Internet vs. the Yellow Pages
The Internet vs. the Yellow Pages
Are the Yellow Pages going the way of the Dinosaur ?

Do you know where your Yellow Pages are? You maybe asking yourself, which version of Yellow Pages are you    talking about?

I do not know how many versions of the yellow pages there  are in the city where you live, but I have counted them.

By my count, there is two large volumes, two pocket volumes, four seasonal local volumes. Bold and highlighted entries extra cost. There are quite a number of online yellow pages sites out there thousands, in fact an old saying about advertising in the Yellow Pages if you want to be sure that you are seen, you have to be listed in all of them.

Old habits are hard to change. I have used the option with the post office not to accept junk mail so I don’t keep flyers that I don’t read only to recycle them when they become a pile in the floor of the closet. The spot in the closet where I kept the flyers has been taken over by copies of the Yellow Pages, the Sears, the Canadian Tire, the Lea Valley Hobby and other numerous catalogues. Now that I am writing about them, I do not know why I keep them. Just in case I need to look something up? No I use the Internet.

I realize that many of the business in my area were spending a major portion of their marketing budgets on the yellow pages. Back in the 70’s, it seemed if you wanted to stand out, you subscribed to a quarter page. I see now a number of full page ads back to back with their competitors, I was overwhelmed - too much information and too many choices.

Who is winning here, the yellow pages or the printers?
Not the yellow pages by the article in the Associated
Press – March 27, 2008. Stock Market Analysts have
suggested investors avoid shares of the two largest
yellow page publications which have declined sharply
over the past year, one by 91% and the other by 85%.

So why would anyone spend thousands of dollars a month to be part of this process?
- Well, it was asked, and the most popular answer was - "because everyone else is doing it"
It was further researched, the Yellow Pages vs. Search Engine models and identified four trends that will impact how local companies advertise.

1. Ease of Use - People do what is easy, access to the Internet via work, home or any library have truly made getting online easy. According to a study taken by Jupiter Media, over 64% of people (taken 2007 increasing daily), who are looking for information on-line, use search engines. If I can type my problem or what I want into a search engine and find what I need, I don't need to go through the 100 pages of ads in the yellow pages. Search engines are getting more precise down to an industry specialty and geographic focus, while also continuing to be easier to use.

2. Cost of Yellow Pages vs. Search Engine - In reviewing these two models we need to compare the traits and cost basis of each media.

                                                               Yellow Pages       Search Engine
Printing Costs
Mailing/Distribution Costs
Commission for Sales
Commitment Level
Flexibility of Ad

    1 Year
Once a Year


Clearly, the Yellow Pages model is more expensive while also being significantly less flexible and scalable than online search engines.

3. Differentiation vs. Directory - As a business owner, the last thing I would do is give my prospects a detailed list of my competitors, including addresses and phone numbers. But that is exactly what the Yellow Pages do. Using search engines, you can differentiate yourself from everyone else. So when the ideal client is looking for what you do, they find you, not all your competitors.

4. The Future Big Winner in Search ... Local Firms ! - The traditional success model for winning online has been the ability to sell your product or service nationally or internationally. However, local or regional firms could not leverage the national and international traffic that search engines brought because they were only licensed or had services available in a specific city, state or region.

Good news ... the search engines now have the ability to determine where the search is coming from. What that means to you is you can target all the way down to a city, zip or area code. If you have a firm that has a defined geographic area, you have an incredible opportunity to be the top firm that comes up when people use a search engine for services in your area.

Based on these trends there are eight (8) rules you need to do today to differentiate you from your competition  ......... We suggest that you change your strategy and reallocate your budget as follows:

1. Look at your Yellow Page investment - What did it cost you last year and what business came directly from it? If the numbers work, keep doing it. However if the answer to this question is "I don't know" ,,,,,, we have a suggestion. Keep he yellow pages ad, just make it smaller. Take the 50% you save on your budgeted yellow page fees and use it to directly drive on-line prospects to your firm.

If you are satisfied with your results with yellow pages, but would like to 'Test the Waters' as they say, take 20-30% of your current budget to be on-line. As phone books and directories continue to diminish in value, you will be ahead of the curve.

2. Have your own site - If you are in a directory and it has created a simple site for you, don't worry about tracking traffic, you probably aren't getting any. Make sure you have your site set up as your own, and that people can find you through normal search engines, not just through an Internet Directory.

3. Measure - Look at your site - You should know how many people come to your site. If you are signed up with an online web-design service, get your numbers from them. If the directory provider can't (or doesn't want to) get you your performance numbers, fire them!

4. Add Relevant Location Text to your Site - People today are using search engines to find what you do in your city. Make sure that the search engines can easily know your address, city, province, postal code and area code. If you have areas that you specialize in, make sure location info are on those pages too.

5. Use a SEO Search Engine Optimization - (three to four times a year) This simply is to make your website friendly to the Search Engine’s Spiders and Robots that collect, collate and index these to be found when you do a search. Ranking on the site depends on how friendly and relevant its information is to the viewers search. (three or four times a year search engines change their criteria)  

6. Use Tag Directories - These are association, organizations, unions and buying groups that you belong to, local, regional and national. A website searcher’s results will show these directories, and if your website and/or addition information is not added you may loose a potential client or customer. In addition, the number of associated links you have directed towards your site increases the points that are added up by those Spiders and Robots we mentioned in the SEO. Have your webmaster take advantage of the directories,

7. Start Using the Online Model Now ! - Realize that yellow page books and yellow page online directories do not differentiate you from everyone else. Make sure your site tells what you do, where you are located and invites the client to take action with your firm. Welcome to search, the killer application that is leapfrogging the current directory model. Web-Search is the future:    The question is - are you going to be a player or a spectator ???

8. This is why having an experienced Wed-Designer/Web-Master is critical                                                                        ....... not just important ….. But critical !!!

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Other Advertising
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Present Advertising Budget
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Testing the Waters Budget
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In Canada as of 2007
- 72.8% of the Canadian Population is users of the Internet
- Source: World Bank - World Development Indicators

In Canada as of 2008
- 84.3% of the Canadian Population is users of the Internet
- Source: ITU (International Telecommunications Union)

In Canada Individual and Household Internet Use
- Percent % of Internet Users at Home by Age
- Source: Statistics Canada – www

34 years and under
35 to 54 years
55 to 64 years
65 years and older

Now do you think it is only the young people that are connected ?

In Canada Comparing the Gains from 2010 to 2012
- Window shop or browse for information on goods or services     
- Ordered goods or services online         
- 65 or older using the Internet         
- Household with access to the Internet at home              
- Value of orders placed online reached $18.9 billion in 2012                       

As of April 2016
- Stats Canada has not published any more current information

I hope this helps you to better understand where potential customers and
clients are searching for products and services.

16 %94 %95 %
29 %89 %92 %
26 %76 %80 %
27 %39 %46 %
2010       2012
74 %       78 %
51 %       56 %
40 %       48 %
79 %       83 %
             +24 %