A recent study by CRM Associates entitled Not All Leads are Created the Same: Conversion Rates Drive the Bottom Line reports that Yellow Pages (both print and online) provide higher conversion rates than other direct marketing options. Although other media may provide more leads, the leads brought in from Yellow Pages come from ready-to-buy shoppers who are more likely to make a purchase.
The study compared Direct Mail, Email, Paid Search, Online Display, Mobile Display, Print Yellow Pages (display ads and in-column space ads were looked at separately) and Internet Yellow Pages. While the first five media had a conversion rate between less than one percent and just under five percent, all of the Yellow Pages options had a conversion rate of 42%!
1. Estimates for cost per click vary. According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2011 Search Marketing-PPC Edition, the average cost per click for paid search is currently $3.57, while according to DMA’s Response Rate 2012 Report, the cost per click is $3.05. This report will use the midpoint of $3.31 as a benchmark estimate.
2. The DMA Response Rate Report lists an ROI value of 10 for Online Display, which implies an average purchase value of $1,310. The value has been adjusted to $3.6 to have an average purchase value consistent with the value for Paid Search.
Direct Mail and Email (both from a House mailing list) had lower or competitive costs per lead in comparison to Yellow Pages, but keep in mind that the key here is that a far higher percentage of Yellow Pages leads turn into a sale as compared to the other media. With the exception of Email (House), the sales return on investment (amount returned in sales for every dollar invested) is higher for all Yellow Pages options than any of the other media.
The study also concluded that it takes nine clicks from Paid Search to equal the effectiveness of one Yellow Pages lead. Similarly, it takes 17 clicks on an Online Display ad or 40 clicks from an Email to equal one Yellow Pages lead.
The study does caution that the one area where Yellow Pages can’t compare to the other media is “interest creation”. Because Yellow Pages are primarily used by customers who are ready-to-buy and actively shopping, the medium doesn’t lend itself to creating the opportunity for an impulse purchase. That just underscores the importance of a solid media allocation strategy to ensure that your media choices will not only encourage consumers to decide to purchase, but also that you’ll be front and center when they actively take steps to make that purchase.
In summary, Yellow Pages are unique in their outstanding ability to deliver qualified leads from consumers who are actively shopping and ready to make a purchase. The old adage is that “you get what you pay for”, and based on this study, it’s apparent that investing in Yellow Pages advertising gets you high-quality leads and a strong return on investment.
Amy Rybczynski, Marketing Research Analyst