I'm a voracious reader; anyone who knows me knows that. But sitting gathering dust in our garage are books we don't even unwrap any more until it's time to throw them away - our telephone directories the White Pages
and Yellow Pages
. We never read them; never need them. We moved them to the garage a few years back as they were cluttering up our miniscule living room, and there they have remained. At first we consulted them, but once they had a pile of gardening stuff on top of them it was easier to just go online than unpack the phone books.
So these days if I want to find a specific person or business, I search online through the White Pages. I don't ring Telstra's 1234 service as it's too expensive. However, people, 1223 is a free directory assistance number
from residential landlines on the Telstra network. Remember that and use it. Telstra doesn't promote this free service as they'd rather make money from you.
If I'm searching for a non-specific business in a particular industry, I'll use Google. If I want a local handyman I'll firstly ask the neighbours who they used and were they happy with the result, or try the local newspapers. Re the newspapers, I'll then research the handyman on the internet to see what people are saying about him, if anything, or if he has a website I'll read it. If all else fails I'll use the Yellow Pages online.
The one thing I don't do any more is read the print versions of the telephone directories. In an effort to win me back to these wonderful tomes that do duty in countless houses holding up broken bookshelves and other pieces of furniture, Telstra has issued our house with a mini Yellow Pages aimed at our section of Sydney. "Glovebox-sized," it markets itself hopefully. Poor thing, it gets no trips in our cars. My husband's glovebox is full of CDs and my old Golf doesn't even have one. Just some door pockets filled with rural maps and umbrellas. I did carry a "Glovebox-sized" Yellow Pages in the back of my car for while, and threw it out when:
- I discovered it was three years out of date
- I'd never used it
- It was covered in oil as my spare oil bottle had leaked
My husband and I both own iPhones, so we have access to the White and Yellow Pages online when we're out and about. We don't need another bit of stuff in our cars which we won't use.
My mother is in her 80s and relies on the print version of the directories, albeit with good lighting, spectacles and a magnifying glass. When each new directory arrives she compares old friends' entries with last year. If she hasn't heard from them in a while and they're not in the directory, she presumes they're in the hereafter instead. For her, home delivery of the directories is a must as she doesn't use a computer or smart phone.
[pullquote_left]Why is there not an opt-out service for people who don't want the hard copy directories?[/pullquote_left]I suspect there are thousands of if not at least a million people like me, who use technology to find who and what we need. People who chuck their unread (but hopefully unwrapped) directories in the recycle bin each year. It's got me wondering how many trees are felled needlessly for people who just don't need their directories? And how much of the production and print cost is taken up in our account fees. Telephone directories are delivered automatically to every household and business. Why is there not an opt-out service for people who don't want the directories?
Now to the big questions for those of you reading this who own your own business:
- If you're a business, do you spend your advertising budget on the Yellow Pages?
- Online and/or print?
- If so, do you believe you're getting value for money and the number of customers you want from that ad spend?
- Would you buy, at enormous expense, a large display ad if you're not one of the major players in your industry? (ie if you're competing against Canon Australia, or Harvey Norman, do you match their ad size?)
- Or do you use only Google adwords or a split between Adwords and the Yellow Pages?
- Perhaps you're promoting your business using a targetted Facebook ad campaign?
- Is the Yellow Pages actually relevant to your business?
I'd be interested to know what small to medium businesses are up to when it comes to using the Yellow Pages to market their businesses. Is it a dinosaur, or is there still a need for your business to use it?
As for me, I don't advertise in the Yellow Pages; much of my business comes from referrals or my own website. Would I advertise in the YP? No; I'm in an industry where I believe people who want to find me will go online rather than open a phone book.