National Public Radio’s All Things Considered is airing a series called “Advertising In The Downturn,” and last night Amy heard their segment on Google AdWords.

The story, by Laura Sydell, examines how small businesses are using the powerful analysis tools of Google AdWords to target and test individual keywords and combinations of words for their performance in attracting customers to a specific product in a particular locale.

As one retailer’s marketing man observes, “It’s the new yellow pages.”

This reminded me of an insightful April 2 post at The Fishmonger’s Place about restaurant Web pages:

Whenever, and I mean WHENEVER, I consider going to a new restaurant or out to eat in a new area, I do a quick google search on them. A good web page will not only give me their location, their hours and their phone number, it give me a chance to see what their menu is like. And the menu is what can hook me.

Mike goes on to compare the cost of a simple website to the price of a column inch in the yellow pages.

In my own house, we have a place on the bookshelf for the Racine phone book with its yellow pages. For several years now, pretty much the only time it gets touched is when the new edition arrives to replace it.

At the same time, I can’t say that I’ve noticed many Racine or Kenosha businesses aggressively employing these new methods. It still seems more like something that people do out there in California.

Or maybe Iowa.

Has anyone locally taken a serious AdWords plunge?

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