Is it the end for Yell.com & The Yellow Pages

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I  met with a client today and a Yell.com representative. He wanted us to come along to the meeting to turn the technology talk in plain English for him. Of course we were more than happy to go but also learnt a lot about Yell and more worryingly what they were trying to sell.

Lets go back to the 90’s when the internet was young and the Yellow pages was used as more than a door stop. Businesses would invest in marketing in the same ways they do now. Mainly with leaflets, letters, Yellow Pages adverts and maybe e-mail marketing. Oh and not forgetting Thompson Local.  Most businesses and households only had dial up connection, so looking in a yellow book was much quicker than listening to the horrible sound dial up made whilst establishing a connection to the World Wide Web.

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Now lets fast forward to 2015. Many things have changed! Internet speeds are no longer 0.5mb and connections are constant. The big “G” (Google) has almost taken over the world, and we all realised that the movie Back To The Future was almost right, just missing the hover boards!

More importantly, we’re all browsing the web. Now in this meeting i asked our client what he would do when searching for, lets say a web designer. His answer was he’d “google it”! I also thought…. I’d google it! Of course the Yell.com representative answered with a reason as to why we should be using Yell, but if everyone i know, including myself, simply “google” it questions whether my clients £7000 yearly spend is worth it.

After digging a bit deeper on the Yell.com website, we realised the £7000 a year spend on Yell.com adverts returned 265 phone calls. There were a few other costs but essentially each one of those phone calls was costing over £20!

Yell.com insist that people who use Yell want to purchase, whereas people who search Google are just browsing. To a certain degree, i think this is correct. However if the majority of people Google what they want and then view the results, are you better off focusing on Organic SEO or Googles Pay Per Click?

When we searched google for the keywords they were paying yell.com to feature as paid listing. The first two results were google ads, the first organic result was another company, and the second organic result was their website which we had built with organic SEO techniques. However, the yell.com listing was the last result on the first page! So unless you go directly to Yell.com its pointless.

Now Yell.com has clearly worked for them as it’s their only form of advertising and hasn’t changed for the last 20 years and they’re still in business. But, and here’s the but….. Can some of that £7000 be spent in other marketing areas and produce better results? Can some of that £7000 be reduced whilst keeping the same results?

We’re going to find out. Watch this space.

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