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What's in the know


Yellow Book In Business No More

Boon Yang - Tuesday, July 03, 2012


The Yellow Book: In Business No More
The yellow book not working so well these days? A simple guide to get those enquiries back!

The Yellow Book Era

Ah, the good old days of the Yellow Book. When we begin to think about how to advertise our business, the first thing that still pops into most of our minds is to open up the yellow pages. Here we were once able to find a comprehensive list of our competitors, and obtain a good idea of how a certain market was doing -- was there already a dog groomer in town? How about a travel agency? The answers to such questions were all easily accessible by flipping through the free publication known as the yellow book. Once we acquired our information, bringing business to our doors was just a quick call to the editor away. The yellow book was simple, convenient, and something that we had all grown up knowing.

Enter the Internet…

In 1990, Tim Berners announced his intent to create a network of online pages of text that would be available to anyone around the world with an Internet connection. No one could have predicted that this idea, which Berners called the World Wide Web (think about what you’re typing next time you go to www.google.com), would take off with such force and become as incredibly popular as it is today.  As of 2011, over two billion people worldwide had Internet access – a number that any local yellow book could never aspire to.

Where Have Your Business Enquiries Gone?

It’s true that as a business owner, you are hardly thinking about advertising to all two billion Internet users. That being said, the fact that a business can potentially reach out to this many clients over the Internet is one that cannot be ignored. In a day of increased travel and globalization, people can access your business information from virtually anywhere in the world. At the same time, they can access any other business in the same market and easily find the one that best suits their needs. They can view the prices of a similar business in Sydney (assuming you are located in Brisbane) and determine how your business compares.

On the Internet, clients can learn much more about each business and the services that they offer than a simple name, address, and telephone number. People like to know who they are giving their money to, and exactly what they are receiving for their buck. These facts have led to the ultimate decline of the yellow book, which only offers basic information about a limited number of businesses. If, therefore, your advertising techniques primarily revolve around the yellow book, then it is only natural that you have received fewer inquiries than businesses who reach out to potential clientele through the Internet.

Getting Your Clients Back

It is most likely clear by now that in order to compete with other businesses, it is an absolute necessity to have a strong Internet presence. Believe it or not, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Even if you are horrible with computers, and would prefer to write something out than type it any day, it is easy to get your business online. The most efficient way to do this is to create a website for your business.

Unless you are advertising computer-related services, your website doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple Google search for “web design” brings up hundreds of individuals and companies that can quickly and efficiently build your company a professional website. Another alternative is to use a website builder, which is essentially a design wizard that allows you to create a website by yourself (search for “website builder” on Google).

An additional way to build your presence online is to advertise your services on other websites. The best place to start with this is also probably the biggest: that’s right, we’re talking about Google! When you perform a search on Google.com, you may have noticed search results on the top and to the right of the page. These are essentially ads, meaning that people have paid Google to make sure that their websites show up when someone searches for a certain keyword (keyword examples: hairdresser in Miami, Chicago Laundromat, etc). To get your business to show up first as well, visit adwords.google.com.

The decline of the yellow book is not a temporary phenomenon; according to the Wall Street Journal, advertising in traditional print directories is expected to continue to drop a whopping 39% in the next few years. Internet advertising may sound scary, but in truth it’s extraordinarily easy. Do what’s best for your business and jump off the sinking ship before it’s too late.