Why Yellow Pages Marketing Is A Waste Of Money For Language Schools
Yellow Pages – the dying marketing dinosaurs from the past – are surprisingly still around and trying to convince some people that they are a valuable source of advertising.
Just they are not, and here is why.
Anyone growing up today can’t imagine how it was when there were no mobile phones and no Internet. You actually had to go somewhere where a phone was physically available to be used. And you actually had to go to the library to do research (smart people still do as unbelievable at it seems – there are some smart resources that are still not all online, yet!) and use the so-called “Yellow Pages” to look up businesses.
The inventor of those yellow pages did a great job convincing people that they are the most important source for possible customers to find you (even that was not even true back then). There were often more effective ways to be found, including focused advertising in magazines and of course direct mail marketing – sending actually real printed letters to potential customers.
So why is it so difficult to get rid of the thinking that Yellow Pages are still relevant at all?
Why Yellow Pages Are A Waste Of Money And Your Time?
Yellow pages do NOT provide any benefit to your business.
Think of this: what do people find on yellow pages (their free listings)? Basic business information that you will now find within seconds on Google Maps.
What is the benefit of going to any of those generic directories? There is none. Do not mistake them with highly specialized niche websites such as MyLanguageBreak.com
Tripadvisor has tremendous success because it is focused on restaurants and hotels and other travel-related experiences (and mind you, it could include your language school listing there, if you do it right – Tripadvisor category or articles!).
On the other hand: generic websites that just “list businesses” like the yellow pages are the most boring thing to visit on the Internet. And there is a reason why they are all dead.
Yellow pages businesses, however, will keep bothering you to use them and even to upgrade for paid services. Stop them completely.
I would even go as far to say: get yourself removed from their database. Being listed on those sites will make you look old and outdated as well.
Yellow Pages Fight Against Business Giant Google: A Battle Long Ago Lost
Like it or not – Google IS THE YELLOW PAGES NOW. With Google Maps and the convenient free Google My Business management center where you can easily update and maintain an open communication to your customers (see also the article Google My Business For Language Schools) there is no way around NOT using their system.
Google does not really like generic directory styled websites. They rank very badly and are not favored by their secretive algorithms.
Why would you like to be listed on other websites, that are themselves are not showing up on the first page of Google?
Exceptions are highly ranked specialized sites like Tripadvisor.com (did you notice that often Tripadvisor listings show up before the official website of a restaurant does show up itself?).
But those are not generic “yellow page” like directories that are niche specific like www.mylanguagebreak.com as a version of “Tripadvisor for Language Schools”.
You Need To Been Seen Where Most Of Your Customers Are
The majority of people that are online in this very moment are using either Google (or Bing and some other neglectable alternatives) and social media.
They do NOT know your business or your website.
While it is a must and important that your fast loading website must look good – having a very user-friendly website will NOT BRING YOU VISITORS.
Visitors come from those places where they already hang out: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tripadvisor, their favorite gossip website or news outlet.
Newsflash: nobody hangs out or likes yellow pages and directories – they are boring to death.
What does interest people are REVIEW websites where they can see and share their opinions about stuff they just bought or wanted to buy.
Look at what Amazon does – and how many people feel that they can help each other by leaving very detailed and very long comments and shared experiences about articles. That is all free content and adds to the success of Amazon without them lifting any finger for that.
People are there and share freely – which adds to even more popularity.
So how do get people to notice you where they hang out?
The Times Of Play For Pay Are Here: Why Paid Google Ads & Facebook Are A Must
This is the unpleasant truth in 2018 and beyond. If you want to be noticed on Social media, for example Facebook, there is no way around to use paid traffic to be noticed.
The same is true for Google – if you want to be seen on the first page, very often the only chance is to pay for Google ads. You can’t not wait to “rank naturally” via organic SEO. Here is why.
The Times Of Play For Pay Are Here: Why Paid Google Ads & Facebook Are A Must
Here comes a very important but painful fact. If you have a new website or a website that is not visited by enough people Google is not able to determine if your website is relevant and liked by people.
It seems obvious, but business owners do not seem to get it. They rather wait until Google and Bing include them in their search engines for free with “natural SEO”.
Do not get me wrong: SEO is very important because it is the ongoing essential marketing strategy on how to present your business information to people in search engines BEFORE they visit your website.
But that is exactly where the problem of thinking is: unless you have nobody coming to your website in the first place, Google and other are NOT ABLE to rank you. You will likely end up on page 10 or 20 where nobody looks.
So in 2018 and beyond the starting point for your business is to send SOME paid traffic with real visitors to your websites.
Your website should better be optimized and full of helpful interesting content, because the search engines are watching what visitors will do on your website and if they are just clicking helplessly around and go back to search for other companies and resources – or: if they see that your customers take clear actions like ordering from your website, downloading a report or engaging with other clear BUYING SIGNALS – then search engines will LOVE you.
Good ratings on review websites including Tripadvisor, Google Map ratings, Facebook ratings (and MyLanguageBreak.com ratings) will indicate further evidence that your language school is providing real value.
And if you think reviews can be faked – you are correct, however, the trend of real reviews will over-ride fake rides in the long term. Customers are not stupid and most people can spot fakes – and often report them to be removed.
What Other Outdated Marketing Strategies Is Your Language School Falling For?
There are two dangers with marketing: doing the wrong things that will not work anymore and doing the right things, but doing them unprofessionally, so they won’t return any significant results as well.
Take Email marketing for example. Many people do believe that it is outdated old marketing and only social media marketing rules – which is a complete myth.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms in communicating with potential and current customers and is proven to convert more sales by creating more trust with subscribers if you write the right emails.
And here is the challenge: writing emails is an art that usually only talented copywriters master. At least those emails that make sales happen and that are strategically designed to make your audience do certain things. While it is a bad move to use psychology to make people stuff they do not need – it can be certainly be done with the right copywriting for sure.
Now take for example printing flyers and putting those in strategic places. This is usually a waste of money and resources as for the same money you can run local ads on Facebook where you can exactly target people by location, age, interest and can target people exactly as you need them. Printed flyers lying around in cafes and similar places are usually read accidentally by people that are bored and are chance encounters – it is like playing the lottery. And yet so many businesses still spend money on this old out-dated futile marketing tactic.
Are there any strategies that you currently apply and you are not even aware of them just eating up your marketing budget without returning any benefits for you?
With a rich background and experience in language school marketing, SandyAllain.com is very happy to offer you proven strategies that work and you can learn more about how that works here.
Helping language service providers and language schools since 1999 to sign up more language students. Discover How Your Language Business Can Benefit From My Services.