Uncategorized Aug 17, 2012

Five Alternatives to the Yellow Pages

If you can’t remember the last time you used the Yellow Pages, you’re not alone. More and more people are going online to find information and opting out of Yellow Pages delivery. Some cities such as Seattle and San Francisco have even passed legislation to reduce the amount of yellow pages and other directories delivered to residents.

To combat the phone book’s decreasing popularity, the Yellow Pages has moved a lot of its business online. The company’s online services promise to drive traffic to your website and get you more business. Sounds perfect, except that the Yellow Pages are notorious for poor customer service. People are often encouraged to sign a year long service contract and are then disappointed with the results. For that reason, we recommend the following alternatives.

#1 Pay Per Click (PPC)
A PPC ad is an online ad where you pay based on the amount of clicks the ad receives. For PPC campaigns, Google is often your best bet. With Google, you’ll pay less per click if the search engine thinks you have a good relevant campaign. However, it doesn’t matter how many people click through to your website if it’s hard to navigate and outdated. That’s why it’s important to make sure your site engages potential customers and allows them to find the information they want quickly. 

#2 Local SEO
50 years ago, when people needed a plumber, they went to the yellow pages. Today, they go online. For example, one of our clients implemented integrated phone call tracking and discovered that a lot of their calls came from people who googled the company on their phone and then called them on the spot. Thanks to local SEO, our client showed up first in Google’s search results which is why people dialed their number instead of a competitor’s. But, had a competitor been first on Google, it would have been a different story.

Local SEO concentrates on building links and creating accurate listings in sites with a local focus like YELP and googleplaces. Once you’re listed, you’ll need to interact with customers on a daily/weekly basis, i.e., offer deals and discounts and monitor and respond to reviews.

#3 Targeted Local Advertising
This type of advertising is perfect for companies who need to target a specific geographic location. If you own a pizza place and only deliver to a few zip codes, your best bet is advertising to people who live in those areas. You can advertise to your local community through sites such as Google and Yelp as well as by sponsoring local blogs and advertising in local papers (print and online editions).

#4 Facebook
Facebook and other social media are only good advertising vehicles for a social event or activity, something people will want to share with their friends, i.e. a local bike race. So, if you’re unsure whether or not people will want to share your activity/service, you probably don’t belong advertising on Facebook. For example, let’s say your auto body shop is offering $10 oil changes. While it’s a great deal, it’s not something most people want to post on other people’s walls or click on for more information. But, if you want to advertise the monster truck rally your auto body shop is sponsoring, Facebook would be a perfectly good option.

#5 Community Involvement
As a local company, it’s important to take an active role in your community. Sponsor ball teams and community events, give to local charities, do anything and everything that makes you a positive force within the community. When it comes to choosing between two companies who offer the same basic product/service, people are more likely to choose the company that supports their community over one that doesn’t.

All of these alternatives have the potential to offer you more value for your money than the Yellow Pages can. But, these alternatives are only effective in the right hands. If you’re a tech-saavy business owner with the time and marketing expertise needed to create and manage PPC, SEO and targeted local advertising campaigns, we say go for it.

However, if you’re good at your business but don’t have time to promote it, let us do it for you. We can create a custom online advertising strategy that will get your company the attention it deserves.



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