DISCLAIMER: This article is presented as our thoughts and opinions on IYP advertising as a whole. This article does not assert that any part of our content applies to any particular yellow pages company or service.
Are you considering signing up for (internet yellow pages) IYP advertising? If so, you should read this article to get more information to set realistic expectations. This article is an updated version from an article originally published in 2015.
Our credibility for this article is based on our direct experiences in yellow pages sales training, field sales and yellow pages sales management. The YP environment is extremely sales driven. Innovation and independent thinking is frowned upon. Most of the individual products offer some level of customizing. The shortcoming is in the overall strategy, implementation, and management of programs or campaigns. It’s all very uninspired and lacks fluid scalability and adjustments.
Need a second opinion? A recent article published by High Level, a marketing company in Alabama, stated, "Directories like IYP will often market their services as equally or more effective than traditional SEO. Yet, they actually limit the reach and success that your business can achieve. In fact, unless you closely monitor the traffic you get from IYP or another directory listing, you can be duped into thinking that your efforts are paying off."1
Why IYP is a weak marketing option
Le’s take a practical look at IYP advertising. It’s safe to say that people want convenience. Relative to online searches, that means the fewest clicks to gratification. Here’s something to consider…
Do Google searches using terms your customers would use. Do you see any IYP listing on the first page? If not, then it’s obvious that a business advertising with IYP probably won’t be found or contacted.
If you should happen to find an IYP company listed on the first page, consider normal user behavior. A potential customer does a Google search and starts at the top of the page. They may see a Google PPC ad, local business listing, or organic website listing. This means a user can make 1-click and get to what they want. With IYP they have to click on the company link, where they will then see a list of your competitors without much information. It takes more clicks to explore and find a company. People don’t want to work that hard to find a product or service provider.
About the IYP paid search (PPC) ads. Yellow pages companies may offer pay per click programs.They employ a well-crafted sales pitch to sell "guaranteed click packages" for a fixed monthly fee. The data used by sales reps is almost always created by the advertising company, their paid consultants, or biased yellow page industry organizations. Before you sign a contract, ask for references and see what they say.
How do IYP paid search programs work? Operating from a fixed budget (what you pay monthly) a YP company typically seeks to buy the cheapest keywords to satisfy the promised "number of monthly clicks". The objective is to fulfill the number of clicks promised. This means when they hit that magin number, with inexpensive, low-value keywords, they pocket the difference. Simply put, they’re not motivated to pay for the expensive, high value keywords.
Clicks Don’t Pay Your Bills! The number of clicks is not important. What is important is targeting high value keywords that reflect desireable intent. This strategy yields the highest possible rate of quality traffic. This directly impacts conversion rates. Using long-tail search phrases is a best-practice to reach qualified buyers when they are ready to make a purchase. A strategic approach is better than a "keep spending more money" approach.
Where do those clicks go?. When IYP ads are clicked, prospects are usually sent to a "landing page" that the YP company created – not to the advertisers real website. This can negatively impact conversion rates.
The Landing Page Myth: Yellow pages reps have always said "content is king" yet they divert prospects to a generic landing page instead of to the advertiser’s content rich website. This is not a best practice for PPC conversions. The purpose of the landing page is to gather information that will be used to push renewal of the IYP advertising. The best PPC practice to improve conversionsis to have your ads link to the most relevant page of your website. You get this type of expertise with our PPC management services.
Irrelevant Boasts: IYP reps may tell you that their company is a preferred partner or vendor with a search engine. You may be told that actions like phone calls and contact form submissions are tracked. You may be told about their expensive systems or software. Our question is simply, "What direct benefit does it have for your business?". The truth is, you know if your phone is ringing or not.
What does matter is hiring a digital marketing company that is loyal to your business, focused on your success, and easy to reach anytime.
Listed On The First Page of Google. Google’s own website says that no company can guarantee first page ranking. When making such claims they are probably referring to Google Ads (PPC advertising). These sales reps are also telling your competitor’s that they can "get them on the first page of Google". Ask your rep to explain how they can get you and their other customer (your competitors) on the first page, for the best terms, and give each one preferential treatment. They may be able to get your ads on the first page, but for what keywords and for how long?
The Origins of Internet Yellow Pages
IYP were created to recover revenue lost from the dying yellow pages print directories. The IYP model is extremely profitable thus other companies have evolved that offer a nearly identical advertising models. Advertiser are pushed into signing long-term contracts for a near one-size-fits-all search engine marketing program. The scope-of-work is set and there is no real ability to significantly control what the service provider does.
Is IYP overhyped and overpriced? Digital Resources published an article that stated, "Even before the Yellow Pages made its way online, the company was already notorious for its expensive price points. However, since it was the only key player in the world of local advertising back then, small and local businesses had no choice but to surrender to their high pricing. Fast forward to the present, we’re seeing many reputable online business directories that offer similar or even better online advertising than YP."2
Inside Directory Advertising Agencies
Yellow page sales reps have two key concerns; keeping you from cutting your advertising, and getting you to increase how much you are spending. An ethical independent digital marketing agency is concerned with getting the best results for the client. The independent agency knows that performance is the preferred way to retain clients, not iron-clad contracts.
If you need an experienced digital advertising agency, we invite you to call us for a friendly chat to discuss your situation.
CREDITS and FOOTNOTES
- 1 High Level Marketing, "Is Your Small Business Wasting Money on Directory Listings?", April 3 2015, Available from High Level Marketing
- 2 Digital Resources, "4 Reasons to Avoid Yellow Pages Online Marketing Services", Apr 25, 2023, Available from Digital Resources
- Photo by Alexa, available at Pixabay