Idiot’s Guide to Internet Marketing

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Written by Digital Surgeons,
• 5 min read

Today’s World of Internet Marketing Makes the Yellow Pages Obsolete

Who Still Uses the Yellow Pages for Information?

  The Kelsey Group, an advertising research firm, reported that in 2008 alone the drop in print yellow page usage was 10 percent from the previous year. The YPA (Yellow Pages Association) reported a drop along the lines of 7.6 percent over the year 2004 in print book references. But those numbers seem a lot bigger when you put yourself and your colleagues into perspective. When was the last time you used the yellow pages to find a business or service? In fact, do you even own a copy of the yellow pages? Maybe one is lying around somewhere, taking up space or being used as a door stop like the one we have at Digital Surgeons.

  It’s not that I have anything personal against the yellow pages, but working in the marketing field here, I know that they are not only very expensive to utilize but I also know that they don’t work. It is ironic that companies pay so much to have their ads in the yellow pages when so many people in day-to-day life use them as props and support for old tables and chairs. Many people are annoyed by the fact that they mandatorily receive them in their front yard or driveway, because they consider it to be extra trash to get rid of or a waste of the planet’s trees.

When the Yellow Pages Were Relevant

  If we go back in time a little bit, we remember that the yellow pages were a small business’ major marketing effort – about 10 years ago. Their carefully groomed sales reps always advised ‘the bigger the size of the ad, the more you stand out in the phone book and that means calls.’ Of course bigger ad space meant more money, but it was also necessary at the time because competition meant 5 or 6 companies advertising the same product or service all on the same page, along with the regular telephone listings.

Why the Yellow Pages Can’t Compete with Internet Marketing

  There are many reasons why the yellow pages have no fighting chance of sticking around in today’s world. Firstly, they are made out of paper! In a society that is all about reducing the use of resources like paper, it is strange that they would continue to print so many of them. The stack of six thick books holding the door was dropped off at a building with 2 offices. (I think one was picked up by a passerby.) This is not an eco-responsible practice in this day and age.

  Also, handling a thick, bulky book of fine print makes it a daunting task to attempt to search through, on the fly – especially now when most things are small, portable, and automated. Info and communications are immediate and the average consumer is not accustomed to waiting or working for these now basic needs of daily life. It’s called The Internet and with just a click the world is at your fingertips! This is why internet marketing is so successful; it is easy, effective and relevant for businesses today. Search engine marketing targets the internet audience and does many things that the yellow pages can never do. For starters, internet marketing makes it possible for you to search more than just one narrow category of services and products. Let’s say for example, you own a landscape business but in the winter you offer snow plowing services. Traditional yellow pages will have you listed twice, once under the “L” for landscaping business and another for “P” for plowing services. This means you are paying twice for services that you only offer certain times a year.

  Using internet search engine marketing, advertisements can be changed and tailored to the seasons and heights of popularity. Changing the search terms from ‘landscaping’ to ‘plowing’ helps optimize when people search. The number of clicks that ad will receive will increase because it is always relevant and does not cause the business to pay for two separate advertisements.

How Internet Marketing Works Better Than the Yellow Pages

  One of the most common methods of targeted Internet marketing offers ‘pay per click’ advertising, which means you only pay for ads when they are ‘clicked’ on by the viewer. This not only saves lots of money, it also helps target your market based on search patterns. When the business knows what the consumer wants, it is easier for the business to give it to them. The results of your marketing efforts and campaigns can be measured immediately using Google Analytics or another web metrics program. Such precise measurement cannot be achieved through the yellow pages, billboard advertising or virtually any print media.

Our team has seen the results that a wide variety of businesses achieve from using online advertising. Switching over to internet marketing will save money, increase customer size and guarantee your ads are not someone’s unwanted trash. Whether we like change or not, it is the one constant we can count on-the world is fast becoming a paperless, instant-access place and that’s the zone where you’ll find your ideal customer.

  Be on the look out for the next installment of an Idiot’s Guide to Internet Marketing for more commonsense talk about the digital marketplace, and visit for more information about custom internet marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, and ecommerce and promotional website design.