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Where is the Phone Book when we need it?

Not too long ago, the most effective way to advertise locally was the Phone Book, or “Yellow Pages,” as we used to call it. It was simple and you only had to worry about local advertising once a year. As a business owner, you would select the size of your business add, sign a yearly contract and that was it. The phone would ring and customers would walk in.

The size and position of your ad in your category determined how much business you would have that year. Businesses with long standing relationships with the book, and page or two-page long ads had preference over other ads in their category, but even with a small budget, any business could get in.

However, there were many disadvantages. First, you had to deal with the arrogance of the sales person. These people were not really sales people, they were order-takers with a lot of power. I remember vividly one year in the early 90’s when the owner of the business that I managed got into an argument with the Phone Book sales person. For “some reason” our add did not make the book that year. It was a painful 12-month period with very little business.  Secondly, if your advertising was placed on the wrong side of the page or on the inner lower corners, your customer traffic would be reduced.  Thirdly, there was very little you could say about your business even in the whole-page ads.

Today, Phone Books are either non-existent or irrelevant. At my home, they go from the front porch to the recycling bin in about 30 seconds flat.

Businesses today are stuck with the Internet, fliers, door-hangers, coupon books and a few local newspapers. Perhaps the Internet is the most effective way to advertise locally but definitely not the easiest or the cheapest. People type keywords in Google and if your business does not show in the first page of the search results, you basically don’t exist. So, you need to bid for the precious 10 ads appearing on the first page. As attractive as “pay per click” may sound, it is expensive and time consuming to set up a campaign. For some businesses, setting up a successful AdWords campaign and monitoring and analyzing traffic, conversions and leads can be a full time job.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, your business needs a professional website, preferably one that works well with mobile phones, a Facebook page, and pages and profiles with frequent updates in Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, and updated listings in all of the online directories.

You also have to take care of what your customers, disgruntled ex-employees and competitors will post about your business on review sites like Yelp. As unbiased as Yelp and Angie’s List claim to be, one can assume that the businesses that pay them for advertising look better than the ones that don’t. Not necessarily because they will help you erase bad reviews, but because any business, regardless of their “rating,” can buy a prime position on the page.

In the social media era, we strongly believe that the power of communities dominates the Internet. For the rental industry, we are aggregating the inventories of the best rental companies into one convenient website, Rntus.com. At Rntus.com rental companies and anyone with equipment, tools, cameras, sporting equipment and party equipment can list their items for rent for free. Rntus.com also allows its users to create their own webpage and a highly sophisticated communications platform in which owners and renters can communicate with each other privately.

Rntus.com also serves as a very effective and easy inventory and reservation system. It manages security deposits, payments, extra charges, credit card fees and the entire transaction. Both owners and renters are verified and matched to each other based on their particular needs.

People searching for items to rent will find listings at Rntus.com in the first page of their Google search. For rental companies, this is a blessing as they not only get leads, but they also get confirmed and paid customers on their email. Rental companies not included in Rntus.com will have to continue managing their advertising on their own.

Just like uBer transformed the antiquated taxi industry and created thousands of income generating opportunities for individuals, Rntus.com is helping rental companies conquer the Internet and prompting individuals to make money by renting stuff they already own. Users are able to rate each other, and a community of doers, movers and shakers is growing.

Local advertising will continue to be a challenging endeavor for Rental Companies, but Rntus.com provides an effective solution that allows companies to concentrate on what they do best, provide excellent service to their renters. Rntus.com manages the advertising.

 

by: Elias Chavando

 

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