Yellow Pages Decline May Be Raising Prospect Delivery

One of the hard and fast truths about print Yellow Pages advertising is that the ads at the front of the heading almost always generate more calls and leads compared with those further back. The current trend is for small-business advertisers to move some or all of their directional media budgets from print to online believing that this move will produce the same or greater results. Those advertisers that remain with the directory are realizing some surprising results as they move up in the heading due to less competition. 

A recent blog post on Results Tracking showed a chiropractic group that benefited in AT&T’s Lancaster and Palmdale directory when the page count at the heading went from six to three pages. The charts below depict the uptake in calls between the 2007 and 2008 editions (click image to enlarge):   

att-2007.jpg  2008 

From the blog:

As you will note, the 2008 AT&T directory is generating a 20% increase in results. Yellow pages are still heavily used by the older population. This market is the heaviest user of healthcare services. They are also the best insured (thanks to Medicare). This market also has large numbers of Empty Nesters with large disposable income. As more advertisers use emotions to guide their advertising choices they will continue to abandon yellow pages. The tactical marketer will use this window of opportunity to capture a larger share of the local leads generated by the yellow pages. 

The print product continues to deliver high-quality leads and may be more valuable at specific headings given the target audience, as noted by Results Tracking. The argument for online advertising is that it is less competitive on a local level, making it more attractive to SMBs. Some of the movement to online advertising may actually be creating the opposite effect, with print becoming less competitive and offering better lead generation.  Much like smart investors who look for opportunities counter to popular trends, smart marketers will seek out advertising opportunities that maximize their local exposure and deliver the volume and quality of leads that will grow their businesses.   

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