Why YOU MUST have a web site: local search is exploding

Yahoo, Google and MSN are charging forward in a HUGE way to map America’s local businesses. If you don’t have some sort of online presence for your business you are 100%, most definitely going to MISS out on a lot of new customers looking for your LOCAL services and products via the Internet.
Word of mouth is great. Yellow Page advertising is fine – but increasingly the game of getting new customers is being played online.
With OfficeLive or Homestead you can make a web site that looks great, is low cost and VERY easy to build.
Startupjournal writes Marketers say low visitor numbers make setting up local ad campaigns unappealing, at least for large advertisers. Since advertisers on the main engines can target users based on location, there is little incentive to set up special local campaigns, says Matt Kain, senior vice president at 24/7 Real Media Inc. Marketers do see potential, and agree traffic will rise and advertisers will follow, particularly small ones.
To woo advertisers, the Internet companies are developing innovative ad formats. In late March, Google introduced pay-per-click ads inside the balloons that pop up on its maps. Yahoo has long let marketers sponsor a map, which allows users to click to see all the sponsor’s area locations.
Providing depth of information on local businesses remains a mammoth task, however. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 23 million small businesses in an endless array of categories. While the engines have entries for many of these businesses, thanks to commercial databases they license, the richness of information users are seeking in local searches is still somewhat lacking.