Do The Yellow Pages Still Work For Canberra Small Business?

There’s no doubt about it- the sands are shifting!

Did you notice the difference between the 2009 Canberra Yellow Pages and 2010 when it was delivered a few weeks back? The latter was thinner- by about 1cm! What’s going on with that?

Are businesses in Canberra realising that they are not getting the same value for money in terms of advertising in the Yellow Pages? Is it just too expensive for the number of new clients the ads are attracting? Or are people not looking in the good ol’ Yellow Pages any more?

If they aren’t using the Yellow Pages, why not? Surely there’s nothing easier than letting your fingers do the walking? Well, that depends…

For some of us, using the internet is far more convenient to search for businesses than the YP. Golly, our Yellow Pages used to go walking all the time when we used it- meaning that it would be left somewhere in the house (almost never in its designated spot) leading to panicked searches at important moments.

Then we started searching the internet for local businesses. SO much easier! At least for us: despite being a Baby Boomer and a Gen-Xer, we do have our computers (all three of them) on ALL THE TIME thank you very much, you young ones! We know where the PC and the Mac are at any given moment (the notebook is a little harder to track down sometimes- it hides more easily!) So now, when the Yellow Pages is delivered each year it remains in its designated spot, practically untouched for a full twelve months. I get it out from time to time to browse ads, to see which businesses understand marketing, and which don’t. The Yellow Pages has become entertainment in our home, rather than the vital tool it used to be…

Usurped by technology…

Now of course there are many households that still use the YP frequently. My parents (born in the 40s) would never dream of doing a search online when the good old Yellow Pages are so much more convenient-! To do a web search, they would have to traipse all the way down the hallway to the spare room, remove the dust cloth from the monitor, fire the PC up, and connect to their dial-up internet connection before they could even start their search! The whole thing would take 15 minutes! No, the Yellow Pages will retain its place as their primary search tool, probably indefinitely…

And my sister, who as a single Mum leads a busy and well-organised life- she has always been the type of person who has always known exactly where everything is in her place. It is rare for her to run around her home flustered and looking for a misplaced item! Her primary search is ALWAYS the Yellow Pages- although she follows this up by getting more up-to-date information on websites before she phones the business.

Anyone without a computer at home clearly will remain dependent on the Yellow Pages. We obviously won’t see it fade completely anytime soon…

But many people use the internet as their primary search tool for local businesses. They’ll cite many reasons:

* It’s convenient- whether at home, work or on all those mobile devices we carry with us, it’s so easy to get online to search these days
* It’s quick- as fast as you can type, the information is there: ’1,245,600 results in 0.43 seconds’- who can fight that?
* It’s up-to-date- or should be! The Yellow Pages starts off updated every year, but a lot can change in 12 months. Several months into the YP year, some businesses may have moved, changed direction or even disappeared! A website has the potential to be much more up-to-date than the YP listings- although some websites are sad, neglected places- created months or years ago, and never nurtured by the webmaster since. DON’T DO THIS TO YOUR WEBSITE! It is frustrating as hell to read something on a site, only to contact the business and be told that things have changed!

So the search has shifted online, and continues to do do. What will the impact of this be on small business in Canberra? We’ll explore this is a later post…

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