As the revenue from ad sales in the printed editions of the Yellow Pages Directories declines, the challenge to provide new, popular and trusted offerings to the SMEs is more intense than ever before.
Bundling ad products is a popular way of offering the advertiser a suite of exposure in printed- and online Yellow Pages and in New Media; such as Mobile marketing or paid search utilizing sponsored links–areas already subjected to hard competition from other local-level actors. The SME companies are looking for new channels where they can spend their media budgets and the question is now whether the Yellow Pages are the right local-level middle hand for them.
The Sales Force
The Yellow Pages Directories’ most valuable asset is unanimously said to be their powerful sales forces, a fact confirmed during Yellow Pages TODAY! by speakers from both Google and Bing (Microsoft) who themselves do not have this function in-house. However, judging from a review of a recent survey from the berry-company, this sales force is not very highly regarded by the SMEs, the segment that the Yellow Pages has traditionally had good relations with. The lack of skills in new media and little or no understanding of the advertisers’ businesses are the reasons behind this dissatisfaction. A panel debate comprised of top Yellow Pages sales people revealed that the two most important success factors right now involve getting help to understand the needs of the businesses they sell to, and being able to give the advertiser an ROI-feedback based on facts. These are skills and information that they need in order to retain and upgrade existing customers as well as to acquire new ones, who will otherwise look elsewhere to spend their limited media budgets.
Freespee helps the Directories understand their customers’ businesses and enables them to prove to the advertisers the ROI of their Yellow Pages, Internet Yellow Pages, and new media investments.
Strengthen the relationship to the Advertiser
The Directories are able to fully monetize their Internet Yellow Pages Ad networks with Freespee features such as phone number replacement on the Advertiser website, where the Freespee platform swaps out the existing phone number on the advertiser’s Web site with the unique, trackable phone number shown in the Internet Yellow Pages ad. This strengthens the relationship to the Advertiser and ensures that the Internet Yellow Pages get credit for every phone call that is placed through the ad.
Overview shows seasonality
Business knowledge comes through accurate intelligence and overview. With Freespee Analytics, the Directories get an overview of the seasonality of the advertisers’ businesses.
The integrated reporting tool shows a monthly or yearly perspective on the amount of leads that are driven to the advertiser’s telephone number. Now it’s easy to identify just the right point in time to contact the advertiser for subscription renewal.
Real-time proof of performance
Sales arguments are best when backed by facts. With Freespee Analytics, the ROI of the ad product is proven to the advertiser right away.
The dashboard shows the amount of telephone leads that the advertisement has driven to the advertiser, in real-time! Should the lead frequency decline – the sales person can take action to increase ad exposure utilizing New Media ad variants.
Credibility and performance is the future
Given these tools, the sales persons of the Yellow Pages Directories can concentrate on the new media and perhaps even more on the emotional part of selling, which obviously is crucial for building a long-lasting relationship with the SME customer.
Google’s local search engine Google Places recently evolved to be very similar to the Internet Yellow Pages in the way that it presents its search results. We at Freespee have seen a threefold increase in the amount of calls driven to advertisers from Google Places since the new structure has been in place. Customers do not click through to a webpage any longer! They simply place their call after having viewed the organic search result.
With re-won credibility, the only thing still missing for the Yellow Pages Directories will be the model for monetizing the phone calls in a way that is aligned with their customer’s scope; paying for performance. And then they can pursue doing exactly what they have done best for half a century. Driving phone call leads to the SMEs.