The Yellow Pages: Are They Dead?

Scott HarveyMisc0 Comments

It was perhaps inevitable…but the days when consumers used to let their “fingers do the walking” to find that local auto repair shop, printer or cosmetic surgeon appears to be coming to an end…day by day.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the once-mighty Yellow Pages’ days are indeed numbered as consumers flock to the Internet to find local resources via business search engines such as Google Local, Yelp, and Yahoo Local.

And more and more business owners would seem to agree that advertising with printed directories is a bit old school in the digital age.

A recent Yelp online survey conducted among entrepreneurs paints a very gloomy picture for Yellow Pages, as is evident from the fact that out of more than 3,500 respondents only 24% thought Yellow Pages phone books were “still relevant.”

Only 11% agreed that Yellow Pages was “useful to them” as an owner of a business, with 52% finding the printed directories not useful at all.

That’s because very few businessmen and women believed their customers used Yellow Pages to find them. Nearly half (43%) estimated that they received no business from the directory at all, and a further 47% claimed only between 1-25% of their customers came via the Yellow Pages.

And when asked how many times a month they themselves relied on Yellow Pages to find a business, 75% replied “zero” with only 3% using it five or more times. Only 14% used the directory once.

The conclusion to be drawn? It is apparent that customers are turning their backs on printed directories such as the Yellow Pages when they go looking for services and products.

Instead, they are turning to Google, Yahoo, Yelp and many other sites to find what they want, which means there has never been a better time to start marketing your business online.

When you consider that the cost of advertising in the Yellow Pages and other printed media is continually going up, it is no surprise businesses are looking for the extra hits and exposure that being online grants them…especially when it’s FREE to sign up and get a simple listing of your business name, location and website details.

Yet there is more to it than that. Simply having a pretty page or two beautifully designed with crisp graphics and fancy animation isn’t going to bring you the business you want to attract. It will just sit there looking pretty…with no one coming along to see just how pretty it is.

Why? Because people need help finding you in the first place.  One of our favorite sayings is: “There’s no drive-by traffic on the Internet!”

Speaking of finding you – that’s all done through the marriage of technology and good marketing with the use of very specific online marketing techniques.  While we employ many of them, most of our clients want the “free traffic” that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques bring. Basically, good SEO is the secret formula that gets you noticed when people go looking for the business or service you are providing and gives you high ranking in the “natural” or “organic” search results.

The better your SEO, the more visible your website becomes to the billions of online customers around the world…or those that live simply down the road from you but don’t know you exist.

So how do you get good SEO?

Of course, that is one of the services that we offer and we’d love to spend time chatting with you to see if there is a fit.  But we are also here to offer information, advice, tips, and suggestions through this site for anyone to use as they see fit.

We know it can take a while to warm up to working with somebody new, and rather than hoarding our knowledge, we’d rather share it with you.

We hope that if you ever decide to work with a firm like ours, you’ll remember the good info we gave you, and you might wonder “wow, if the free info worked that well for us, what might happen when we are in their inner circle?”

Transparency is a big part of the way we do business.  Hmmm…maybe that’s the topic for an upcoming post, too?

Talk soon,


P.S.  Quick – where is your copy of the Yellow Pages?  When’s the last time you used them?  Leave a comment below and share with the class…

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