Local online marketing firm WebVisible conducted an online survey this past August regarding Internet usage to find a local service business. The survey used Nielsen//NetRatings' online panel and asked about behavior within the past 90 days. Among more than 2,800 consumer responses, 70% had used the Internet to search for a local service business and 46% did so in the past three months. (Roughly 78% of the US adult population is online.) Almost 90% found search to be “somewhat effective” or “very effective” in finding local services in their area. And 68% said they would most likely use the phone number on the website to contact a vendor.
This means that people are using the Internet to find local service businesses in significant numbers and are pretty happy with the experience. Also interesting is the traditional method used to contact these local businesses – the telephone (PPCall opportunity).
There's more interesting data in the survey and I'll be doing a longer write-up after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.