Is Local Search Killing the Phone Book?

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Is Local Search Killing the Phone Book?While phone books aren't exactly a thing of the past just yet, they will be soon enough. This event has me thinking about the Yellowbook and the services they provide. At some point, businesses will begin to realize that advertising in the Yellowbook is no longer driving leads to their businesses, at least not the way it used to.

Is Local Search Killing the Phone Book?
Me: I'm hungry, let's order a pizza.

Mom: Sure, from Casey's?

Me: Ummm... yeah. Taco, or sausage and mushroom?

Mom: Taco.

Me: Sounds good. What's their number?

Mom: I'm not sure... look in the phone book.

Me: What's a phone book?

And that's about when I received a smack across the shoulder for being what my mom calls, a "smartass". I love to give my mom shit. My forte seems to be asking what something is when the "it" is something old or outdated. In this case, it was a phone book. Other times, it has been a CD, VCR, answering machine, etc.

Obviously the gag is that I am trying to make her feel old. I know what a phone book is, as well as a CD, VCR, and answering machine. However, by suggesting that these items are outdated, which they are, I am then implying that she is outdated, which she is. Sorry mom. No one I know uses a phone book anymore. This is fact.

It's true, I do not own a phone book. I do receive one every year. I'll usually find it sitting there at the end of my driveway, but then it gets recycled. It's also true that those that are closest to me, also do not own phone books. Instead, we rely on technology and the Internet. Personally, my go to application for when I need a phone number is the Google Maps app on my phone. I find this solution to be the best for me as it is fast, easy-to-use, and accessible wherever I am.

A Takeaway From This

While phone books aren't exactly a thing of the past just yet, they will be soon enough. This event has me thinking about the Yellowbook and the services they provide. At some point, businesses will begin to realize that advertising in the Yellowbook is no longer driving leads to their businesses, at least not the way it used to. Instead companies will have to invest in online advertising, most likely local search advertising via Google.

Furthermore, image just how much of an advantage those companies have currently just because they've taken their advertising online. I'd bet their online competition is slim compared to what it will be in just a short time. It's clear that if your small business isn't yet taking advantage of many local search marketing channels that are available online, you need to start. The time is now. It won't be long before everyone is, and then what advantage will have then.

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4 Comments:

  1. Don't be so sure that phone books will disappear quickly.

    True, I am in the directory advertising business, but I'm internet savvy as well. While many consumers are using pc's and mobile devices for local search, many small and medium sized businesses still claim their best quality customers find them in printed directories.

    My company offers on-line advertising as well as SEM advertising with Google and Yahoo. Many of our customers are using these services now. But I'm amazed at how many businesses, even in high tech areas like Washington DC, New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, still rely on print Yellow Pages for a majority of their business.
    By Anonymous Anonymous on January 17, 2009
  2. The fact that the Yellow pages has been banned from some US states is a sign of things to come. I coach many small business clients and they have seen a significant decrease in the results they achieve from directory advertising (Yellow Pages) etc.

    Another factor is the 'green' argument. The 'cost to the environment' of producing and delivering the Yellow Pages and other telephone directories goes against the 'be green' image that companies are adopting today.

    The phone book will become obsolete, when is anyone's prediction. I know I won't miss it!
    By Anonymous Karl Foxley on February 25, 2009
  3. My 5 year old has outgrown her booster chair at the dinner table, but the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area Yellow Pages is PERFECT!
    By Blogger Peter Roebuck on February 26, 2009
  4. If I can't find a website for your company than I'm not going to use your service.

    It's ironic that if you get a land line at home you have to pay an extra fee NOT to have your info published in the yellow pages.
    By Blogger Kells on March 26, 2009

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