Have you been getting the run-around with your local yellow page company? Do they come back year after year with more excuses and new snake oil remedies to cure your ROI blues? Only to leave you with an auto renew contract and nobody to call when you have a problem?
In the last several years since the Yellow Pages print product went into a steep, steep decline the YP companies have been trying to retain all of that jeopardy revenue. The only way they could do it was to manufacture traffic to their online directories, places like YP.com, dexknows.com and superpages.com. The belief was that they could simply move the existing print revenues that had been built up for over 100 years and move them to their new products. That strategy has not been working very well and the overall decline in revenues since about 3rd quarter 2007 has been dramatic and in some cases reported at over 50%!
That’s staggering when you consider the pile of revenue and the number of local businesses that they have had under their control. In recent times the abandonment of this media has been exacerbated by the movement to opt out of delivery or in some communities an outright effort to stop the publication of the product.
All of those factors and some corporate mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies and other big business maneuvers have left the once proud and strong Yellow Pages organizations reeling. Much of the occurrences mentioned also led to enormous amounts of exodus by long time tenured and experienced employees.
Bottom line is the impact on the poor advertisers, customer service and product offerings. I used to try and stand neutral on most of these issues, but in recent months we have taken on a few large scale yellow page advertisers that tell of unbelievable things going on between them and the YP companies. Things like promising clicks in exchange to renew revenues, free print ads not to cancel, promises of freebies throughout the year if things don’t work out, etc. Then after the signature, they cannot find anyone, get any support and if they dare try to cancel they cannot find a soul.
That’s a terrible shame but it’s a story we hear over and over again. It’s gotten to the point that these tales are the norm and not the exception. For many, many yellow pages advertisers out there, the time has come to take a long hard look at your advertising investment, your long term goals and the ROI on what you are spending.
The internet and a well balanced diet of other forms of advertising is the best way to go. When you can start with a company that is not trying to retain revenues that are already overstated you are better off. In most instances, if you have a large yellow page company budget, you can replace it all with a better, smaller budget and higher ROI. Take a hard look at inbound marketing methodology with companies like Hubspot. Look at other successful competitors in your industry or service. Take a look at how they are able to draw leads and new business. Find a good local marketing company and invite them over for a talk. It never hurts to talk about ideas and a new way of doing things.
You may want to look at this article that appeared in Search Engine Land in March 2012. It has gotten worse since then but it gives a good perspective on the overall decline and demise of an industry. CLICK HERE
We have a couple of free eBooks that might provide you with some food for thought. Good luck to you and don’t sign again until you have a chance to really think it over.