Yesterday I was searching for plumber using Google and I had my results within .3 of a second. How can the Yellow Pages possibly compete with this? In most peoples opinion it can’t and even if it could, it’s still more fun to type it into Google.
Modern companies need to start assessing the viability of their advertising methods and costs to make sure that they are getting the greatest value for money. Should they spend another $5000 on their yearly Telephone Directory add or should they be investing that money to enhance their online presence.
The search directories of old are quickly becoming obsolete. They are large, heavy and cumbersome, and even the most astute among us would not be able to find a plumber within 10 seconds after rummaging through any directory no matter how efficiently it was indexed.
For most people it actually takes a consorted mental effort to accurately remember when they last used a phone directory for something other than a foot stool or doorstop. If you surveyed a group of 100 people each armed with a smart phone, a laptop and the yellow pages, how many people do you actually think would start looking through the yellow pages to locate their local plumber.
When using the Yellow Pages not only are you confronted with every other possible business that starts with ‘P’ when searching for your local plumber, you are ultimately shown biased results based on a company’s willingness to name their company ‘Triple A Plumber’. If you don’t want biased results you must continue to search through a different section called the ‘locality guide’, which also tends to omit certain local results and makes some companies nearly impossible to find.
If you combine these inefficient search result parameters with the exorbitant fees Yellow Pages charges to have your company listed amongst their results then Google is clearly a mile in front.
Not only will Google show your website for free in its search results, your website could be 1000 pages long if need be. You site can be visually engaging and even include video, and you can customize the experience to perfectly fit your customer’s needs and expectations. This really is an unfair comparison when we remember that the cost of a full-page black and white ad in the Yellow Pages is enough to send a lot of small companies totally broke.
So the question is, ‘why do companies still persist in maintaining their listings in the yellow pages?’ Perhaps its cognitive dissentience. The average cost of a Yellow Pages listing is at least $1000 and for that kind of money you can build a beautiful website indeed. If you maintained that yearly fee for five years you could build an exceptional website for $5000 and you could create and keep up a web presence that would easily outperform any full-page Yellow Pages listing.
Google also makes it possible to check and decide exactly how many potential customers would be searching for your services via their keyword tool. This information assists you to change your site and market sales pitch so you can snare the largest and most relevant customer base. Your somewhat left in the dark about your market analytics when it comes to a phone directory listing as it’s impossible for any directory to accurately forecast how many phone calls you’ll receive from your listing.
There’s also that urban myth that a Yellow Pages listing somehow makes a company appear legitimate and trustworthy. Can you the reader actually envision a person that is about to do business with a company asking themselves, ‘now I just want to see if this company is listed in the Yellow Pages before I do business with them because I don’t really trust a company that isn’t listed and if they’re not listed I’ll take my business elsewhere to a company that is listed in the Yellow Pages’? Personally, I’ve rang many companies listed in the Yellow pages only to find that the number has been disconnected.
Business owners need to be economically efficient and if I was that plumber who wanted more customers I’d hedge all my money on the fact that if customers were looking for me they’d be typing ‘plumber’ into Google. Then they’d choose a plumber after browsing their website from the search results they were given and not a plumber they found in the Yellow Pages.