SMX LoMo: Day 2 Take-Aways

First session I attended yesterday (day 2, final day) was Pay Per Call Ads: Living Up to the Promise. I was disappointed that Ari Jacoby, of VoiceStar, wasn’t on the panel. Greg told me he was ill and had to withdraw from the panel. Ari is an expert in Pay Per Call, Click to Call etc, and recently sold VoiceStar to Marchex for $28M. I digress…

Some notes I took:

  1. 71% of SMEs prefer a phone call vs clicks (no shit but who are the other 19%?)
  2. 20% connection rate for phone calls – meaning only 20% of SMEs actually answer their phone. This was a topic of debate, and I have a hard time with that number.
  3. 70% of yellow pages advertisers are service businesses. Something I always figured, but never knew the stat. A good nugget.
  4. Google and Yahoo both flirted with PPCall (or was it click to call?) but they haven’t really rolled it out. I seem to recall reading somewhere recently that Google actually rolled something back in some expiremental market. Anyone know?
  5. IYP users buy quicker and spend more. Interesting conclusions can be drawn about one’s online vs offline intentions.
  6. 82% of online searchers follow up with offline visits – local search, not IYP
  7. James Price, with Idearc, had stats that showed huge ROI for service businesses. He wouldn’t be more specific about what kinds of services businesses.
  8. Ingenio charges a flat $2 rate for all pay per call customers – that’s something I can appreciate vs the other pricing model option.
  9. Idearc said that their median cost per call is somewhere around $15-$20/call.

CitySquares expiremented with Pay Per Call long ago, in late 2005. It was a mistake for us, because a) we just didn’t have the traffic to justify it and b) the merchants didn’t want to, in essence, give up their phone numbers. I think it’s something we’ll revisit again at a later time, once we can better justify it and it just makes better sense across the boards.

Lastly, note to self: use 1-800-FREE-411 for now on! Cool – but I’ll admit I’m not looking forward to the ads. When I call 411 it’s usually because I’m in a rush and listening to ads is going to steam me, I just know it.

The Ultimate Local Ad Model

More notes and take-aways:

  1. See – sort of an OpenTable for SMEs. Kind of a pay-per-action opportunity.
  2. Pay per action was a big topic.
  3. Steven Chuck, Director of Strategic Alliances, Yahoo!, had a great presentation. I want it.
  4. Digital word of mouth is “one-t0-many” because it’s published via reviews, that’s powerful, if its managed well.
  5. I love Yahoo! Locals 3 silos on their city guide pages, very smart. Very clean too. I’ve always like Yahoo! Local’s solutions.
  6. Yellowpages still, to this day, has only sold 1 out of 3 businesses, nationwide. I had no idea it was that low.

Show Me the Money

More random notes:

  1. Justin Sanger, of Local Launch, is a very intelligent and personable guy that captivates the audience. I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 chances I had to see him speak. His deck had a “nebula” slide showing, well, hard to explain and I’m in a rush, but I’d like to get my hands on that – it was great.
  2. Justin: “SMEs just don’t self provision” – I hear that!
  3. Justin said this twice this week: “SME’s don’t buy advertising, they are sold advertising.”
  4. He said something along the lines of “Google just isn’t going to build a local salesforce – it’s not gonna happen.”
  5. Random note: forget about postal codes
  6. Out all SMEs, 33% are in yellow pages, and about 7-8% of them are online. Need to clarify this a bit more – what is “online” ?

So that’s my digest for day 2. Its brief, albeit, but I’m in a rush to catch my flight.

SMX LoMo was a great event, very well organized. I thoroughly enjoyed Greg Sterling – I had no idea he was such a fun guy, very refreshing. Also, the attendees were of the highest quality – just good people. I made some new friends that I look forward to seeing again at ILM:2007 and working with too.