As a business owner, you may be asking yourself, “Should I advertise in yellow pages?” Do people still use the yellow pages?
In a recent video, Google software engineer Matt Cutts spoke about the need for businesses to focus on more than just ranking in search results. He emphasized the importance of having a well-rounded marketing strategy that includes both online and offline media, including *gasp* Yellow Pages! At 1:20 into the video, here’s what he had to say:
I am all for having eggs in lots of different baskets. Because if your web site goes down, then you could always have a brick-and-mortar business, you know. If your ranking on Google is not as good, then you could have other channels that you can use—from print media advertising, to billboards, to Twitter, to Facebook.
So you should always have a very well-rounded portfolio of ways to get leads, whether it be people walking through your door, or Yellow Pages, or whatever it is, because you can’t count on any one channel always working out perfectly.
In an age when popular thinking says the industry’s all but dead, having an Internet guru such as Matt Cutts name Yellow Pages as a one of the “ways to get leads” is, well, unheard of, to say the least.
But Matt, No One Uses the Yellow Pages Anymore!
Being headquartered in the San Francisco Bay area, perhaps Matt’s aware of a recent study that found 69 percent of its residents are “still” using print directories. But it gets even better:
The most significant finding of the study is that Baby Boomers and seniors, who control the lion’s share of spending in the local market, turned to the printed directory FIRST 64% of the time.
The author of the above-quoted article goes on to say:
… the market is fragmented and advertisers must be mindful of their target audiences. If they’re older than 35-40 and fall into certain categories (e.g., homeowners) then print makes sense. If they’re younger, print YP is going to be much less effective. However the perception that no one is using print is clearly incorrect.
What the Real Experts Say about Yellow Pages
Self-proclaimed SEO experts commonly disparage Yellow Page advertising as expensive and ineffective, often quoting anecdotal evidence. But independent media research and recognized local search authorities paint quite a different picture regarding Yellow Page usage:
“People sometimes present the YP advertising to me as an either-or deal: would I be better off dropping my print ad budget and putting it all into online? In some cases, the answer is yes. But in many cases the answer to that probably isn’t clear-cut. I advise putting advertising budget towards as many promotional channels as is feasible, as long as the channel does better than merely pay for itself. If a referral channel is doing that for you, I’m not obsessed about whether it’s print, Internet, or a guy on a streetcorner holding up a sign.” Read More
“Our research conducted with Burke finds that nearly 8 out of 10 of print Yellow Pages searches resulted in a purchase or purchase intent. How many new local search offerings can claim such high exposure and drive so many leads?” Read More
“So how do you reach the local person who is actively making a buying decision regarding the products and services you sell? One way to reach that person is through skillful online development and optimization. Another way is through the directory that was delivered to their home (assuming they haven’t opted out). Both answers can be right.” Read More
“… more than 70% of respondents said they use print yellow pages … In the rural market case, over 90% are reporting current use of print YP.” Read More
“Word of mouth is the top answer, followed by search and attorney referrals (word of mouth again). Then print yellow pages outscores other categories, including social networks (another version of word of mouth).” Read More
“The study, conducted by research firm Burke among 8,000 US adults over a year long period, gave yellow pages (combined print and internet) more usage that internet search engines, with 84% saying they used either print or internet yellow pages over the past year to find a local business, versus 76% who said they used a search engine.
“Print yellow pages on their own weren’t that far behind, at 74%.” Read More
“Survey shows consumers consult 2 to 3 sources of local information, demonstrating that an integrated advertising approach is best for local businesses.” Read More
Listen to Matt; Put Your Marketing Eggs in Lots of Baskets
According to comScore’s 2013 Local Search Usage Study, the two most important factors consumers consider when choosing a business are location (32%) and familiarity (31%). Becoming familiar means utilizing as many multiple marketing channels as possible to get your name in front of local consumers.
Clearly, a combined approach of Yellow Page advertising and local search marketing is the most effective way to reach local consumers looking for your product or service.