to go anywhere. In the past, branding your print directory and making it an attractive, good, useful, complete, and accurate directory was the key to repeat usage, and that hasn’t
changed much. But now, more than ever, you need to give visitors to your site a reason to keep coming back. The basics cited above still apply, but now you have much stiffer competition. You need to not only make sure that users find what they want, but you also have to surprise them with more than they expected.
And that means do the best job possible. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. Some sites just grab data and content from wherever they can. But that is just what Google does. You need to be better. You have better, more complete, more recent, more relevant, more accurate data than anyone else in your area because you live there and talk to every business every year. And an extremely high percentage of all money spent is spent in close proximity of the buyer. Don’t worry about having listings outside of your area. Just have the best listings and ads in your area and concentrate on your target market.
Once you have your web site looking very attractive and delivering results for local searches, then it is time to add more bells and whistles. Then you can start making your site a local portal with more community information, more local information like weather, news, events, points of interest, maps, and anything else that you think the people in your target market would like to see and know.
Add links to other web sites and ask them to add links to yours. Sell and create web sites for local businesses that don’t have websites (there are some great tools to do this in a cost-effective and profitable manner) and link them all to your site. Generate free profile pages for everyone from the data in your directory and sell enhancements to it.

And then you can start offering coupons or even daily deals or other specials. And don’t let the site be stagnant. Keep posting new things and keep it current so that people will want to return to see what is new. Give them a reason to visit your sites often.

You need to have a digital presence. It needs to look professional and it has to appeal to the users in the market served. You need to provide access to as broad a spectrum of users as possible with different devices and platforms. You need to supply search results that are head and shoulders above other sites, especially the organic search engines. And you need to make the site “sticky” to assure repeat usage. But above all, it needs to generate revenue and should complement, not cannibalize the print product.

Related Reference Links

The Sales Rep of the Future, By Dustin DeTorres

Yellow Magic would like to share this article, posted on the Association of Directory Publisher's website this month!  Enjoy!

I started selling Yellow Page advertising in 2006.  Ahh, I’ll never forget the days of being in the sales bullpen and having 3 tiers of sales management yelling at me Glen Gary Glen Ross style to “pick up the phone and start dialing for dollars!”  Looking back at the sheer number of calls I would make was mind blowing and a complete waste of time.  I was making anywhere from 80 to 150 attempts per day at catching someone at the right time, not sounding too desperate and trying to weasel a face to face meeting out of them.  Those days we were just throwing a bunch of crap against the wall in hopes that something would stick.  I shortly realized that this way of selling wasn’t going to cut it and that there HAD to be another way.

2007: Enter the early concepts of Social Selling and Inbound Marketing.
I started a blog to help educate my prospects and potential people searching online for effective, local advertising solutions for their business.  I also connected with some of my prospects via the early days of Facebook and Myspace.  There were three main things that I learned at this point.
1: People don’t want to be sold to.
2: You have to create and/or share valuable content in order to win someone’s trust online.
3: You can use technology to build personal relationships exponentially.
There was one week I had 15 QUALITY leads actually contact me from my blog after making ZERO outbound phone calls. I knew I was onto something.
Around this time is when I started imagining what sales rep would be like in 2015.  Would there even be sales people then?  What would they be responsible for?
I now call this person the “Sales Rep of the Future”.
In my opinion, two major things are happening right now that will create this Sales Rep of 2015.
1: Data:
Everything we do online and somewhat offline is being tracked and entered into companies CRMs for sales reps and marketing teams to manipulate.  2012 seemed to be the year that everyone was rushing to play around with the “Big Data” buzzword.  Well, I’m confident that we’ll continue to see huge shift in how sales teams function due to the sheer amount of data they are starting to collect on their prospects.

