Yellow Pages: Going Green, In the Red?
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Kate Gingold
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Yellow Pages: Going Green, In the Red?

Frankly, we haven’t used the Yellow Pages much lately – we no longer have visiting youngsters who can’t reach the dinner table. Since we have long preferred online directories, we were just automatically moving the books from the driveway to the recycling bin. One day, we stopped to think about the whole situation and decided to share our research with you in case you haven’t had the time to consider it yourself.

Recently Yelp sent out an email with the results of a survey they conducted among business owners. Of the greater than 3,500 people responding, more than three quarters of them felt that yellow page phone books were no longer relevant in this digital age.

Few business owners use yellow page phone books themselves, but more importantly, they don’t see their customers using them either. Take a look at these statistics:

Estimated percentage of customers who find me using a yellow page phone book.

0% - 43%
1-25% - 47%
26-50% - 5%
51-75% - 3%
76-99% - 1%
100% - 0.1%

So what are customers using? Online directories like Google, Yelp, Yahoo!, Manta and others. is also an online directory featuring Groupon-like deals, Yelp-like reviews, mobile apps and a host of other offerings.

A basic business listing is free if you have an AT&T phone number. For non-AT&T phone numbers, or to upgrade your listing, the Advertising Solutions department has a bunch of options you can purchase.

Rural areas with spotty Internet service and older customers are the biggest users of yellow page phone books so it may still be a good investment for some businesses.

Statistics on how well the online Yellow Pages perform are hard to find, but you could check your web analytics to see if your Yellow Page ad is referring customers, or do your own survey by asking the “how did you find us?” question of people who call.

As always, start with as many free online listings as possible before experimenting with other marketing ideas. And then make sure to track the results so you know which strategy is working for you.

By the way, while recycling the phone book is green, not getting one at all is greener. You can try opting out at the Yellow Pages Goes Green website. There is no law to make phone book companies comply with your opt-out request, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Wondering what the best way to reach your customers could be? Start by looking at where your current traffic comes from. Having trouble deciphering your web statistics or need a statistics package on a website without one? Contact us today. We’re happy to help!

If you’re interested, here is the Yelp email in its entirety:

Most Business Owners Agree: Yellow Books are Irrelevant

Last week, we presented a survey to gauge how business owners feel about yellow page phone books in the digital age. Only 24% of our 3,500+ respondents said "Yes" to the question, "Are yellow page phone books still relevant?"

That's quite a find. Here are some others:

1) Most business owners don't think yellow page phone books are useful to them:

"Yellow page phone books are useful to me as a business owner."

Agree - 11%
Somewhat Agree - 17%
Somewhat Disagree - 19%
Disagree - 52%

2) Only about 10% of business owners use yellow page phone books more than once per month; 3 out of 4 don't use it at all:

How many times per month do you rely on a yellow page phone book to find a local business?

“Zero” - 75%
“Once” - 14%
“Between two and four times” - 8%
“Five or more times” - 3%

3) Very few business owners believe customers find them using a yellow page phone book.

Estimated percentage of customers who find me using a yellow page phone book.

0% - 43%
1-25% - 47%
26-50% - 5%
51-75% - 3%
76-99% - 1%
100% - 0.1%

The conclusion: Business owners have clearly observed the shrinking relevance of yellow page phone books. As we continue to move away from printed phone books, online and mobile directories will continue to grow as the customer's choice for local business information.

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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