I tell people every day, give me half of your Yellow Pages budget and let me show you how much better of a job we can do.
If you needed anymore proof that Yellow Pages ads are becoming extinct, take a look at the company' s own marketing campaign.
You have no doubt been given the entire break down from your YP rep and you may have seen one of their TV commercials lately.
Yellow Pages is making a huge push to extend their services to the Internet.
The actual "Pages" in Yellow Pages has become antiquated and even the company's most loyal and long-time subscribers are jumping ship to Internet advertisers.
To combat this shift, Yellow Pages is rebranding itself YP.com and spending some pretty significant advertising dollars in an attempt to make it's Web site the local search leader.
This push includes native mobile phone applications and a new mobile website and even a snazzy TV advertising campaign. I would say that this shift is progressive, forward thinking and significant had it happened five years ago. Unfortunately for YP.com, there's two of the largest companies in the world -- Google, Microsoft -- duking it out over search engine dominance and so far that fight isn't even close.
But let me put aside my personal bias towards the Yellow Pages and ask if YP.com had transitioned into a local search engine earlier instead of remaining a huge book that people use to start fires, would they have been successful? Would YP.com be the place to go to find an HVAC contractor or a roofer? My answer is no and let me show you why.
Check out this YP commercial below. It's a well done short clip of a young man who uses YP.com to search for parts for a classic car he is restoring. He finds a business by typing "Auto Parts" in San Francisco and is sent to a junk yard where he finds an almost exact duplicate of the car he wants to restore.
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Oh if it were only that easy. If you actually go through this process with the keywords and location, you get a much different result.
The top results are:
Commercial Tire Company Of San Francisco
San Francisco Toyota
So our friend in the video who was searching for an antique car to restore would have been sent to a commercial tire company. Not very effective is it?
The issue is that YP.com and other local search services rely on category listings to direct users to websites. In our example, a better keyword may be "classic car parts." But instead, the most obvious category, Auto Parts, isn't the correct one, even in Yellow Pages' own commercial.
We can't just pick one category to niche our business into these days like Yellow Pages wants us to. The entire reason users are turning to the Internet to find vendors is so that they can quickly find the business that can meet their exact needs.
The idea behind Search Engine marketing is that when we do get a hit off a search, that user is so qualified, is so interested in our exact product we offer, we have a high chance of converting them once they land on the site. In the above TV commercial, YP fails to understand that no one searches for Auto Parts online, they search for "1973 Chevy Corvette parts; factory" instead.