Recently I was asked since I have been in marketing for over 20 years, how effective the “yellow page” online directories are.
This was a question, that since I spent many years in yellow pages, I felt best tackled with real live statistics from our client’s analytic reports. Since this report is from Google Analytics it truly takes my opinion out of it and focuses just on the facts.
With over 200 clients in my portfolio, I can honestly say there isn’t one that is getting more than a handful (meaning less than 20) hits a month from the “yellow page online directories”. This includes but isn’t limited to Super Pages, Yellowpages.com (also known as AT&T), Dex Knows, Yellowbook and a local directory Zip Local.
That being said I truly feel my clients’ frustration as they try to decipher the fact that they are being given reports from each individual company that show much higher numbers. To that I only can say that is why we here at EWS use only Google Analytic reports. It may not be 100% accurate; however, if it’s going to have discrepancies it’s going to be across the whole report not just report one particular “referring” site as being lower than another. (Note: referring sites means that the hit was generated from another website and then the individual then clicked on your website link to get information straight from your website)
Even still, if you took any one report that my clients have given a copy of to me (from the yellow page companies), it would show numbers that sometimes reach between 25-50 hits to their website. A far cry from what the client is getting from the “organic” section of Google. Most of our clients get literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of hits a month from the organic section!
To top it off, many a client has been talked into “banner” ads for hundreds a month on the online directories. I have done many comparisons through the Google analytic reports and found literally the difference of maybe 3 or 4 hits a month difference between a “banner” ad or “top spot” and the free listings.
I still have friends in the yellow page industry (well I did until I wrote this blog lol!) and I feel bad because they don’t really know the truth. They are just trying to survive in an industry that I believe will literally be extinct in a few short years. Why do I feel that way??? A few tell tale signs. Historically it was rare that a yellow page book lost more than 20 pages in a year. In fact the goal of course was to get bigger and bigger each year. That being said the Portland Oregon Dex book from what I recall lost over approximately 300 pages last year!
Of course, they had businesses saying that they felt more and more business was going to the internet so they (the yellow page company) traded the revenue the client was spending in the paper product for internet marketing through their company. It isn’t a secret either that prior to this almost every yellow page company went through bankruptcy of some sort or another recently.
So now that they shifted all that revenue, when the clients don’t feel the impact of their advertising dollar working for them they will start looking elsewhere! All of the yellow page companies started selling Google Adwords. Not only have we found many examples of bad keywords and mismanaged campaigns, we have found that because they (the yellow page companies) of course still wanted to have a hefty margin they were marking up the going rate in some cases by 5000%!!
The businesses I talk to realize this is going nowhere fast. So how long will they last, who knows, maybe they will re-invent themselves again.
Needless to say right now since all EWS clients get monthly reports from Google on what is happening with their website, the clients are fighting back with the yellow page companies…..and winning! Many clients have told me their yellow page rep said they were right and they didn’t have a rebuttal.
Knowledge is power, and in today’s tough times, it’s important that every marketing dollar is getting a huge bang for its buck!