The Day The Phonebook Died
The “New Yellow Pages” Marketing Strategy
Did you know they used to print the internet into a book? Yup, all the businesses in a city would have their contact info printed out into one book, and they called it “the Yellow Pages”.
The theme for 2018 so far has been “the year the phonebook died” because we have never had so many questions like this:
We used to advertise in the Yellow Pages but we don’t think anyone uses it anymore, can you help?
Why, yes, yes we can!
Now before you go and think I’m just here to bash the phonebook or Yellowpages, I’m not. Years and years ago the phonebook was the smartest marketing investment you could make. You would advertise your “roofing company” under roofers, when people needed a new roof, they go to the phonebook, find your ad and call you. Simple as that! AND the phonebook company in my city (Direct West) measured those leads extremely well. In one sales meeting I was at roughly 9 years ago, I remember them saying they would sometimes put a special number in the phone book so they could track how many people called you a month. AMAZING! You could easily measure return on investment (ROI) of your phonebook ad buy.
Fast forward to the Internet age, or better yet the age of Google. Today, anyone who’s willing to consult a phonebook to try and find you probably is technologically illiterate and most likely someone you don’t want to have a business relationship with. Yes it does work for some industries, but you’re getting the customers you deserve if you’re going to put an ad into a phone book.
Google search. Well yes, technically Bing, Duck Duck Go and Yahoo as well but for the most part, Google search is how we find what we’re looking for. Yes you can ask someone to use an app like Yelp, BBB, Trusted Whatever, or 411, but you’re going against human nature to use the default easiest search engine on the market.
The new Yellow Pages is Google search results. More importantly, the first page of Google. Yes sometimes we go to several different pages in search but generally speaking if you know how to search, you’re going to find what you’re looking for on the first page.
People don’t just search “roofing Regina”. Well yes they do, but they more likely search “shingle roofing Regina companies”, or “flat roofing companies in Regina”. If you don’t have those words on your website, the odds your website will come up for that search keyword term are slim to nil. Creating consistent content on your website is the only way to stay on top what your customers may be searching. Also measuring and tracking where you come up in Google search and where your website ranks week after week is a must in 2019 and beyond. We use Moz to do that.
By “Permission marketing” we mean marketing that isn’t advertising or hard sales. We don’t think people like being sold to, so we try not to sell. Your marketing should be so good people want to follow what you are doing. If your customers love what you do they will give you permission to talk to them again and again. We don’t give permission to companies who try to sell to us or may take advantage of us. Permission marketing will be the future of marketing (we hope!).
When a potential customer has a question about what you provide or what you do, can they find you? When they search Google for what you provide, does your website come up? When potential customers search what you provide on YouTube, do they find you?
It’s never been easier to create content and using the Internet to spread your content around. Content marketing compared to advertising is like perishable foods versus non-perishable foods. Advertising happens and it’s done after your media buy. Content marketing lasts on your website for as long as you pay your hosting bill or keep your YouTube channel active. Over time the content marketer educates customers on what they do, providing better and better content.
Everything you share can be measured, and everything that can be measured can be improved. Content marketing is never done, there is always something new to write, post, or get on camera.
No matter what type of marketing you choose to do you will need to show your purpose. Your competitors care about a bunch of community organizations, what do you do? Do you have a community page? Who do you support in your community?
All the marketing in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t have a higher purpose. If all you’re doing is selling widgets, we’re going to buy them from the company that supports the community the most. Yes some will argue that they will buy from the cheapest provider, the problem with that strategy is that the cheapest provider will change inevitably.
Based on Clayton M. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, we know the cost leader in a market will be displaced again and again by new incumbents providing the same service but for cheaper. It’s much wiser to base your competitive strategy on something different than price, focusing on your purpose is a great start.
It’s better to find a cause you can get behind. Build Love was a small campaign when it started but has grown into a movement all because of a few companies involved wanted to do something that had a purpose.
So instead of buying up ads, or advertising in the Yellow Pages, find a cause, put your name on it, support it in every way you can. Watch as people line-up to help, and maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll increase your business too.