5 Reasons NOT To Use Yell For Your Internet Marketing

5 Reasons NOT To Use Yell For Your Internet MarketingThe Yellow Pages was once a major part of any businesses marketing plan – it dominated the 80’s and 90’s. If you operated in a local area you wanted to be in your local book, and companies wanting nationwide exposure would spend hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to appear in every book in every area throughout the UK.

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The dawn of the internet changed everything though, and by the mid 2000’s the Yellow Pages books were getting smaller and smaller as advertisers pulled out to invest their marketing budgets online.

Despite creating Yell.com, and a website design and Adwords marketing department, the company continued to struggle and in 2011 the FT announced that Yell were in debt to the tune of £2.7 Billion.

As someone recently said to me;

‘If you want a copy of ‘Fly Fishing’ by J.R. Hartley these days, you’d go to Google, Amazon, or the iTunes store.’

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A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to meet with a Yell.com representative – a client of ours had a meeting scheduled and asked if I could come in on the meeting as their advisor to help them understand what Yell were offering. Yell.com had built their website, they had listings in their online directory plus some paid search advertising too – but they were concerned the Yell.com rep would use lots of technical jargon and spin, and they wanted someone they trusted to help them make sense of it. In effect I was acting as an interpreter.

During the meeting I discovered exactly why you should never invest heavily in Yell.com if you are serious about your online marketing. Here’s why:

1) You Are Just A ‘Number’

The Yell Group have recently renamed themselves  ‘Hibu’ Group, and are using the Yell as a brand name only. Your account manager will be a salesperson who gets in touch once a year to renew your contract rather than a marketer who works with you regularly to improve results. Your website will be designed with a template as will your copy, produced by a team of ‘battery’ website designers trying to produce as many websites in as short a time as possible.

2) You Just Rent Your Website From Yell, You Don’t Own It

When you get a Yell website, you don’t own the website and you don’t own the domain name. This means if you want a better website or you want to change providers, you have to start all over again – you need a new domain name for your emails, your letterheads, signage and advertising. You are also starting all over again with Google, building their trust as a new website which will take time.

3) You Can’t Make Changes

Google loves fresh content, and websites that regularly add good quality content will rank much higher than static sites. With a Yell website you can’t make any changes yourself – you can request the changes by email or by phone but in our experience with Yell sites these changes are either late or not made at all.

4) You Can’t Monitor The Results

I asked why Yell couldn’t install Google analytics on one of their websites. The answer suggested that it wasn’t a case of ‘couldn’t’, but ‘wouldn’t’. Yell instead want you to use their own statistics program, which our client wasn’t made aware of, and had to access with login details they had not been given. When we logged in, it was clear that it was extremely basic and had no information about individual page performance or website referrals (I wonder if they are concerned about clients seeing just how many click-throughs they get from Yell.com?).

5) Wasted Budget

The nature of both the Yell.com website and the Paid search ads they place for you mean you are likely to pay to advertise for products and services you don’t provide, in areas that you don’t cover. For example, their paid search ads are done by placing keywords into broad ‘buckets’, which are just not specific or targeted enough. As a result I have seen Stoke-based dry cleaners appearing in Google ads for ‘dry cleaners Nottingham’ (who’s going to travel that far to clean their suit?), and high-end kitchen designers coming up for ‘painters and decorators’. During the meeting we asked for our client to be taken out of several ‘categories’ that weren’t relevant to them, which they would have otherwise continued to pay for.

You may have a relationship with Yell which goes back for years and years - they may be a name you’ve always trusted, but that doesn’t mean you owe them anything, and it certainly doesn’t mean you are getting the best result for your business.

So if you want to get found in your local area online, use an independent digital marketing agency that will give you the support and attention you need to drive your business forward, not the dying beast that is Yell.

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