Most traditional media companies have changed their strategies and business models to better compete in the digital age. Directory companies are no exception. These businesses have always relied on businesses to pay for upgraded listings in order to generate revenue, but in today’s digital environment, directory publishers are branching out into marketing services and targeting small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) in new ways.
According to BIA/Kelsey, the yellow pages industry, in total, will experience an annual revenue decline of 1.5% between now and 2015. Even the revenue from digital yellow page listings, which will account for 62% of industry revenue in the next 4 years, will drop. This is primarily the result of fewer consumers turning directly to yellow page sites to find what they’re looking for.
The way analysts see the situation, leading edge directory companies should use the strength of their business relationships with local SMBs to build new revenue streams in the services market. This means positioning themselves as experts in website management, search engine marketing, mobile app development and specialties such as reputation management. These are all areas where most SMBs lack experience and expertise.
A BIA/Kelsey study shows that local SMBs increased the number of media items they purchase annually from 3 to 5.8 in the past several years. This shift indicates their willingness to experiment with new media formats. One good way for directory companies to open the discussion with SMBs is to explain that “27% of SMB websites cannot be found in online searches.”
To learn more about small business owners, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.[Sources: Local Search and Listings Across Directories. IAB.net. April 2013. Web. 23 Jul. 2013; Duprey, Patrick. Directories Eye Marketing Services Space. Netnewscheck.com. 16 Jul. 2013. Web. 23 Jul. 2013]