Your Business = Collateral Damage?

You’ve seen phone books littering the ground because so many are unwanted. Some of the first political action to make the Yellow Pages opt-in, and end this litter, has begun (Source, and why opt-in is the future).

The legislation was defeated, but the Mercury News article makes an interesting comment:

“And the Yellow Pages Association said it wasn’t so much their bottom lines at stake as those of the small businesses who need phone-book ads to reach customers.”

Could your business be collateral damage in the fight against Yellow Page distribution?

What’s Happening

Usage of the print Yellow Pages is declining. Even the Yellow Pages Association doesn’t really debate this anymore, although their surveys make it hard to discern by lumping print and Internet Yellow Pages together.

According the the survey, only 65% of consumers used either print or online Yellow Pages in a given month. With the online Yellow Pages receiving substantial traffic, it’s clear that a large portion of the books being distributed are going to waste. Eventually this distribution will stop, either for environmental reasons, or because it will not make economic sense.

Businesses Need Yellow Pages?

In the above Yellow Pages Association quote, the statement is made that businesses need phone book ads to reach customers. Really? Are consumers going to quit purchasing local services if they don’t have a phone book? That can’t be right.

Clearly people will continue to buy, even when they don’t use the Yellow Pages, but this doesn’t mean small businesses will be unaffected. Those that have been slowest to move their marketing online may experience a shock. It’s one more argument for investing in marketing your business online.

Getting Prepared

The odds are that things won’t change overnight, so you have some time to begin preparing. Here are some ideas to get ready:

It’s hard to say how fast things will change (and online pundits have prematurely been predicting the death of the Yellow Pages for years), but someday the print Yellow Pages will be gone. Your best bet is to start developing alternatives today.

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