It’s time to get the tissues out, because the Yellow Pages will print its final edition in January 2019.
After 51 years, the once indispensable household telephone directory will be no more, giving way instead to its digital sibling, Yell.com.
Fittingly, Brighton will be the last place in which the Yellow Pages will be delivered by hand – the location where it was first published in 1966. But what does this mean for businesses?
Why does this matter?
If you’re shaking your head and muttering “so what?”, this news is more important than you might think. For starters, it’s telling that the final edition will still be printed at very high volume – 23 million copies, to be exact.
For over half a decade, the venerable telephone directory has been a staple of UK households, and business owners who assume its demise will have no effect on enquiries might be in for a shock.
Whether or not your business receives leads via the Yellow Pages is actually irrelevant, because the termination of the print edition is yet another signal for consumers that they’d better head online if they need to buy something.
No one asks if you have a website any more if you’re running a business – it’s simply assumed, therefore if you’ve let your online presence slip due to a healthy influx of enquiries or word-of-mouth referrals, it might be time to give it a refresh.
The death of the paper-based Yellow Pages is a timely reminder about the importance of a stellar digital presence, but here’s three more:
- It provides tools to build profitable customer relationships
By integrating your website with online chat, email marketing and social media platforms, you can create an online presence that builds confidence and trust with your customers.
These tools are only of any use if you have a website, and people expect to be able to interact with them. Is your website a fully interactive, engaging place, or is it nothing more than a digital brochure?
- It never closes
If you operate in the retail sector, you’re not alone in feeling slightly rueful every time you lock up each night. After all, if those doors could stay open 24/7, you’d sell more stuff!
Websites don’t close; they’re salespeople for whom you don’t need to grant lunch breaks or annual leave. Your website will work tirelessly for you – if you integrate an ecommerce system that customers can use to purchase your wares whenever they wish.
- It can turn on a sixpence
Need to change your business model, introduce a new product line or completely revise the way you market a particular service? With a website, you can pivot with ease.
Sure, it might need a few design changes, text additions or amendments to the visitor journey, but it’s so easy to do that if you have the right help and support on board.
Focus more of your sales and marketing effort online, and you’ll never live in fear of backing your business strategy into a corner from which you can’t emerge.
You know a website is essential for your business, but it’s easy to forget just how big a role it plays. After all, you have it designed, built and launched, and then it simply sits there, gathering digital dust.
The Yellow Pages is bidding us farewell, but the news should inspire us all to ensure our online game is as strong as it can be in the digital economy!