Stop Wasting Money on Useless Yellow Page Advertising

Learn why Yellow Page Advertising is not worth the paper it's printed on.

Yellow Pages was once the 'go-to place' for consumers looking for a local service, whether that be an electrician, plumber or interior designer. The business directory would charge a fee, sometimes up to $250,000, for companies to get a premium advertising spot within their widely distributed listings. 

For campaigns to break-even, companies need to generate substantial sales from Yellow Page placement. Depending on the cost of the advertisement ad placement might be valuable for certain very high volume businesses like pizza houses and dry cleaners, but for built environment firms this is not a valid advertising strategy. Simply put, advertising in Yellow Page type directories is a waste of time and money. Their attempts at relevancy by reducing the cost of directory ads if you overspend on their PPC advertising services is an egregious abuse of small business owners lack of knowledge.

Alternatives to Yellow Pages

It is no surprise that the internet is now Yellow Pages' primary competitor, and search engines are grabbing a larger share of the market every year.

Google Bing and Yahoo! as well as social media platforms Twitter, Houzz and Facebook offer better advertising strategies. For instance; Google Adwords, Facebook and others offer to place small linked adverts on their searches and affiliated sites that users can click on. This type of advertising is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC). The great advantage of PPC is that you only pay for the advertising when your advert is clicked on, and the reader visits your website.

Web sites also offer banner advertising where a smart looking graphic is used to advertise your company on their website, but we recommend you avoid these due to the small percentage of conversions they generate. 

Comparing the Advertising Strategies

Comparing the Yellow Pages to other online advertising strategies can demonstrate the effectiveness of such methods.

1.Market Share

Google has a share of about 65% of all online US searches with Bing and Yahoo's share about 29%. Just 6% of all searches conducted through Yellow Pages and other search sites. These statistics indicate that at best for everyone one lead produced through Yellow Pages, eleven are generated through Google, and five are generated through Bing and Yahoo.

A recent survey by found that 75% of people don’t use Yellow Pages to search for businesses and only 11% use Yellow Pages two or more times a month to find companies.

2. The Competition for Eye Balls

In Yellow Pages, your advertisement could be competing with hundreds of similar businesses. In PPC campaigns your adverts are competing against only five or six other advertisers; giving you a far better click-through rate generating more leads.

3.Return of Investment Statistics

Because PPC advertising is only charged if a consumer clicks through to your website, the Return of Interest (ROI) can be much higher. A featured article in Yellow Pages does not guarantee you any site visitors or leads.

If a click costs $2 then the $250,000 annual expenditure on Yellow Pages is worth 125,000 visitors through PPC – that’s an equivalent of 342 leads per day. Do Yellow Page advertisements offer the same sort of lead generation? No. In reality; you are likely to generate the same (or greater) number of leads through the blogging and the efficient management of free social media platforms like Twitter, Houzz, Linkedin and Facebook.

4.Trackable Results

Those who run PPC campaigns find it easy to track their campaign's success. By using landing pages devoted to the advertisement you are running and monitoring the statistics from the PPC provider, you can tell how many people are visiting your site via your adverts and the conversion rate. With Yellow Pages, there are no guarantees and no analytics. You could ask customers how they discovered your firm, but that doesn’t guarantee an accurate answer or count.

Yellow Pages is an ineffective advertising medium. The ROI is hard to measure, and any advertising does not guarantee leads. Instead, businesses should focus on using the less costly services social media, email marketing, PPC advertising and blogging to generate quality leads that have a far better return on investment.

About Michael Conway

I'm the owner and strategist at Means-of-Production. My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one marketing tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition.

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