You can probably answer this question yourself, when was the last time you have used the Yellow Pages? Or, you can ask your friends when the last time they have used the Yellow Pages was? Chances are they would not even be able to tell you where there copy is. Searching for a business in the Yellow Pages is not only inconvenient but also time consuming. A quick Google or yahoo search seems so much easier and more effective.
Overall, research shows that the usage of the Yellow Pages is steadily declining. In fact, a Core data survey back in 2009 specified that over half of the Australian population does not even want their Yellow Pages copy delivered. Moreover, a large number of households throw their copy unopened into the recycling bin as soon as they receive it.
Are The Yellow Pages Too Expensive?
Advertising in the Yellow Pages is actually quite dear for small businesses, especially since they are able to list their business for free on Google, Bing and Yahoo. Moreover, such prices would require a high return of investment but due to the decline in the usage of the Yellow Pages, often the costs are not even covered in order to break even.
In fact, business owners should ask themselves why they should pay the ever rising advertising fees of the Yellow Pages despite the constant decline in leads generated through the ads. One thing is for sure, advertising in the Yellow Pages is evidently not cost-effective.
Does Yellow Pages Advertising Still Generate Results?
With the decline in the usage it is not surprising that the leads generated through the Yellow Pages are often rather underwhelming and disappointing.
Leisa, for instance, owns a design business and had her company listed for 7 executive years; however, over this time frame had only received one lead. She considers the Yellow Pages a waste of time as her customers find her through Google, client referrals and social media.
Another example is from a business owner in Victoria. In order to determine whether it is worth it to advertise with the Yellow Pages, he used a separate number in the ad. Over the course of a year, he received 5 calls of which only one turned into paid work. The job ended up covering only a small fraction on the money invested into the Yellow Pages advert.
Another horror story is the one of a local business owner in Adelaide. He invested $50,000 in a roller shutter advert and did not receive one call! He wasted $50K on an ad in the Yellow Pages despite the fact that he could have advertised his business much more effectively online for free
An Old Yellow Pages Ad You Might Remember
The trend towards internet search suggests that there should be a rise in the Yellow Pages online; however, there is not due for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the website has not been updated in accordance with the technological developments. It still uses a rather messy Web 1.0 abomination, which makes it rather user unfriendly, and searchers often do not end up finding what they are looking for.
Typing a name + location into Google, on the other hand, gives searchers relevant and easy to read results in an instant. The Google Local Search Box will display the names, addresses, phone numbers and website links for 7 businesses.
A further problem is that an expensive advert in the Yellow Pages means nothing on the Internet because of the popularity of search engines. Google or Yahoo do not recognize that somebody has paid a rather significant sum for an advert on the Yellow Pages, instead it will be listed just like all the other business; hence, it ends up being a waste of money.
Poor Customer Service
A further obstacle with the yellow pages is that an advertiser relies on dealing with sales staff that is responsible for the final advert that goes into the yellow pages. Sadly, internet forums are full of horror stories of the yellow pages.
First of all, it becomes quite evident that the sales staff of the yellow pages is rather pushy which can easily get annoying and frustrating. Once you have called them to express your interest, they are quite determined to turn your inquiry into a sale even if you ask them not to call you again, they continue to contact you via phone and in person via sales reps.
Birgit from Victoria, for instance, reports that she tried cancelling her advert due to having only received one call over an 18 month period; however, two month later she is still receiving a bill. Birgit is rather outraged about the poor customer service considering how much money she has spent in the past with the Yellow Pages.
A further problem is that the Yellow Pages appear to be getting a significant amount of adverts wrong despite clear instruction. Vanessa C., for instance, owns her own lawyer firm and decided to advertise with the Yellow Pages online. She reports that even after numerous conversations they continue to get her ad wrong. Not only is her website not linking, but the ad also states that she specializes in Probate law instead of Property/Business law.
Benefits Of Search Engines
Firstly, search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing are so convenient and easy to use. A searcher gets a comprehensive list of related results in an instant. All it takes is to key in a type of business and a location. Google then uses PageRank algorithms, which produce relevant results that are more appropriate, compared to the results the Yellow Pages will give you.
Secondly, research shows that search engines are the most popular way for people to locate websites. In fact, over 57% of internet users take advantage of this method every day to find what they are looking for.
Furthermore, the experts agree that search engines work and are important to the success of any business. A report by Forrester Research points out that “search engines reach valuable, motivated and ready customers. To capitalize on search as a marketing tool, marketers should shift acquisition email and ad dollars to search.”
One final benefit of search engines is the fact that so many businesses do not recognize the importance of them and they fail to invest into SEO. Mark Sceats from VizMarketing states that almost 46% of marketers surveyed by CyberAtlas Research spend less than 0.5% of their annual marketing budget on search engine optimisation.
This means that even though search engines are the key to promote your business in today’s world, the majority of businesses fail to recognise this fact, which represents your opportunity. You can make the most of search engine optimisation and give your business the competitive edge it needs.