Yellow Pages ads abandoned by tradesmen as they go online to reach customers

Yellow Pages ads were once the mainstay of advertising for local tradesmen, however tradesmen are moving their advertising spend online, with new research showing consumers increasingly switching to the internet to locate local tradesmen, rather than the Yellow Pages.

Yellow PagesIn October alone in Australia there were 368,000 searches on Google for builders, 90,500 searches for electricians and 60,500 searches for plumbers.

Paul Sprokkreeff, Managing Director at online marketing agency Web Profits, says the trades industry is becoming smarter and more skilled at using the internet to carve out their own niche markets.

“The trade industry is a highly competitive market in Australia.  Whether they are a builder, electrician or a plumber, driving a competitive advantage is the key to maintaining and growing market share.”

“The online world effectively places all tradesmen in an order which is determined by their rankings.  The higher the ranking, predominately on Google, the better the exposure to new business opportunities,” Mr Sprokkreeff said.

Fencing contractor Amazing Fencing is one company who has reaped the benefits of being online. After just four months of switching to an online marketing strategy, they increased their website traffic and conversion rate by 1,400%. This increase in business has resulted in the company needing to hire more staff to cope with the extra leads.

Company owner Kim Allinson said having a good website and being listed on the first page of Google was crucial for the survival of his business.

“Our feeling was if we didn’t master the web then quite possibly within 5 to 10 years we wouldn’t have a business.”

He says for the past 20 years they predominantly used Yellow Pages as it was the most successful and most cost efficient form of advertising. But experience shows that the internet is more effective.

  • Damian Glass

    Hey David. Your article demonstrates why the Yellow Pages network offers so much more – our customers’ Yellow Pages advertising puts them in print, as well as mobile, voice and online, including making their ad available across all of the major search engines. Being a part of digital media offers businesses enormous benefits, traffic across the entire Yellow Pages digital network now exceeds seven million visits a month. More than ever, the Yellow Pages has the capacity to take information about your business and put it in more places that people are looking.

  • John Durndell

    David the article that you have written is spot on. The printed Yellow Pages has declined quite steadily over recent years and Sensis is unable to address the situation. The reality is that the majority of the market are now digital consumers and will use digital platforms to find businesses.
    Business owners are also requesting the ability to monitor their advertising and thus calculate a full ROI on their investment.

  • ‘Let Your Figures Do The Talking’

    Hi David;

    Good article mate.

    Damian – while Sensis is quick to point out that they offer visibility across more places where consumers are looking – what they are really talking about is putting them across more places that Sensis can ‘sell them into’ and not necessarily where people are looking.

    Since we can both agree that Google dominates the search space in Australia – 98% of the seven million visits the yellow digital network acquire most likely come through Google and not directly from Sensis based products. Google analytics on a site will prove that – allow me to give you a real life example…

    I have a client who monitors his advertising very closely. He was paying $90,000 per year in YP print products and $10,000 in digital products for a total of $100,000 annually. YP digital shows up on his analytics report as a referring site.

    We recently moved 30% of his annual spend into an SEM campaign and we also show up as a referring site.

    His $100K Yellow spend was responsible for 1.76% of his overall enquiry while his $30K SEM campaign was referring 81% of the clients total enquiry directly from the major search engines – but predominantly from Google. The remainder of his enquiry was organic results – again on Google.

    He receives about 1765% ROI on his $30K spend while he is lucky to receive between 10% – 30% ROI from his $70K he spends with Yellow.

    I suppose the broader picture is that Sensis are trying to figure out how their shrinking $3Billion dollars worth of print revenue is going to fit into $20Million dollars worth of digital revenue and still come out with glossy figures for the shareholders.

    In an effort to replenish share values Sensis is trying to pitch their digital products as an all encompassing solution to SME’s – when in reality they are simply selling more products within the Sensis networks…it’s a bit of smoke and mirrors when you get granular with it.

  • Matt Dillon

    Good article David and reinforces what my clients have been experiencing over the last 12 months. Digital marketing has generally delivered twice the response for half the cost of traditional methods. The only thing I’d like to pick you up on is your statement of increasing traffic and conversions by 1400%, you can increase traffic by 1400% but you can’t physically convert higher than 100%.

  • Nice comeback Damien but unfortunately YP’s total monthly traffic is less than a “slow” day on Google au. Bottom line for small business is that your website has to rank on Google for the products or services you supply. I wouldn’t mind knowing YP’s adword budget either, somewhere in the region of a small country’s GDP I suspect.
    PS. Great article David

  • Yep agree with all there – Damian if you can get your site appearing on page 1 of Google compared to yp digital I know what will get more clicks.

    Unfortunately YP and other directory sites just create extra steps for the end user and if you can place your site bang smack in front of them, then you are going to win every time.

    And the ROI on SEM over YP well, I could go on but we all know how much YP ads are, I have saved my clients small fortunes over the last 6-12 months by encouraging them to reduce ad sizes in yp with a better written ad and put funds into where the market place is.


  • Anon

    I did some consulting work at Sensis in the last few years and morale among their sales staff is low. Continually having customers telling you that your products are no longer any value to them will do that.

  • Billy

    Yellow pages rip people of. I paid good money and they failed to place my ads.Apparently there was a problem in there printing department. Then they sent me bullshit paperwork saying they were not liable. I figure I lost out on a lot of money that year,thanks to the scum that work there. Big companies walk all over the little guy. Fuck them go online.