Mar 10, 2007

Online vs. Phone Book

I walked outside yesterday to find a big ol' phonebook in my driveway. "This is the year I'll find out how to make sure we don't get one!" I told myself for about the 8th year in a row.

I looked up and down the street to see shiny plastic bags holding yellowed-paged books as far as the eye could see. It's a sight you won't be able to see in the future. I don't know how far into the future, but the printed phonebooks are going to die.

I have a Legal / Accounting client in Atlanta who had been spending over $8K per month advertising in the Bell South Yellow Pages. $96,000 per year-- for years! This was his major marketing/advertising channel, and the yellow pages brought a fine return on investment year after year. His office grew and prospered in Midtown Atlanta.

Then, in 2005, he saw a drastic decline in business. He could not figure out why. I suggested that perhaps it was because people were getting away from using the yellow pages. After all, if you're online, you've simply become accustomed to getting the information you want, immediately, often with photos, full product/service information, and even video demonstrations. Why go pick up a huge phone book, page through to your appropriate category, and then browse all the options that only give you contact information and a few service descriptions at best?

This client now spends about $1K per month in Google, Yahoo and MSN, and is having the most prosperous year in his company's history. He did not renew his contract with Bell South. For about a thousand dollars, he paid me to set up an online pay-per-click (PPC) campaign that is giving him a $15K+ per month increase in his bottom line. Not bad.

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