What should I spend on Yellow Pages vs Search Engine Marketing

  October 8, 2006   Category :     SE Internet Marketing | SE Online Marketing   Philip O'Hara

Having studied yellow pages advertising and the business of yellow pages advertising, I feel I am witnessing the dying of a industry. Yellow Pages advertising was responsible for so many businesses in the early 80’s growing like they did. Most people who bought yellow pages from Southwestern Bell, which was my phone company in the 80’s. I have lived in Houston, Texas since then. I think a guy named David Laird was the District or Houston GM.

I sold a service to the advertisers in phone company directories from 1981 until about 2000. The only real business knowledge I possessed was the knowledge of the phone company’s billing systems the sales people use when selling yellow pages. My customer (the yellow pages buyer) counted on me to know how they could save money in yellow pages advertising. When I first started this consulting, I charged my customer a fee based on 50% of what they saved in yellow pages advertsing. It was a project-based bill and there was not any repeat business unless the customer changed the ads I recommended the year of the consulting. I received many fees for several thousands of dollars but never really showed a profit for many years. In about 1990, I changed the way I was billing people and I would charge the price of a bold listing in the yellow pages for consulting. I had a repeat business so to speak with a fee of 25 to 50 dollars a month per directory I consulted on. Shortly after the browser was introduced, I began to learn from my yellow pages customers that they were getting leads off of these web pages they created on search engines like Altavista, Yahoo, and Excite. I decided it was time to transform my agency to a internet marketing agency from a yellow pages advertising agency. It was the best move I have ever made.

Learning how to get web pages to appear at the top of these search portals soon started developing leads for my customers and the rest is history. We now help hundreds of customers to appear at the top of the search results and we have made many customers millions of dollars. Most of these customers are yellow pages advertisers who made millions of dollars from the leads they got from their yellow pages advertising. If you advertise in the ATT yellow pages and you are not advertising with Yahoo, Google and MSN, you are missing something really special.

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