The Yellow Pages see the writing on the wall. They know the phone book won’t last in its’ current incarnation so they figure, if you can’t beat them…join them. Every year for the last few years when my rep calls me up to renew phone book ads, they also pitch a couple extra things. Here’s why you shouldn’t buy online marketing services from them:
- Inclusion in their online directory
Generally speaking the phone book guys try to sell these services for a flat monthly rate and they want to lock you into an annual contract. Flat fees are simply a way to try to hide that the advertising is not competitively priced. They simply don’t tell you the per-click price. Additionally if the big boys like Google don’t lock you into a long term contract, why in the world would you do it with a dinky little website like the phone book’s directory? Usually they don’t guarantee you that a single person will click through the ad to your website. Recently a client showed me a report that was provided to them as part a pitch to get the client to renew the service. The report only showed “impressions” (number of times the ad was shown to someone) and didn’t even mention click throughs. Google doesn’t charge anything at all for impressions. They are totally free. You only pay when a user clicks through and visits your website. And if all that isn’t enough to cool you off on this idea….when was the last time you needed a product or service and thought…”Gee, I think I’ll look for it on the phone book’s online directory?” Never.
- Ads on Google/Yahoo/etc.
Generally speaking the model that the phone book companies use for selling search engine ads is a flat fee for a specific minumum number of visits to your site. When you do the math the cost per click is usually substantially higher than buying directly from Google. You usually have little to no control over the search phrases that are used to attract your visitors or the geographic location that the ads are shown. Of course when you buy directly from Google you have direct control over these variables and many more. Even given all that, the thing that really turns me off to this pitch is the general lack of professionalism. The pitch is usually given by a sales rep that knows little to nothing about how search engine advertising actually works. If you hire them the work is often off-shored to a firm who’s primary concern is the speed at which they complete the task not the success of the campaign.
If you are serious about getting the most bang for your buck with an online marketing campaign, talk to a professional that specializes in this area. Of course we’d love to help you out here at BP, but honestly just about anyone that claims to be a search engine marketing specialist is probably going to do a better job for you than the Yellow Pages in my experience.