If you soaked up every excruciating detail of How To Turn Your Site Into An Online Yellow Pages you know that I am a big believer in the power of small businesses to attract a lot of the search traffic that would normally go to local search companies. Likewise if you mind-melded with The One Thing A Small Business Can Do To Get Found in Google and The Local Business Information Cloud, you know that I am a big believer in using the local search/online yellow pages platforms to find potential customers.
But what if there was a way to get the benefit of an online yellow pages site without having to invest a lot of effort into your own site? That sounds like the best of both worlds, doesn’t it?
There is a growing trend of companies who are building “websites in a box” that are customized for specific industries. For a reasonable cost these companies can provide you with a professional looking site that is also well optimized for search. Examples of such companies include Creating Your Space (full disclosure: they are a client), which sells sites to floor covering retailers, and Market Hardware, which sells sites to home services contractors.
It is my contention that over time these kinds of companies will be in a much better position than the yellow pages co’s and other local search co’s to provide small local businesses with services because they will have a greater understanding of their particular niche and their clients’ needs. If you’re a shoe store who would you rather work with? Someone who sells to shoe stores, restaurants, mechanics and doctors or someone who just sells to shoe stores?
If these companies can execute I believe they will be the biggest threat to the Yellow Pages (even bigger than Google and Yahoo) because these niche players will exert a greater control over the marketing spend of these businesses. I believe these companies will become the new new yellow pages.
So I am putting my money on the Yellow Pages buying a couple of these types of companies in the next 18 months. You heard it here first.
And make sure you factor my my finder’s fee into the deal please. (Make check out to Local SEO) This will avoid some awkward moments at the closing dinner.