Is Yellow Page Advertising Good or Bad?
Small business advertising for over 100 years has relied on the Yellow Pages to provide a consistent return on investment (ROI) for their marketing budgets. This overpriced gravy train has come slowly but inevitably to a screeching halt.
Small businesses have for a long time relied on the stability and consistency of Yellow Page advertising especially for traditional yellow page categories such as real estate, the trades like plumbing, landscaping, lawyers, florists and retail and many more. Before the advent of online advertising small businesses had no other real options for effective lead generation through direct advertising. Direct mailing has a response rate of 1% or less. Whereas Yellow Pages with the right investment could return a continuous supply of calls and leads. With the advent of the internet this all began to change, but not overnight.
The internet took quite awhile as an advertising medium to grow up, but in the last 10 years it has gone from a scrappy little kid to a power house behemoth that dwarfs anything a yellow page directory could do. Early businesses recognized that a website was a great way to develop a resource for their clients. It provided much more information that a standard 1 page yellow page ad could. The real problem was getting people to find your website or the fact that most people still did not have reliable internet services.
However, with the growth of Google and Facebook as pioneers and growth leaders in digital marketing and the rapid growth of Smartphone use, online marketing has become the only ROI vehicle that can drive consistent and reliable lead generation models. Yellow Page advertising is still around, you could look at your local book and realize there are still hold outs advertising. Mainly the only categories left are plumbers, electricians and lawyers which are all upheld by the older demographics where an ingrained phone book search mentality still exists. Unfortunately for the Yellow Pages their demographic is one of diminishing returns. Anyone born after 1990, at this point have probably never really ever used a phone book for anything other than a door stop or paper weight.
The new generations have “Google” as their search mechanic for everything from diapers, pictures of the moon to how to manuals and video services like YouTube. Next to humanities knowledge available at your fingertips, the walking fingers of the Yellow Pages feel like a soap box car next to a Ferrari. In order to build this presence online small business advertisers need to accept that digital marketing is a lot more complex and involved than choosing black and white or color ads. The four pillars of digital marketing including website development, search engine optimization, social media marketing and search engine marketing will provide a consistent and ever-changing model of advertising. In order to excel in the new morass that is the internet small businesses still have a large hurdle.
The death of Yellow Page advertising is almost complete, and the alternative can provide an amazing ROI if a business owner is savvy enough to take on the task by themselves. There are also digital marketing companies that can help at a price. Sometimes the complexity of the new systems make small business advertisers yearn for the simpler yet much more expensive days of Yellow page advertising.