Last night we were watching a little TV and a commercial came on I couldn’t help but notice.

It was for a major yellow pages business. They were advertising their services, stating they could help a variety of buisnesses in many manners. They could provide you with a host of advertising methods, including the hard copy phone book and online resources. What really caught my eye was the industries they were targeting: weddings. They were speaking directly to people within the wedding industry, venues, planners, photographers, etc, stating they could help you reach out to your potential customers and give you top results with the people who are looking for you.

Really?

I’m sure a ton of people buy into this. I know they do; I meet them all the time.

Yet if you take the time to think about it, you can quickly see why this is a complete waste of money and time.

Lets start with a target market. If you are targeting weddings, predominately you are targeting people 20-ish to 40-ish. 20 somethings grew up with computers and utilize technology every day. Even 40 somethings have spent most of their adult lives using technology and probably have a good understanding of how to capture information.

I seriously doubt if most of this audience has a phone book in their homes. And I also doubt if they head online, and go to the yellow pages directory to find what they are looking for. They Google what they want and rely on natural search results.

Which brings me to my next point. The yellow pages company offers online services in the form of pay per clicks. They will offer you a great package deal in which you get a listing in the phone book, a custom site they control, and lots of traffic they buy using pay per click technology. If you pay, you get the traffic. If you don’t, its gone immediately. And even if you do pay, its in the form of sponsored ads – yep, those great little ads you see on the side of your search results. Do people click on them? Yes. But in a lot less frequency then they do a great position on the natural placement.

So are you better off spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on advertising with old, traditional methods that don’t have much weight in your target community?

Or are you better off spending time learning how to capture natural placement, spending a small amount of money increasing your understanding of online marketing?

Before you jump into any type of advertising, think first. Make sure your clientele uses whatever you are thinking about investing in. Make sure they rely on it as a resource. If you’re not sure, ask.

Then make a smart, informed decision. Go to where your audience is. Never expect them to come to you.

The more you give them what they want, the more business you will attract.

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