How to generate leads for greater ROI (Hint: It Ain’t the Yellow Pages)


Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic shift in how consumers purchase products. Fingers that once strolled through the Yellow Pages now do their walking on a mouse and keyboard.

The shift to online searches and away from print directories all but guarantees the demise of the print Yellow Pages directory; as far as I’m concerned, it can’t come soon enough.

I received my copy this week and, as usual, it made the uninterrupted trip from front porch to recycle bin. In an unscientific survey of friends and colleagues, I confirmed that pretty much everyone I know dumps this unwanted and unnecessary pile of paper as soon as it arrives.

That’s a pretty strong indicator that Yellow Pages advertising is poor use of your marketing dollar. It’s somewhat akin to setting fire to your money: there is an equal chance of getting a positive return on your marketing investment using either method.

However, it appears that we’re seeing the beginning of the end. According to a November article in USA today, telecom regulators in several states have okayed discontinuing the white pages because they are no longer needed or relevant.

“Phone companies note that eliminating residential white pages would reduce environmental impact by using less paper and ink. It also can’t hurt their bottom lines to cut out the cost of a service that rarely gets used and generates little beyond nostalgia.”

With no ad revenue generated by the white pages I imagine telecoms are thrilled.

The Yellow Pages directory gets thinner every year so it’s clear that fewer businesses are falling for the advertising hard sell. With ad revenues are on the decline, I’m hopeful that the diminishing returns for the publishers will sound the death knell for this unconscionable waste of trees.

So if you’ve been a loyal Yellow Pages advertiser how should your marketing budget be allocated? Become your own publisher – of content. Buyers are hungry for information as they initiate the buying process. Provide them with remarkable content on your website to help guide them in their selections.

Most B2C and B2B consumers start their search for products and services online. In the early buying stages they gather information, research reviews, and compare prices. Build a relationship and continue to engage via permission-based email marketing.

As you position yourself as a resource and expert you’ll keep your products and services top of mind – and you distinguish yourself from your competitors.

By including online marketing in your sales and marketing strategy you’ll be generating leads more effectively at a lower cost.


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