When writing these articles my goal is to be as objective and technically factual as possible but for the last several years I have (against my better judgment) advertised in the walking dead directory.
This year WEBPRO kicked the habit! Yes - We're going cold turkey on the biggest turkey ever printed; The Yellow Pages. Last year was our last lemming march to the sea and let me tell you why you should kick the habit and break formation to avoid the cliff.
Knowing it’s a wounded animal headed for the bone-yard, you would think yellow directory companies would reward you with cheaper advertising solutions in an effort to keep your business rather than greet you with a more expensive solution for the same size. Not to mention calling you a few days before your ad deadline is due. It’s the 11th hour and you’re forced to make a decision knowing damn well it won’t matter if you do or don’t advertise but something inside you makes you second guess yourself and commit to an absurd price and signature. Talk about a classic strong arm tactic for closing. Your gut decision is something like a Trivial Pursuit game. Your first answer you said to yourself was correct but for some inexplicable reason you said something else, lost your wedge and got it wrong - right?
They claim that directory services is still a viable and growing business and more people reference the telephone book more than ever. I say put that in a bag so I can fertilize my flowers. If that were true then why do they spend close to half a million a month with Google? It gets better.
At the time of the article’s release, AT&T was actively running 12,118 ads and 118,743 PPC (Pay Per Click) keywords on Google. Basically it’s my and your money going to promote their business.
Spare Yourself the Pain
I may have mentioned our company had another problem with our advertising this year didn’t I?
After we gave fair warning to my account representative and being specific in writing (knowing they would screw it up anyway) I decided to stick my neck in the noose one last time. They PROMISED our ad and our instructions would be followed to the letter. I’m actually tempted to post the complete thread of email exchanges between my account representative what was promised and then broken. Other than a lame apology they still want us to pay for their mistake. Of course they want to give a 50% reduction because their management thinks that’s fair compensation.
You can imagine my reply.
So where’s the BEEF or the Return on Investment?
So why do they insist on wasting my time begging me to advertise year after year? They argue that their online service is where it’s happening and I would say for how much? Here’s an AT&T reality check. Their online starter package averages $600.00 a month which gives you only a single landing page and is targeted for a limited radius. This doesn't include directory print advertising which by the way was quoted at $520.00 a month for a credit card size ad in one category for a single city. Except for most attorneys I can’t imagine a better resting place, target practice or raising the height of a monitor on your desk.
This is all I can think of for a heavy telephone book. Is this really worth the cost?
It has been estimated that Google runs over one million servers in data centers around the world and processes over one billion search requests and about twenty-four petabytes of user-generated data every day. Alexa lists the main U.S.-focused google.com site as the Internet's most visited website.
From Bell South to AT&T to Community Directories to Yellow Book (nice people) I can honestly say for the last 18 years that telephone book advertising and their online advertising caused more frustration, aggravation and money than it was worth. In plain CFO Yiddish language; I got zilch in return. The problem with print is that you’ll never know how many times someone opened up the directory and looked at your ad but with our advanced sniffing services WEBPRO can proactively monitor any company that comes to your website. Even if they didn’t fill out a form requesting your products or services, we can identify who, where, what time and phone number to call. These reports are emailed every morning – coffee not included.
Rest assured there are ways you can refine strategies for web marketing without breaking the bank. If you could for a fraction of the money wasted with “directory services” achieve a higher presence and conversion would you do it?
Whether you’re local or national makes no difference, the internet is the medium of choice over conventional and online directories. Consumers are going to Google and Yahoo first because it’s easy and you’re not forced to identify your city and state prior to performing a search the way YP.com does.
Keep in mind that consumers and businesses are clicking on organic listings over the PPC (Pay Per Click) to the tune of 85% because the trust factor is higher. I’m not saying Google Ad words don’t work in building higher conversions, but I am suggesting it just takes a professional to work the kinks out of your online ads and websites if you decide to go that route because it’s a fairly unfriendly environment where you can easily waste your monthly budget.
If you’re going to advertise then stop feeding the last dinosaur and shift your marketing dollars over to a program where you’ll stand a better chance of an ROI.

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