There seems to be more online press than ever reporting problems with Yell marketing. There was a time when the Yellow Pages was an essential part of most businesses marketing plans. It was the dominant marketing strategy prior to the year 2000, when local business depended upon inclusion in the printed Yellow Pages – do you remember those vast books strong men used to tear in half?
For many businesses it was a real way to drive customers through their doors. Even national companies were willing to absorb the cost to be included in the book for every region of the UK or USA.
The advent of the Internet changed the landscape of marketing completely and by the mid 2000’s many advertisers had already begun to pull out of the Yellow Pages in order to invest their marketing budgets online. This was really when there started to be problems with Yell marketing. Shrinking revenue caused Yellow Pages to create Yell.com and with that a website design and pay per click marketing department, yet the company continued to suffer. In 2011, Yell was reported to be a whopping £2.7 Billion in debt. Fast forward to 2016, 5 years on and Hibu (the rebranded name) had to file a US bankruptcy case according to the Wall Street Journal.
Problems With Yell Marketing – Misplaced Loyalty?
For some customers, even those who have experienced problems with Yell Marketing, there is that sense of loyalty. You may have been with the company for years. Yell may have seemed a great solution as it was a brand you trusted and it was easy to get a website with them.
We all know how important a website is and getting a reasonably priced solution is something that many businesses see as a great option. But is that really the case? Let’s take a look at 5 really good reasons to review your Yell / Hibu costs.
1. You Don’t Own Your Yell / Hibu Website
One of the biggest problems with Yell Marketing facing businesses is this. It may be your business name and you may well have your logo and other business details on it but no, you do not own the website – you rent it. Yell retains ownership of the website and domain name, which makes it very difficult to improve your website as your business grows, and impossible to switch providers without starting over.
This is what ties some businesses to Yell as starting over would require changing the domain name for all your email addresses, letterheads, signage, and advertising. This has led to many Yell complaints, forums are rife with business owners not realising this and feeling tied. For many businesses the question here is what is the point? That is going to be too much work! (Read on, actually it’s not hard at all.)
You’ll also have to start afresh with search engines like Google (but you probably don’t actually rank anyway – or certainly not for effective search terms.)
2. Yell Prevents You From Making Changes To Your Website Yourself.
Now while if you were new to the whole Internet thing this would maybe be a benefit, now it’s more of a curse. It’s another hurdle that causes problems with Yell Marketing. Fresh content drives traffic through Google, and adding quality content promotes your rankings quicker. This is what “Content Marketing” relates to.
Other problems with Yell Marketing is that the company has not stayed up to date with the changes in technology or the needs of the search engines and Yell still requires that you request changes by email or phone, which causes critical delays and sometimes results in the changes never even getting made anyway.
A website needs a way of adding fresh content and that is why blogs remain popular. Yell template websites are simple and basic and blogs are not included as standard and changing content is a bit of a mission. Not ideal as a way of getting new customers for your business. And that’s without you wanting to add things like special offers or events.
3. Your Results Rely On YOUR Guesswork.
Yell claims that they can’t add Google analytics to their websites, and insists that you use their own statistics instead. In some cases, Yell customers haven’t even been told about the existence of this information or been given login details to access it. Being able to see where you rank (in search engines not Yell) and what the traffic coming into your site is doing is really important. Otherwise how can you see if things are working as they should be?
The information provided by Yell is extremely basic and doesn’t offer any specific page performance statistics. It relies heavily on click throughs from Yell rather than from Internet search engines, giving an unrealistic perspective of the effectiveness of the website and the assumed importance of Yell itself. It may look like you are getting traffic when actually its clicks ONLY from Yell and as point 4 shows that might not be all it seems.
4. Paid Listings & Search On Yell Are Rarely Targeted Accurately
Your marketing budget is easily wasted on non-targeted customers. Yell places search ads on your behalf by placing the advertisements in generic, broad categories and typically these can fail to direct your advertisement to the right audience. The whole point of paid ads is to appeal to your potential customers.
