Yellow Pages Doesn’t Work | Why You Should Switch

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are the yellow pages dead?The yellow pages are dead. Just think: when was the last time you pulled out the yellow pages to look up a business or service? It probably wasn’t this year, maybe not even this decade. And you’re not alone. About 70% of the population “rarely or never” use phone books.  Local governments spend an estimated $63 million every year just disposing unused phone books. 3.5 million people even took the effort to opt-out of getting yellow pages with only 2% of people opting-in. The yellow pages are also fading fast. In the past 5 years, the book has shrunk by 75%. Many experts even predict that it will cease to even exist in the next 5 years.

Despite this, there are still businesses that invest in the yellow pages. These businesses need to switch. Below are just a few of the many reasons why the yellow pages do more harm than good.

Yellow pages are expensive.

The yellow pages used to have a monopoly over local marketing – so they were able to charge high rates for it. Now, even with their profits and usage plummeting, they still charge high. Their high rates aren’t worth it. Leads from print advertising and phone books convert at a rate of just 1.7%. There are much smarter ways to invest the thousands of dollars spent yearly.

Yellow pages are boring and unchangeable.

Once you publish in yellow pages, it is set in stone until the next issue. As a result, you can’t change your advertising message or post any business updates for 365 days. You only get one chance to make the right impression. Not only that, but you get a limited amount of content (usually just one small paragraph) to make an impact.

Yellow pages create excessive competition.

If your business is listed in the yellow pages, it is directly competing against dozens of competitors at a time. This is bad for any business. It basically makes everyone in your industry seem the same and like a commodity. When this happens, customers typically make decisions based on price alone. They can’t see why your products or services stand out above the rest of the pack.

Yellow pages online efforts fail.

In an attempt to stay alive during the digital revolution, yellow pages have begun online services. However, their online directory features are often more harmful than helpful. It forces potential visitors to go through the yellow pages’ site before reaching your site. 80% of consumers use the internet to make their search for information easier and convenient. The harder it is for them to reach you, the less likely they will complete the journey.

Do people use the yellow pages?

Yellow pages have limited reach.

Yellow pages reach can only go so far. There are no keywords. Listings are usually for only a single category. If you try to broaden your reach by getting into more directories, it gets even more expensive.  Not to mention, if you are only in the yellow pages, you will only get found by people searching the yellow pages. When people want to find a product or service, they do it online – not in the yellow pages. Trying to find a particular store or business can take several minutes in the yellow pages while looking it up online will take a few seconds. People are always on the go in this age, so they aren’t going to spend time flipping through the yellow pages when there are more appropriate methods that yield immediate results.

Yellow pages are ineffective.

Yellow pages are just not effective. Case and point. To prove this, Yelp conducted a survey of over 3,500 business owners and asked them to estimate the percentage of customers that found them using yellow pages. The conclusion of this survey found that 90% of the business owners using yellow page ads didn’t see an estimated drive of traffic over 25% of their consumer intake. 43% didn’t even see 1%. Advertising in phone books has no branding benefits. It is purely lead generation. If businesses aren’t getting ROI from yellow pages, yellow pages aren’t doing their job.

Are the yellow pages effective?


As the yellow pages are becoming increasingly less relevant, digital marketing is booming. Every month there are more than 13 billion internet searches, with 78% of U.S. internet users searching for products and services online. If you want to see the most out of your marketing efforts, switch SEO, social media, content, and all other facets of digital marketing.

If the downsides of yellow pages didn’t convince you to switch, maybe these benefits of digital marketing will.

Digital marketing saves money.

Digital marketing is more cost-effective than yellow pages in every way. Building an entire website can cost less than a small yellow pages ad.  Leads gained through digital marketing converts into sales at a rate about 10x higher than yellow pages. You get a greater return of investment in addition to more effective methods to track these returns.

Digital marketing is creative and adaptable.

You can change and update things online anytime. Weekly, daily, hourly – as soon and as often as you need to. You can have as much content to market your business as you want while keeping it current. You can also be utilizing numerous different types of visuals to make your marketing tactics appealing and keep the attention of your audience. Additionally, you can see the number of visitors to your site, peak trading times, conversion rates, and so much more at a touch of a button. This allows you to note what is working and optimize immediately. 

Digital marketing lets you stand out.

Digital marketing opens the door to keywords and content that allows your business to stand out. With a solid digital marketing strategy, your business can stand out and compete with competitors regardless of size or budget. In the online world, having a great website, SEO, content, and social media is what helps prove your worth to you customers. Also, the internet is filled with community-written reviews (i.e. Yelp and Google reviews) that enable your business to stand out due to customer experiences. In the digital world, not one business looks the same.

Digital marketing’s online efforts succeed.

If you want people to find your site, utilize the free online directory they already are using: Google. Compared to 11.8 million visiting yellow pages’ website, Google gets over 100 billion monthly searches. Search engines are where your customers are looking for you. Searchers are able to type in a quick query into their preferred search engine and have countless information in front of them immediately. It then only takes searchers a single click to get to your website, increasing the odds of turning them into a customer.

Digital marketing has a never-ending reach.

While very few people use the yellow pages, virtually everyone searches for products and services on Google and other search engines. When you market online effectively, you have a chance to reach anyone with internet access. It also connects you to the 91% of adults in the US who have their mobile devices close to them and within reach at all times. Additionally, instead of just being found by people in your area, you can reach internet users from all around the world.

Do people use cell phones or yellow pages?

Digital marketing is effective.

72% of consumers are already connecting with brands through various digital marketing channels and activities. Digital marketing increases conversion rates by 24%. Furthermore, employing a digital strategy can improve ROI by up to 300%. Digital marketing is what your business needs to open the doorway towards success, profit generation, and survival.


You don’t have to keep wasting time and money on the yellow pages. You can get better and cheaper results with digital marketing. Don’t stick with a dying medium. If you have any questions about how to make the switch from yellow pages to digital marketing, contact us! Connect with us online or call (561) 429-2585. We’re a West Palm Beach digital marketing agency that would love to help your business grow its internet presence!

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Christine is a multi-talented specialist at Digital Resource. Having a degree in history and communications from Rollins College, Christine brings a unique set of ideas into the world of marketing. Her past experiences of handling various social media, research, writing, editing, and promotional tasks prove that her skills are extremely valuable. Christine loves helping dream clients utilize the constantly growing digital frontier.

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