Re-evaluate Phone Directories

I haven’t opened a phone book in over ten years and I am not the only one. At one time for small businesses, if you weren’t in the yellow pages, nobody knew you were in business, unless of course they walked by your office or storefront.

For decades, business owners have spent a lot of money to be included in the phone directories as a main avenue of advertising their services. What used to be the bare minimum advertising effort for local businesses, is now in great decline. This is not breaking news to anyone who has been in business for the past decade.

Sally Witzky at Traction Group (Chesterfield Virginia) explains quite well, 3 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Should Re-Evaluate Phone Directory Advertising.

A few things to consider:


  • Fewer People Use  Phone Directories. For advertising to be effective, businesses have to be where people are spending their time.  And very few people are spending much time with their phone book!
  • Build relationships. At this point it may sound cliche, but there are people looking for your business and products or services every single day . People will refer others to you if you remind them and keep top-of mind.  It’s not all about selling.  It’s about connecting and engaging with your target audience.
  • Consider Better Options for Your Advertising Dollars. Many business owners don’t realize that they have very little control over what phone directories are doing on their behalf.  Once the stopped paying, there is no online history of the PPC advertising.  Typically none of the web traffic actually goes to the business’ site.

Phone directories have realized the turn of the tides, and have developed an extensive offering of online listings and services. Phone directories tout fantastic statistics about page views, click-throughs, etc. But nearly every offering is a strategic attempt to insert themselves between you and your potential new business leads in an attempt to make you dependent on them for new business.

To this end, most phone directories use the “nofollow” link attribute for listed sites. This means they are not passing in-bound link value on to your site, or helping your websites organic search effort in any way. Another attempt phone directories or other directories have been known to use, is offer to build you a web page or website  to which they will drive traffic to, instead of your own existing website. By numerous accounts from small business all across the internet, phone directories fail to deliver anywhere near an acceptable ROI.

Need more help?

If you’re a small business owner and would like a free evaluation of your online marketing efforts and in how you can get more traction from your overall marketing expenditure, then give us a call at  (877) 739-2820

About Joe Schwab

Joe’s early passion for art and music led him to study fine art at the Laguna College of Art & Design. With this background in art and design, he pursued work as a graphic designer. While working with website hosting companies and marketing firms in southern california, he gained invaluable technical knowledge and experience that would shape his career. Working within the challenging limitations of the early days of the web, Joe leveraged his problem solving skills to become the rare web developer who could bridge the gap between the disciplines of design and programming.