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Top 5 Reasons Online Advertising Matters For Local Businesses

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Everybody loves lists. So today we're going to break it down.

It's time for the top 5 (count em, 5) reasons that it makes sense for local and regional businesses to build and maintain an online presence.

We've borrowed suggestions from various people in the industry. So thanks in advance for the insights, all who are linked to.

Starting at 5 and going back from there:

5. The providers of online ads can prove their product works.

Google themselves might just say it best on their AdWords site: "Take a proven, results-driven approach to your online advertising efforts. Google AdWords lets you track impressions, clicks, and conversions - giving you accountability for your dollars and taking the guesswork out of advertising."

4. You could be the only one on the block who is advertising online. At the very least, you could be the only one doing so effectively.

Way back in February of 2005 (!) Darby Sieben, a Canadian SEO expert, pointed to why online advertising was (and is, even moreso, today) important for local businesses through a series of questions: "The fact that your competitors are still caught in the traditional world of newspapers and print directories is the opportunity. Imagine if your business was given the opportunity to have exclusivity of your product line or message in a local newspaper? If you were given exclusive access to 1/4 million consumers everyday in Calgary, without the clutter and fight with your competitors, how easy would it be generate more business?"

3. More and more local businesses are moving their advertising dollars online. The sooner you get there, the less likely you are to have your competitors pass you by.

From a Media Life Magazine article on local advertising earlier this month: "In a report issued last week, Williamsburg, Va.-based Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm, raised its forecast for 2008 local web ad revenue slightly, to $13.1 billion, or 50 percent more than last year. Some of the growth is attributable to traditional local media like papers, TV and radio selling advertising on their own sites, at a time when their offline revenue isn’t growing nearly as quickly, or it's sinking. But the major local driver is what Borrell terms pure-play companies selling low-cost advertising that reaches consumers not while using the web to read the news but while researching products and prices."

2. Advertising online is more effective and less costly (if done right).

From Entrepreneur Magazine: "Online ads are the Brave New World of marketing, an uncharted frontier of opportunity and danger. With online ads you can get an extremely high return-on-investment for just a little time and a little money." And finally (here would be a good place for a drumroll...)

1. The Internet is now where local consumers primarily gather information.

Way back in January of 2008 Search Engine Land had this to say: "the internet has now surpassed the venerable print yellow pages and newspapers as the primary local resource for consumers looking for services. This is not to say that print newspapers and yellow pages don't have meaningful usage anymore, but we've reached an important "tipping point" of sorts."

So there you have it. The top five reasons why advertising online matters for local businesses.

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