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From The Yellow Pages To Digital Marketing, The Rise of Local SEO

May 29, 2019

The Evolution of Business Discovery.

Most people are familiar with the name “Yellow Pages,” or at least the concept of a phonebook. You might even remember the phonebook as once being that essential resource for finding that number to a local restaurant to make a dinner reservation, or for a local mechanic to take your car to for a tune-up. Before the internet revolution, the Yellow Pages was king, and you could find these in homes all across the United States. The sheer size and heft of a phonebook said something about all it had to offer, and how important it was. Now, at this point, you might be scratching your head as to why we’re talking about phonebooks in 2019? There might be some readers here who have never even held a phonebook, better yet used one. Moreover, for those who have used them before, it’s probably safe to assume it’s been quite a while since you’ve turned a page in one of those books. Because let’s face it, why bother to sift your way through a book, page after page,looking for someplace to have dinner, when you can pull out your phone in an instantand ask it for “restaurants near me.”

The Cost Of Advertising In The Yellow Pages

It doesn’t take reading an article about phonebooks to tell you we’ve come a long way in our search habits. You very likely do most, if not all your local business searches online.

Just as Google has become synonymous with online searches, the Yellow Pages had the same status among phonebooks. This leading status meant that the Yellow Pages was a prime marketing platform for gaining exposure. This, however, also resulted in the Yellow Pages commanding premium prices for the privilege of advertising with them. When compared to modern digital marketing methods, these advertising prices were costly.

As a directory, businesses did receive a free basic listing with their company name and phone number. However, after that, everything costs extra. Want your name in bold? That would cost $20 a month ($62 in 2019). How about a 1/2″ tall ad with some sales words? That would cost $200 a month ($613 in 2019). Moreover, if you wanted a full-page ad, with artwork, that could cost as much as $20,000 a month or more ($61,353. in 2019), and in the case of some accounts, even as high as $100,000 a month ($306,766 in 2019).

Moreover, while you would sign a 12-month contract for advertising, there was a provision that if the phone book life lasted greater than 12 months, you would pay for the extra months. A 14-month real-life phone book was pretty typical.


Advertising Then and Now: How Modern Digital Marketing Compares

Between the high cost of advertising and the demanding contracts that entailed, advertising in the Yellow Pages was reserved only for those privileged enough to afford it. In contrast, let’s look at how that stacks against modern digital marketing. Not only do modern digital marketing methods cost less than traditional print advertising, but it’s also more focused. A focused approach to marketing not only can save cost, but also increase results.

Consider that a business can access professional local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services starting for around $700 a month. Instead of viewers having to sift through pages of listings, your business comes up as a specific response to a particular search engine inquiry; resulting in your business being most relevant to those discovering your business. Next, consider Pay Per Click (PPC), this method allows advertising to appear based on chosen keywords and terms that are most relevant to your business. When audiences engage with your ad and click through, then you are charged for that action. The result of this being advertising costs that are directly associated with audience actions.  Costs do vary, depending on your industry and region. The more costly ads can average around $50 a click across major search engines. The average small business spends between $9,000 to $10,000 a month for Pay Per Click advertising (according to WordStream.com). However, given you can specify your ad budget on a month-to-month basis, this means you have a saying in the amount you spend.

These characteristics not only mean you can save money on your advertising, but also that you can customize your marketing around your budget.Getting Found in Your Local Market Today

With this consolidation of advertising efforts being directed towards digital marketing, it’s crucial that you take part. Your potential customer base may live just around the corner from your business, but if you don’t have a visible digital presence, those people may never know you exist. Also, with the prevalence of digital marketing, it’s likely your competition is already active online through a search engine and social media marketing. It’s never too late to start ramping up your digital marketing. Even if you’re generating a customer base through other means, or even specifically through advertising in the Yellow pages, you still need to keep a mind towards expansion. If anything, investing time and resources into your digital marketing now, before it is absolutely necessary, is a prudent strategy.

To put this into perspective, here are some interesting statistics:

  • 97% of consumers have used the Internet to find a local business Source: BIA/Kesley
  • 54% of Americans have replaced phonebook searches with internet searches Source: comScore
  • The number 1 reason for doing an online search is to find the location of a known local business Source: comScore

As you can see, there’s real substance to our assumption about local searches. The emergence of buying power among younger generations and the adaptation of older generations to go all-digital will increasingly slant these numbers in favor of online searches. For consumers, it’s great and an easy transition. However, for business operators, it does require having a strategy in place for capturing this potential.

As the scales continue to tip towards favoring digital marketing, establish a plan to start increasing your activity online. For any business, the return on investment is key when it comes to evaluating effective marketing. Moreover, though digital marketing will likely require some upfront investment, the advantage is that you can easily track ROI through the various platforms and tools commonly used. Whether it’s social media or search engine click through, digital platforms allow you to see where you’re pulling leads from. This is a considerable improvement over print advertising, which has a dubious ROI that’s hard to track.


Making the Transition

If you’re currently advertising in the Yellow Pages, or other publications, evaluate your investment, consider these digital advertising parallels:

  • Search Engine Marketing or SEM is comparable to your print advertising. Through tools such as Google Ad Words, you can increase exposure by being featured in association with certain search terms.
  • Search Engine Optimization or SEO can build relevance for your site in more searches. A strong website forms the foundation of your online presence, and as such, SEO will help establish stronger links between search engine inquiries and the content on your site.
  • Social Media Marketing or SMM, is of great emphasis in the digital marketing world. Due to the sheer volume of users on these platforms, there’s great potential for exposure. The reason for social media’s effectiveness is because of the “organic growth” factor; people can interact with your brand, share posts with friends, or mention your business in posts and comments, directly linking broader audiences to your social media accounts.Moreover, with the integration of advertising tools available on social media platforms, you can craft paid advertising campaigns that can increase your reach to outside audiences, modeled around target audiences.


If you’re operating a business that’s had the experience of advertising in the Yellow Pages, you’ll see that digital marketing isn’t an exact parallel. Having ads published is a linear process, from ad design to publication. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is a dynamic and often bilateral; involving dynamic changes in ad costs and requiring interactions with customers through comments and reviews. This is where managing the digital marketing component is crucial. Whether it’s assigning appropriate search terms to bid on through Google as words, or updating your social media presence, there are many moving parts to a comprehensive digital marketing plan.


Auxilium Technology, Your Digital Marketing Experts.

At Auxilium, we help businesses develop a successful strategy for tackling the digital marketing landscape. We position your company to dominate your market segment through search term analytics and performance tracking that allows us to achieve measurable results.

We accomplish this through:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Local SEO
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Proper website maintenance

As you can see, the tasks of proper digital marketing go well beyond publishing an ad. Your visibility requires not just being conveniently placed in view for others to see, but to get found by actively targeting your audience.


About Auxilium.

Auxilium Technology delivers comprehensive internet marketing solutions designed around your company’s needs. Backed by specialized expertise, Auxilium brings high-quality services and support to all its clients. From web development to managing your online presence, this commitment to client satisfaction covers everything your business needs to thrive on the internet.

Competition is fierce, and your online performance can mean the difference between success and failure for you and your business. That’s why Auxilium Technology gives you peace of mind through award-winning products and services that tackle the various needs of clients across industries. Contact Auxilium today for your free consultation to learn more about the potential that awaits your business.


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