This is a topic that seems to come up quite a lot these days, both with clients and internally – how much should be spent on Yellow Pages and optimisation for Google?

It’s a good question to ask and one that I have had some fairly heated discussions about over the years – particularly with Yellow Pages sales representatives!!

I guess the first question to ask yourself is:

How much is Yellow Pages and
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) costing me?

As a percentage of my marketing budget, is it balanced?

What else could I do with that money and could I get a better ROI?

Many clients seem to get carried away with the importance of these two
points of reference (Yellow Pages + Google) but forget the real reason that people use them… poor branding!

Let me give you a hypothetical example of two plumbing businesses:

No Leaks Plumbing decides to brand himself by sending out leaflets to his marketplace. Perhaps some fridge magnets and a small press campaign in the local paper. He also drops a brochure into the shire’s ‘new arrival’ pack.

Dripping Wet Plumbing decides to sink all his marketing dollars into a full page Yellow Pages advert, ensuring he’ll be in front of all his competitors.

Now dear Mrs Jo Average has a leaking sink….whatever is she to do?

It now comes down to a state of awareness. Having branded himself, No Leaks Plumbing has created what we term as ‘top of the mind awareness’. So Jo calls him from the handy fridge magnet she received a few months prior, while Dripping Wet remains lost with his competition in a closed book.

The same rings true for websites and search engine optimisation. Everyone wants to be number one. Everyday more and more companies pop up promising the world in Search Engine Marketing. The question is though, if you’ve branded your website and people are aware, do they need Google?

I’m not saying that I don’t fully support and integrated marketing approach, it’s just that your marketing budget needs to be allocated with a balanced approach in mind. Your marketing strategy should be focused on ensuring that your consumers are aware of your product or service.

Branding does not garner you instant results. Marketing itself is not an exacting science but branding has been proven to be the most powerful tool in any long term strategy. No Leaks Plumbing didn’t get an instant response from Mrs Jo Average but when the need arose, his branding went to work.

So next time the Yellow cowboys ride into town to strip your local area of tens of thousands of dollars or the SEO Indians decide to spear head you a campaign, just ensure that you examine your strategy and don’t get lost in the sales hype and allow them to ride off into the sunset with any more of your money than their tools deserve…