After speaking with many Yell / Hibu clients we know that these paid ads can be very hit and miss. It can offer services that may seem associated to what you offer but be things you don’t actually provide. One example being a landscape gardener was showing up for handyman services! This resulted in a handful of calls for something they did not provide so wasted their money and time.
The other issue can be showing your advert to customers in locations your business does not serve. For example, a Brighton based mechanic might be appearing in the search results for Norwich. Even for a growing business keen to gain new repeat custom, that travel time does not make sense!
5. The Trick Of The “Premium” Listing
This sponsored listing guarantees greater visibility than with the other listings on Yell. The sales pitch you are likely to hear is that Yell has good results on Google. Sometimes is does, sometimes it doesn’t it depends on the area and also on what groups you are in or want to show under.
A plumber as an example might want to show under plumber, emergency plumber and boiler repairs – that’s not one listing, it’s three and if more than one area then it will cost you double, even triple or more! Yes of course your account manager will do you a saving, a too good to be missed deal, which brings me smoothly onto point 6…
6. Yell Account Managers Are Sales People
Essentially your account manager is a salesperson whose responsibility is limited to making a sales call to you once or twice per year to convince you to renew and if possible up-sell your account and for them to hit their targets. The training and the benefits of working for Yell was a draw for many years for top salespeople.
The focus is not to improve your sales results through improved marketing. Yell is a business and that is what they are selling and improving their bottom line is the main focus. This isn’t sour grapes either, some of Yells own employees openly admit this, you can see threads detailing this on independent sites and forums all over the web, just Google Yell complaints and take a look.
Problems With Yell Marketing – In Summation
There are many reasons for this failure of Yell and now Hibu post their rebranding, to re-establish themselves as an essential marketing option. Like many offline businesses they came to the Internet party a little late, and still they seem to resist the benefits of search engine marketing for their clients.
The templated websites are not designed to be search engine friendly and they miss some basic requirements that Google, Bing and other search engines NEED to have to rank your website. It really is now time for you to consider whether or not you are making the best business decision by spending your marketing budget with Yell.
I do understand that for many, it’s about what you know and being a Yell customer for many years, they may have been a brand that you trusted, but are you getting the best results for your advertising budget? As a business owner, your primary responsibility is to look after the health of your business, and a misplaced loyalty to a company that is failing you can make the difference between your businesses success or failure.
The Alternative Solution
If you want the greatest visibility in your local area, targeted to customers that are actively seeking your services, consider reinvesting your Yell marketing budget with an independent marketing agency that will provide you with all the necessary support and attention needed to drive your business to the next level. Deal with experts and you’ll see better results as you move from Yell to Google.
Keep your free listing with Yell by all means, it is after all FREE. But let me ask you a question if you are still unsure…..
When was the last time you looked at Yellow Pages or Yell.com to find a local business?
When was the last time you used Google?
If you remember the advert concerning a Fly Fishing Book & A Yellow Pages advert…….
Google is now where most of us would search.
Getting The Yell Out Of There!
We can build a state-of-the-art website that speaks directly to the strengths of your business, provide you with analytics that can help you identify what works and doesn’t work in your advertising strategies, and best of all, you’ll own it all!
We’ll design a website for you that you will love and we will show you how to add content into it and make ANY changes you want and when you want.
We can get you a domain name similar to the one you have and minimise disruption to your business. And we’ll get you ranking for local and relevant search terms so your customers can find you.
If you want to pay for sponsored listings, then choose the right platform for your business or your budget, Google Adwords is an option but so are Facebook and Twitter Ads.
Contact us today and we’ll provide you with some free advice and we’ll even do a completely free review of your website and 2 competitors and show you what is and is not working. Use the code YH50 to get a whopping 50% discount on a new website with a FREE domain name. Our local SEO service are often the same price or cheaper than Yell and the results are much better.
Make 2017 a year for growing your business using the Internet.
If you are thinking about using daily deal sites like Groupon to market your business, take a look at our advice about that here.