Saying goodbye to the yellow pages is proving harder for some. We’ve talked to many business owners who got their start by placing ads in phone books, but now realize it’s not working like it used to. If you’re asking yourself what to do now that the yellow pages are on the decline, take a lesson from other business owners.
Here are two scenarios that we’re seeing more and more:
1. Business owners eliminate Yellow Pages and other phone book advertising altogether. They see growth stagnate, and at times even a steady decline in business, since customers are now practically unable to find them.
2. Business owners replace their Yellow Pages and other phone book advertising with SEO, digital advertising, inbound marketing or some other form of online marketing. They see a steady increase in business, since their exposure increases exponentially.
It’s important to understand that the internet hasn’t replaced the yellow pages, it’s created a new standard for purchase decision making.
In the age of the yellow pages, we looked at listings, ads and coupons. We picked up the phone and called the one that caught our attention the most.
The Internet created a new standard by placing every bit of information into the buyer’s hands. It’s not just about a listing and a nice advertising with a coupon anymore. Today’s buyer can read your most recent customer reviews, look at which of their friends have done business with you on Facebook and learn all about your most recent acts in the community by Googling your company name.
How do you adapt to this new standard as a business owner?
1. Recognize that marketing has changed and the old methods will never work the same way again.
2. Use online marketing to your advantage by creating and owning your space. This could be social media, a website, a Google listing, a Yelp listing and more.
3. Research and learn about your options for online marketing, or talk to a professional who can help you make the transition.
4. Create an online marketing plan & get started.
PRO TIP Even if you don’t post anything to Facebook or have a website, you should claim your space. This prevents your competitors or disgruntled customers from impersonating your business online. In other words, even if you’re a wallflower, you should at least show up at the party for appearance’s sake.
Ashley Quintana is a co-founder of Bridges Strategies. In her role, she develops, leads, and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base, including a Fortune 500 subsidiary and an NBA basketball team. Ashley’s work can be found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, and she is an OKC.biz 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership in business and community. She frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences on marketing, diversity, and business.