We often get asked the following question from local businesses:
“Should we continue to advertise our business in the Yellow Pages?”
Our Answer: The Yellow Pages was once a regular source for consumers when looking for information on businesses and local services. So having your business listed in the Yellow Pages directory was once a necessary marketing expense for local businesses.
Today we are connected in an online world. As consumers we use the internet because of convenience and because it’s a relevant means to access information quickly. Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, are just the starting point to locate a wealth of available information at your fingertips.
How many times per day do you search on Google? vs. How often to you flip open the Yellow pages? (come to think of it… do you even know where your copy of the Yellow Pages is?)
When we study our customers online analytics, we routinely see traffic from search engines as the #1 source… by a wide margin. Typically our customers see 60 – 80% of their web traffic referred from search engines. When we study even further we notice Yellow pages and other online directories only add up to 5% or less of web based traffic for the majority of our local businesses.
The Yellow Pages has traditionally charged high rates to receive preferred placement in their directory. These listings really aren’t cost effective for 99% of local businesses. It’s true, the Yellow Pages is far less relevant than it once was. At Raincross Marketing we suggest our clients scale back on their traditional advertising costs, don’t stop entirely, but allocate and place more of your advertising budget into online marketing and web advertising methods (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, etc…).
The few local businesses that are still relying on the Yellow Pages are typically undeserved online. Such as local contractors, restaurants, plumbers and electricians. The Yellow Page executives love to prey on these small local businesses and charge them premium advertising rates.
As our society shifts from paper to digital information consumers are increasingly using the internet whether it’s through search or social media to find businesses and local services, ask for recommendations and read customer reviews. Sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo have responded to these searches. Google, for example, has their Google Places listings attributed to local searches. Google Adwords advertising allows small local businesses to pinpoint precise locations for their ad placements, even down to a particular zip code.
So our advice is to place your marketing and advertising efforts where you will best connect with your target audience. When consumers go to look for your business and service they’ll be using the most accessible means of finding you. What is more accessible to you? Your phone, tablet, or computer? Or your Yellow Page Directory?
Oh, and by the way even the Yellow Pages advertises on Google to drive traffic to their online directory.
I think you get the point now…
About The Author: Kevin Watts
Kevin Watts is the founder of Raincross, a premier web design, development and digital marketing agency headquartered in Riverside, CA.
Kevin got his start in online marketing and website design by working for some of the most prominent names in online retail. He's most recognized for helping to start e-commerce retailer Organize.com in 1998, and spent 12 years running the company's e-commerce and online marketing operations. He has been recognized and has received several online retail, marketing and merchandising awards throughout his career.
Kevin grew up in Riverside, CA and graduated from the University of Wyoming. In his spare time, Kevin is an avid fly-fisherman, college football fan, and enjoys spending time with his son Matthew, daughter Kate and wife Lindsey.
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