As a sales person, it’s a must to do your due diligence before picking up the phone or connecting to someone online.  A lot of it’s still manual but companies like Insideview and Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud are making it easier to know what the prospect CEO likes to eat for lunch, what kinds of Tweets he engages with more and how many times he’s visited your website.  Using tools like LinkedIn and Facebook also make finding common interests, connections and business relationships easy before reaching out.
In the years to come, we’ll see more live, real-time humanistic data taking the place of stagnant CRM data.  What we know is that companies are starting to build rather large repositories or large online profiles of you, your habits, and your social network etc (Something Google has been doing for years).  They’re asking, “What can we do with all this data?”.   Between now and 2015, we’ll see a whole industry of companies pop up that will help you turn that data into assumptions, trends and alerts for both sales and marketing to play with.  It will be easier and cheaper to do so as well.  You won’t see out-of-date data in 2015 because everything will be real time and continuously updated.  Instead of email addresses being the key identifier of a person in your database, you’ll see actions and connections being the differentiation.
What’s next?  Contextual marketing will be common place.

2: Automation and Context: 
It’s no surprise that most of the emails we receive from brands are automated.  More and more I’m seeing emails sent from individuals/ sales reps that are automated as well.  Social media messaging, a lot of the time, is also automated.

The focus on automation has triggered marketers to work on the “context” of the messages themselves.  Heck, we have all this data….why not use it?   Meaning, if I visit a website and I have previously filled out a form, they know my IP address, track what I’m doing and a whole new series of messages related to my previous actions might come my way.  On social channels, marketers should be creating messages that have the most relevance to who I am, what I like and who my social graph is.  Amazon does an awesome job at this.  The marketing software Hubspot also does a great job at contextually marketing their software as well as providing it as a service to their clients.
Where does this fit in with the Sales Rep of the Future?

In 2015, when you connect with a sales rep on LinkedIn (or whatever futuristic connection network in play at the time) he/ she will automatically analyze your connections, actions on social media, track your IP address and potentially any other offline activities you’re involved in.  The messaging from this sales rep will be contextual enough to your daily routine, tying in the company’s product or service somehow into your daily life.  For example, let’s say you’re driving to work and are using Waze, Foursquare or the future of Facebook Nearby.  The non-pushy Human Resource software rep that you connected to the night before at the local networking event will now start “selling” to you.  His face pops up on the screen and lets you know that 4 of the friends in your social network just changed jobs and that the sales rep’s HR software was used in the process.  Do you think something like that would influence your decision?

So where is the actual human sales rep?  At some point, if the automation and data do their jobs, the prospect will reach out to speak with a human being.  This is where I see the Sales Rep of the Future flourishing even more-so.   He/she will have a flood of leads coming in as the exponential nature of the “new age prospecting” accumulates over time.  He/she will have troves of data on this prospect to go by.  On the other hand the prospect will feel like he or she knows the sales rep because of the automated relationship building that has taken place.  The main point is that the Sales Rep of the Future has conformed to the way the consumer interacts in their daily life, shops and uses technology to make decisions. He doesn’t make 100 phone calls anymore.  Heck, he doesn’t even have a traditional office phone.

The above article appears today in the Latest News section on Each week, ADP members will receive various emails containing new material which has been posted on our new and improved web site, including both regular features and special events and reports, such as webinars, research releases, white papers from industry experts, etc.  Our goal is to make the hub for the exchange of information and opinion from members and the wider industry audience. 

We invite you to visit daily and browse fresh news and points of view which have been shared with the entire ADP family. 

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Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013- New Study Shows the Migration from Print Yellow Pages to Digital Local Search Slower than Predicted

New Study Shows the Migration from Print Yellow Pages to Digital Local Search Slower than Predicted

The move from print yellow pages to digital search by consumers looking for a local business was significantly slower than predicted in 2012, according to a new analysis by Market Authority, the world's leader in Print/Digital market research.

Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) January 24, 2013
“The migration away from printed yellow pages is turning out to be more of a glacial-like movement than a land slide,” said Steve Sitton, president and CEO of Market Authority. “It is even slower than we expected and I realize these results may come as something of an ‘inconvenient truth’ to many inside and outside the directional media industry”.
Market Authority analyzed 39 markets studied in 2011 and then studied again in 2012. About half of the markets were large and small metro areas and the other half was comprised of rural areas. Many of the markets in the study group had over 1000 live interviews in each of the two years, making a total of nearly 60,000 live consumer interviews in the overall migration study. The company surveyed consumers in all age demographics and weighted them according to current population percentages. Based upon the analysis, Market Authority found that reported digital exclusive usage grew only by 3.24% in 2012. (Digital exclusive usage is defined by consumers reporting having fully dropped print yellow pages in favor of digital search).
“The reason we believe the move away from print has slowed is that the consumer ‘early adopters’ have been exhausted” Sitton commented, on the 20%-30% of consumers who moved over in the last 7 years. “The majority of consumers use both print and digital search media. Small and medium-sized businesses need to understand this important distinction.”
“This analysis provides an arsenal of proof that print products will last a lot longer than anyone thought,” Sitton concluded. “Print is not dying on the schedule previously imagined by almost everyone. The current power of print combined with the slow rate of migration from print to digital indicate that large publishers will need to have a longer term plan to include print as a major Directional Media product.”
By: Market Authority

For More information, contact

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dispel the Myth - Yellow Pages are NOT Dead

In the immortal words of Mark Twain, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."  There has been a lot of misinformation and rumors going about that have resulted in the myth that "Yellow Pages are dead", and we all know that this is definitely not true.

As you may know, the Association of Directory Publishers (ADP) has launched a comprehensive multi-media campaign called The Power of Yellow that provides a series of clear, compelling, and consistent, fact-based ad messages designed to destroy the myth that "no one uses the Yellow Pages" and to shatter the misperception that "everyone is online".

For the future of our industry and the prosperity of our companies, we need to band together and help to make the world understand that the Yellow Pages, both in print and digital, is still the leader in connecting buyers with sellers.  We need to show the world that the Yellow Pages is not a relic of the past, but rather a strong, time-proven, and ever evolving multimedia, directional source, and is the fuel that drives business forward worldwide.

Yellow Magic strongly supports this effort and is helping supply publishers and their sales staff with the tools to effectively respond to this misconception and to be able to prove that the Yellow Pages, the original local search engine, is stronger than ever with call rates up by 18% and 7.4 billion users last year alone, of which 85% made a purchase.  The industry has evolved to supply the best quality information for all digital platforms as well as in print, with 100% recyclable paper, to continue the strong tradition of being the premier source of current, relevant, and complete "where to buy" information.

Please visit our web site as well as ADP's web site to learn the facts and to arm your sales reps with the facts they need.

Thanks for your time and your support of our great industry.

Ron Mintle

Ronald Gale Mintle
Yellow Magic Incorporated
41571 Date Street
Murrieta, CA 92562  USA

+1 951-506-4005 ext. 101

Monday, January 7, 2013

Romancing the South Pacific - Yellow Magic News

Recently Ron Mintle our CEO, had to travel to the South Pacific, a place most people would love to travel…however, Ron ultimately came into contact with Cyclone (Hurricane) Evan twice as he puddle- jumped islands visiting customers and making sales calls. At one point, it appeared as though Ron was actually a Cyclone-chaser! Not only was he in the eye of the cyclone in Samoa, but then 4 days later he was hit by the same cyclone in Fiji!  The ground floor of his hotel in Samoa was flooded when a nearby river overflowed, and then his hotel in Fiji was totally destroyed.  The cyclone that hit Samoa was a Level 3 and the Level 4 cyclone in Fiji  had winds of 100 mph with gusts to 160 mph!  No electricity, water, phones, or no real food, just SMS texting for intervals when the cellular system was up.  Somehow Ron got home the day before Christmas, and with all the hub-bub of flights being cancelled and rescheduling, we are happy to finally have him home at the office, safe and sound. Our good friend Roman Sotelo from New Millennium created this fun picture for us as a memento of the event!  Thanks Roman!!!