For many small businesses, particularly those just starting out, advertising can be a daunting and expensive process. The most successful companies are not only those with good products but those that get noticed. There’s no point offering the best service in the world if nobody knows about it.
This was the problem that events specialist The Music Room faced. The company first used offline advertising to promote itself, but this proved costly. So in order to target a wider range of businesses, the company looked at alternative ways of generating new leads at a relatively low cost.
Established in 1985, the South London company offers sound, video and lighting services, from disco system hire through to conference production, management and consultancy for large corporate customers. With such a huge potential target market, The Music Room needed an advertising medium that would give it wide-reaching and instant exposure. Having already advertised successfully in Yellow Pages, Yell.com seemed the obvious choice online.
Yell.com is a leading UK online directory service, providing details on 1.7 million companies across 2,500 classifications. With over 38 million monthly page impressions (Yell.com, November 2002), Yell.com is a key channel for bringing buyers and sellers together online.
The Music Room already had a comprehensive website of its own, so it opted to attract customers to its site by using Yell.com’s Web Link product – a direct, click-through link from Yell.com to musicroom.web.com.
By buying a Web Link, The Music Room could also benefit from an “enhanced listing” option free of charge, which enables businesses to place key company information in a highlighted box that features prominently on the Yell.com search results page. Having this ensures that anyone looking for event production will be quickly directed to The Music Room.
One of The Music Room’s recent customers, Speakers International, was looking for event production services and found The Music Room on Yell.com. Speakers International specialises in personal coaching and motivational speaking and has already spent about &£500,000 on monthly events produced by The Music Room.
Gordon Gapper, owner of The Music Room, says he is amazed by the results of advertising online. “I always felt that Yell.com was an ideal source for people searching for a product or service online, but I never imagined that we would receive such a high response in such a short period of time,” he says. “Yell.com has enabled us to reach customers who might otherwise never have come across The Music Room, and now 90 per cent of all new business comes through the service.”
Gapper adds: “Advertising on Yell.com has really helped us to build our corporate events service and has brought in some important business. The range of classifications and regional search criteria on the site are impressive, and I think the success of our online advertising is largely down to the fact that Yell offers users such a comprehensive search facility.”
Since it began advertising on Yell.com three years ago, The Music Room has grown to such an extent that it has had to expand into new offices and employ extra staff to cope with the increased demand for its services.
The Yell.com presence, Gapper concludes, is “still the most significant generator of new business for The Music Room – by far. Our business is fast-moving and operates in a diverse market. As such, it’s vital that our advertising reaches a broad range of potential clients. Yell.com does just that, enabling us to target anyone, from an internet café user to a senior company executive.”
According to the Office of National Statistics, 74 per cent of people use the Web simply to look for information about goods and services. For this reason, many companies, such as The Music Room, benefit from using the internet as a shop window, by simply posting contact details and information about what they offer, without needing to sell online. The Music Room’s shop window on Yell.com has the potential to be viewed by over 1.4 million users a month. And it won’t blow the budget – the Music Room’s Web Link and free enhanced listing option costs &£239 a year, the equivalent of less than &£5 a week.
Yell.com head of marketing Ian Bowen-Morris says the success The Music Room has experienced from advertising online “demonstrates just how valuable the internet is as a marketing tool for small businesses. The quantity and quality of new business leads that the company has received from its Yell.com Web Link also emphasise the importance of actively driving traffic to your site.”