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Have the yellowpages died yet? No, but here’s why…

December 13th, 2010 | | Search Behavior

Every year I write about the yellow pages. You might think they are dead, but that not the case. As much as I like to see them go away, my clients still generate revenue from them. How? Well, here are two factors as to why they yellow pages are still viable … for now.

1. Lack of Technology Adoption – There are start-ups left and right trying to get local information into our digital fingertips, but if no one adopts their hub of info, it will be all for naught. The yellow page directories have had decades upon decades to seer into our culture their need. The death of the printed book won’t be until the last generation that picked up a yellow page book up dies off. In my experience, the yellow pages seem to have a niche in a couple industries. The service industry (A/C, Plumbing, Auto) and Lawyers. It’s rare to find a non-chain service company with it’s own website though Google’s Place Pages are trying to remedy that.

Where the group of non-technology adapters in business meets the non-technology adapters in homes, you’ll find the yellow pages printed book.

2. Demographic targeting – I may have fully integrated my life with my tablet computer, but if the only online option for a service I need locally seems undesirable, I finally find myself in 3rd party listings, or even the book itself. I’m in a demographic that still knows what the book is for and what is in it. The option exists for me. Though the demographic of the 60+ may be the majority of the yellow page book audience, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities. If you are in the service industry and you want to gain the trust of the elderly couple that has movable income, their eyes will be on traditional media. Don’t drop it, but measure it appropriately. For me it has already manifested itself this way:

1. A 75-year-old woman hears an ad on the radio and comes away with the name of the plumbing company.
2. The woman calls the company for service
3. The company asks how they found them
4. The woman says “yellow pages.”

A. A 38 year old man hears the same ad and calls
B. The company asks how they found them
C. The man says “the Internet.”

The Result: Next year’s budget is then cut for radio to help pay the growing costs of having yellow page ads while the Internet seems to be doing just fine.  Oops.

If you are looking to dominate quickly, the quick and easy paths are the most expensive; full-page or two-page spreads for yellow pages and PPC campaigns for search engines. Managed poorly, and you waste a lot of money either way. If yellow pages are in your company’s marketing still, do your company a favor and put a separate phone number in the ads. If you can tell your sales apart generated by a web presence versus a yellow page presence, you will be able to see how your target demographic finds you.

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