So should I use Yell for my online services?

So we rarely go into relationships with our clients dissing the competition, its sometimes tempting, but without walking in their shoes and all that…But to see small businesses fall under the spell of the sales patter and promises of Yell, which is simply a waste of money and marketing resources has me angry at this industry. As many will be aware Yell is derived from Yellow Pages. When people stopped looking for JR Hartley in the Big Yellow Book and stopped letting their fingers do the walking Yell were very slow to adapt. But with a captive audience it was time to go on the offensive.

So offered a range of marketing related services to small/medium sized businesses. So the promise of Yell internet utopia sounds like this:

Google Ads/Adwords
As you may know these provide ads that are listed on google. Something that is easy enough to set up, or get your web agency to help you sharpen up. You do not need Yell to do this, there are many resources to refer to for advice or use a reputable company that can show you some evidence of work carried out in your sector. More importantly to share with you what they are doing and why. So you get to understand and participate, if you do wish.

Sponsored listings |At the top of the Yell page, there are listings that are paid for, similar to google adwords, but only really seen if you are looking on yell in the first place. They can work quite well but our experience is that they are much more expensive than Google and are not so visible as you might think, unless you pay more of course!

Website Design and Build
We have worked with a number of companies over the years who have started their journey with Yell. On the whole the feedback was that they were not in control of their website. Changes had to be requested via email or phone, took ages to update and sometimes were even ignored. Complaining only resulted in being offered other services which added to the monthly costs, which can escalate. On one occassion a client asked Yell why they couldn’t install Google analytics on one of their websites. The answer suggested that it wasn’t a case of ‘couldn’t’, but ‘wouldn’t’.

Representatives became defensive or aggressive when challenged and experienced lots of promises made over the phone that never became a reality.

The contracts are 12 months long, so what happens if you are finding that there are not results in the early months? Can you get data? Well not really, you are directed to a dashboard that has basic numbers, so even a professional would need to undo and reconfigure.

Search Engine Optimisation
Okay the keywords, the dark art, smoke and mirrors! Well that’s what Yell would have you believe that there is some mystical power to SEO that they wield over your website.

The truth is that good SEO starts at the point of the site build, not when it is already constructed in a poorly formatted template. As you never own the site in the first instance, how can you affect the content of the site? Content is one of the key elements of any SEO strategy.

Without analytics that provides the data to allow you to plan ahead, change that plan and adapt sites and pages to suit, what use is SEO anyway?

The reality is that Yell is not for all businesses.

I guess the same can be said of many specialist companies too. But in the main they are there to keep clients happy, where as Yell are all aboutthe numbers. Sign up one client for 12 months, if they leave there is always another on their vast database.

Some costs that we have gathered from ex Yell customers and other sources.

£40 – £60 per month – Connect (seems to be their version of SEO)

£80 – £120 per month – Website hosting
Decent web hosting can be a few hundred quid per year! We even give it away to our clients!

£265 per month – Sponsored listing on for being top of the tree.

£82.34 per month – Local VIP (Yell exclusive product)
Local listings are in the main FREE on Google, Yell, Bing and many others. Just takes a bit of work.

£47.67 per month – Heavyweight prominence
Really no idea what this adds at all!

£500 per month – PPC + maintenance
Question: How can they work out how competitive your sector is to put a price on it in the first place? At Weare, we take a lot of time to work this out and to our knowledge there is no set formula, unless you are treating some customers as loss leader or not doing anything at all! (not a problem exclusive to Yell).

£200 per month – Display + maintenance
Display advertising is selected when setting up a Google PPC campaign. This would or should be done as part of the set up of PPC.

So to the bottom line, at best you get a listing WOOHOO! At worst you are fleeced thousands for results that can be achieved elsewhere, often cheaper, definitely better curated and often with some education and ‘online elbow grease’. Feel free to get in touch if you would like us to provide a FREE consultation. Thanks for reading.

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