Yellow Pages vs Search Engines

Yellow pages have now started marketing themselves as a Search Marketing company in a "if you can't beat them join them" strategy.

So does Yellow Pages SEM offer value for money?
Initially they may, however they are offering exactly the same services directly to your competitors which in reality may offer no advantage to your business if your competitors join in.
The partnership with Google and Yellow Pages does give some initial advantages - however this is only an advantage if the amount you are paying is exceeded by the value add to your business.

Yellow Pages traditional business in decline

It looks like search engines have officially trumped the Yellow Pages when it comes to customers looking for local businesses. From webpro news.

Yellow pages vs Search Engines

What does this mean for your business?

Profit from Search Engine MarketingFor quite some time I have been interested in the trend between search engine statistics and the size and cost of ads in the Yellow Pages.

When I have has customers at the top of a particular search I can compare the numbers of statistics to the size of ads in the Yellow Pages.

The conclusion:
The trend as per the above graph is moving towards search engines but this varies greatly between industries. For certain trades like Gold Coast Painters Yellow pages seems to be way ahead and others eg Gold Coast Yoga more people are using search engines.

So if you called me and asked what are my chances of getting to the top under a certain term and if I did get to the top what extra business would my business generate I could give an approximation based on search volumes and general competition.

I would recommend using Google Local Business Center as well.

Why can Search Engines be more effective than Yellow Pages

  • In the Yellow Pages you are placed right next to your competitors
  • On the Internet you can differentiate yourself
  • How much did you spend on Yellow Pages and what business came from it
  • On the Internet you know via statistics how many people visit your site/page
  • A website can be a growing investment

Why do you advertise in Yellow Pages?

I often ask my clients why they advertise in Yellow Pages - it puts you right next to everyone else in your category and forces you to either compete for a bigger ad or a lower price for your services.
Often the answer is-:

"because everyone eles does"

A website on the other hand can allow after a modest investment product differentiation with the chance to suggest the benefits of your product or services without your competitors being on the same page.
One of my clients recently mentioned she had paid $6000 for a 3 colour ad (80 cm * 125 cm) - she was very dissappointed with the results as it had been placed next to a similar colour ad that was larger and it blended in like it was a part of the advertisement next to her.

Gold Coast Yellow Pages Trends 2008/09 2009/10

Gold Coast Yellow Pages Comparison 2008-9 2009-10
There is definitely a noticable drop in size between Yellow Pages 2008/09 to 2009/10. Possibly due to more competition from the Internet and websites.
My experience from conducting search engine optimisation for clients is that some areas it is important to have a Yellow Pages presence and others the Internet shows better value. It does depend on your industry as to which marketing method you should prioritise.
For example some local tradesmen services like Plumbers and Painters definitely need a Yellow Pages presence because people naturally check the Yellow Pages and local papers for these services. However in many other instances the ongoing costs of Yellow Pages advertising could have funded q quality website that would grow in value over time. The initial outlay is more but the long term benefit clearly favours websites in many industries.

Gold Coast Yellow Pages Trends 2010/11 2011/12

Gold Coast Yellow Pages Comparison 20010-11 2011-12

Reduce your overheads - Understanding break-even analysis?

Financiers use breakeven analysis to find the amount of revenue you need to create to cover your costs. The break-even point is where your fixed and variable costs meet your income.
A good website reduces your overheads and lowers your break-even point so you make more profit earlier.