Yellow Page Advertising Good or Bad?
I like to start a blog out on a positive note but this message is worth getting out there.
There are 3 important things to do to improve your web presence:
Have your website evaluated and redesigned if necessary.
Implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for national and local keyword searches. Example Title tag with keywords, location + name of business :
Start an internet advertising / PPC campaign.
What are Yellow Page Internet Advertising Services?
One of my clients was getting a hard sell from a Yellow Pages salesman for their PPC (Pay-Per-Click) and internet advertising / marketing services. The client asked me to give the sales guy a call.
Yellow Pages must have gotten a memo that their print directory is uneconomical and their advertising model unsustainable in the days of internet. (They should read Yahoo News. Right in the mecca of internet technology , the San Francisco Bay Area, the YP print directory is going strong.) Looks like they made some deal with Google but I cannot find any information. I called a Google Adwords rep trying to get to the bottom of it and she told me "This is in the works but I can't comment." wink wink.
It would seem the Yellow Pages in struggling in the online advertising game and since they cannot compete with the search engines on the local level as planned, they are implementing a new advertising business model: Internet Marketing Services. Or so it seems. The hard sell is that the YP rep probably has a metrics to convert 100% of the YP print ad customers to their print / online advertising program.
It seemed a reasonable business strategy to me since internet marketing is a much needed and beneficial service for small businesses, until I called the salesman and got the facts.
This is the part they sell you on:
Yellow Pages provides Pay Per Click Services by bidding on keywords for you. The build a landing page to capture prospective customers from your online ads and then direct these leads to you. They provide you detail reports.
Now the bad news:
They do not send this traffic to your website. They BUY your domain name with a different extension (ex. yourdomainname.net or yourdomainname.co etc) then pose as you online.
The argument the salesman makes? "All you need is the phone call." For print ad sales but this is the internet. You need the traffic.
Internet traffic to your website is important.
We can all agree that “organic” (free) search engine ranking is a good thing. There are many factors that determine first page ranking, but if you take Google for example, popularity is a major factor. Popularity is determined by link share but traffic may also be a factor when in relation to a search term. If more people come to you under the search term "candy store " for example than they do to the other guy, you must be a great candy store and therefore the logic would be that you deserve a higher Page Rank value.
There are about 200 factors (most undisclosed by Google) to give you high Page Rank Value. What we do know is that links back to your website is one of the most important factors. Why risk anyone linking back to the Yellow Pages owned domain name when they may think the website is yours?
The goal online is to be found on top: The first position of the top and side ads, the first position in "organic" ranking and the first position by location.
Yellow Pages takes the top and side listing and drives that traffic to the landing page on their website (ex. yourshop.net) From a search engine point-of-view, their website is more popular than yours.
And what does this other website landing page look like? They assure you that they are professional and it looks better than yours. It is "designed to capture leads." What that means is it has an 800 number is on top in large font and there are fields that captures email and other personal identifiable information.
With Yellow Pages internet marketing and ad services, you are investing in their growth and popularity, not your own.
In exchange for sending you your leads and providing reports on these leads they get your internet traffic, your prospective customers' personal identifiable information and a domain name that impersonates your business identity.
What happens if you cancel Yellow Pages?
These are valuable assets you've invested in. For example, perhaps they may sell this other domain name back to you. After all, it has traffic. You can own myshop.com AND myshop.net, but you'll have to pay for it. Or perhaps, they sell the data on your customers? They now have demographic detailed information about them (in the same reports they provide to you) and can categorize them by interest to create a lead profile. This is called lead generation and it is a lucrative business.
What about the fees?
They commit you to an annual or bi-annual contract . My client's Yellow Pages sales rep was billing $600 monthly. Yipes. Ok.
Question: How much of the monthly yellow page fee goes toward keyword bidding?
YP Answer: Don't know. It is packaged into the print ad price.
EXAMPLE: KEYWORD "CANDY STORE" COST-PER-CLICK Approx. $1.25 with $600 budget = 480 visits!
That's alot of prospective customers. How did the salesman explain this? "But we send those leads to you!" Back to the argument that you only need a phone call.
Creating an effective online ad campaign takes skill. Who is creating these ads? Last I checked, Yellow Pages core competency was print.
Question: Can I control what the ads say?
YP Rep Answer: No.
Question: Can I control the design of this landing page?
YP Rep Answer: No.
Question: Can I get a Google Ads report?
YP Rep Answer: No.
This is not advertising. This is also not the way we do SEO PPC campaigns. We send your customers to you.
Find a professional internet marketing consultant that provides more transparency and is committed to building your web presence. Want to do it yourself? You ABSOLUTELY can. Google, Yahoo and Bing have outstanding help centers to get you started.