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Local online advertising is growing at a fast clip as more businesses have the same realization. In fact, a new report by Borrell Associates found that companies spent $12.1 billion on local online advertising in 2008. And local online media are even starting to take a bite out of giants like Google and Yahoo.
Ed Delia's firm, Delia Associates, helps small businesses get local results online by looking for high-traffic properties that have areas of regional focus. "Start searching for local businesses on some of these sites and see whether they have a lot of them listed," he suggests. "Having a depth of businesses and reviews means that people are looking at the site." Delia often steers his clients to properties like Yahoo Local, MerchantCircle, Insider Pages and Angie's List, depending on the type of business. He also likes to test the websites of local print publications, since readers often view their favorite local newspapers and magazines online, and those ads are generally cheaper than their print counterparts.
The strategy is working for Petrakis and Lolas: Even in a down economy, the restaurant's business is up by about 30 percent and is expected to rack up $1.5 million in sales this year.