Back in the day, an ad in the phone book was great because it was the go-to directory for finding a local business or your friend's home phone number.
Many of our clients ask us, "Should I buy an ad in the Yellow Pages?" Our answer 99% of the time: No.
Recommended Reading: 11 Reasons Why Your Business Should NOT Advertise with Yellow Pages
Most people simply don't use a phone book anymore. With their smartphone always ready, they can just use Google to find a local business. This is why it is important to claim your business page and make sure it has the correct information.
How Google is Like the Phone Book (Pre-1995)
In previous times, the phone book sat next to or near your landline phone - your trusty resource for calling family and friends, ordering pizza, finding the local dry cleaners, and much more! From the business perspective, companies could list their business and buy ads that got placed throughout the phone book to make their products or services stand out from the rest.
Today, Google is that resource – and even better, it’s accessible right from your phone, which is always in a nearby pocket or purse. Just like in the phone book, you can “list” your company on Google. I won’t get into Google Ads here, but you do have endless advertising options available using this platform, too.
How to Claim Your Business on Google
Listing your business on Google today is the equivalent to the free listing in the phone book in the early-to-mid-1990s. It’s something everyone did because the phone book was something everyone had and relied on for contact information.
A listing on Google provides your company’s basic contact information, which today is more than a phone number and address. In addition to this basic information, you can include your hours of operation, a link to your website, and a brief description of your business in your Google listing.
Checking this off your to-do list requires just a few simple steps:
- Start here: https://www.google.com/business/, and click the button that says, “Get on Google”.
- You’ll be redirected to a map, where you can start the search for your business with a name and address.
- If your company appears in the results, you can select it and be prompted to create a Google+ page.
- If your company doesn’t appear, you can add it.
- Once added, you’ll need to verify your business – which can be done by postcard, phone, instant, or bulk verification. Check out this article for specific details on each verification option.
- When verification is complete, you (and anyone you approve to have admin rights) will have the ability to change and update information as needed.
When your listing is complete, Google will serve your listing to anyone searching for your organization. Here's an example:
How Google Uses Your Company Listing
Google uses your company listing to serve relevant information to users – in Google Search, Google Maps and Google+ - on mobile and desktop devices. So, for example, if your customers hear an ad on the radio about a deal you are running this month, and they want to stop by to shop around, they can search for your business on Google. From the search results they can quickly see your address and with one click, get directions to your store.
Phone Book Ads vs. Google
When making marketing and advertising decisions, the number one thing to keep in mind is your customer base – current and future. So if you are asking yourself, “Should I advertise in Yellow Pages?”, think about your customers. Are they using the Yellow Pages – and would they use it to find you?
You need to be present where your audience is present. In the end, it all comes back to ROI. You only have a certain amount of time and money to spend; so spend it where it is going to provide the best return.