Will the end of Yellow Pages force small businesses online?

Yell, owner of the iconic Yellow Pages directory, has announced that it will distribute the final edition of the publication in 2019.

The Yellow Pages has been in publication since 1966. But with Yell saying that it will distribute the final copies of the directory in 2019, UK businesses might find themselves needing to rely on online marketing more to reach customers.

The Business Pages of the publication help put the UK public in touch with local businesses, including tradesmen and service providers. But with the rise of online search engines, people have become less likely to rely on a printed directory. Yell launched its own online search engine for businesses in 1996, which is now yell.com.

Yell will distribute the final editions of the publication in January 2019 in Brighton, where it was first published. It hopes that the final editions, with a run of 23 million copies, will become a souvenir.

Connecting businesses with their customers

The UK public may fondly remember the Yellow Pages thanks to a run of TV adverts that began in the 1980s. Yell drafted James Nesbitt in for more recent campaigns.

The public can use the Yellow Pages as a tool to find local businesses quickly and easily. But as most businesses now have an online presence, Yell believes that the publication will cease to be profitable in a few years’ time.

Free listings for small businesses

Yell says that over 130,000 businesses advertise on yell.com. It wants to help 1 million small businesses get online by 2020 and is offering them a free listing on its yell.com online directory. Richard Hanscott, CEO of Yell, said: “we’re well placed to continue to help local businesses and consumers be successful online, both now and in the future.”

Yell says that it can provide the full range of digital media and managed services, including building websites and social media marketing.

Our brand campaign locksmith, Paul Tribouillard of Surelock Homes, recognised that with the upcoming demise of the Yellow Pages, developing an effective online strategy will be important for businesses.

Five tips for your online marketing

Moving your marketing and advertising activity online can be a daunting task. We’ve put together five tips to help you get started:

  • Make best use of all the specialist resources available. For example, our guide to Google My Business, is a great place to start if you’re looking to to start connecting with your customers online.
  • Look to your competition. What can you take from them as inspiration and how can you do it better?
  • Experiment with PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. You can find out more about Google AdWords and PPC with our guide.
  • Experiment with social media. Facebook now makes it easy for users to recommend local businesses and services.
  • Maintaining a blog can prove a great way to demonstrate your expertise and build an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy.

Will the demise of the Yellow Pages affect your business? Let us know in the comments below.

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