Local search success at photo site

By Carol Krol
Story posted: March 12, 2008 – 11:56 am EDT


It took a crisis for ScanMyPhotos.com to discover the power of local search advertising.

The Irvine, Calif.-based photo scanning and finishing company was a faithful Yellow Pages advertiser for 17 years. The company ran prominent ads in the Orange County Yellow Pages, and those ads made the phone ring.

“Each year I do the biggest, boldest ads,” said Mitch Goldstone, president-CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com. “We were the biggest and best ad in our category for much of Orange County.”

Last August, as soon as the directory was published, Goldstone leafed through the pages to see his ad. But it wasn’t there. The Yellow Pages had inadvertently left the ad out.

“We saw a significant drop-off in calls,” Goldstone said, adding that without the ad, “it looked like I was out of business” to both customers and competitors.

Needing an instant solution, Goldstone turned to local search online. While ScanMyPhotos.com had dabbled in search marketing, testing keyword buys on the major engines last year, it had neither an online or search strategy to speak of.

As a stopgap measure, Goldstone turned to Local.com, an online search engine that can target a business’ message to local customers conducting online searches.

“I was familiar with Local.com because they are based in my city,” Goldstone said.

In early November, Goldstone placed his first Local.com ad and said that within a couple of weeks, the phone started ringing and hasn’t stopped.

ScanMyPhotos.com is using Local.com’s Local Promote advertising program, which guarantees its customer’s listing will appear at the top of the search results page in a specified category and region.

Goldstone said that the best part is he is spending about half of what he had been on Yellow Pages ads. Despite that reduced budget, the effort is producing more qualified leads.

“We used to get three or four calls a day on average [that came from the Yellow Pages ad],” Goldstone said. “Now, we get eight calls a day on average and 10 calls a day during the holidays.”

As a bonus, Goldstone said that the customers that come through the Internet “seem to be more qualified.”

So Goldstone is saying farewell to Yellow Pages advertising.

“I thought it was a stopgap measure to run until next August and then redo my Yellow Pages ad, but we’re not doing that anymore,” he said. “There’s no need to do that.”

His only regret? That he didn’t discover Local.com sooner.