Yellow Pages Drive Local Economies and Sustainability

November 2, 2012

By Wesley Young, Local Search Association

For more than 125 years, members of the Local Search Association (LSA), an NLC Corporate Partner, have provided consumers with reliable and convenient sources of local business and community information. While an increasing number of consumers access local business information through digital devices, tens of millions of U.S. consumers - including residents in NLC member communities - continue to rely on their local print Yellow Pages to connect with local businesses. In fact, a majority of Americans turn to print Yellow Pages at some point in the year when they want to shop locally, according to independent research conducted by Burke and released by the LSA in July 2012.

Nearly three million U.S. small businesses advertise in print Yellow Pages because they depend on the local customers those ads bring in the door. Businesses value print directories because they attract customers at the point when they are ready to make a purchase. The sales leads that print Yellow Pages provide deliver a strong return on investment for businesses and complement other advertising efforts they may have online or via mobile.

When picking up  the Yellow Pages or buying locally, users should consider that:

• Yellow Pages search tools are available at no cost to consumers who like buying from local businesses.
• Every sale that Yellow Pages facilitate generates tax revenue for the city, income for the business and employment in the community.
• No other media tool designed to connect consumers and businesses is as local as Yellow Pages print, mobile, and online search tools - which are rich with trusted local information on businesses and the community.
• Yellow Pages representatives advise and consult local businesses on their marketing strategy - ultimately acting as a mini-advertising agency for them. In many cases, a Yellow Pages representative is the local trusted advisor for a busy business owner who needs help creating a marketing strategy that works and helps his or her business succeed.

Yellow Pages publishers recognize that some consumers prefer to use online and mobile options to find local business information. In an effort to control the delivery of directories to those who don't want them, the industry is partnering with local communities across the country to promote its national consumer choice website, www.YellowPagesOptOut.com. The website enables residents to limit the number of directories they receive or stop delivery altogether. The program, which is funded by the industry at no cost to local governments, is endorsed by dozens of state and local government officials across the country and environmental organizations like Keep America Beautiful.

Highland Park, IL, is a great example of a community that has successfully partnered with Yellow Pages publishers to address local concerns about directory delivery. Earlier this year, LSA worked with Highland Park City Councilmembers David Naftzger and Paul Frank to issue a press release and generate local media coverage of www.YellowPagesOptOut.com in their community. At the Councilmembers request, LSA and hibu, a Yellow Pages publisher, shared the industry's sustainability story as an exhibitor at the GreenTown Highland Park conference this month.

"We appreciate that publishers are trying to ensure that Highland Park residents and business owners are educated about the availability of www.YellowPagesOptOut.com," said Councilmember Naftzger. "We've had a positive response from our residents and believe our approach can be replicated elsewhere to create similarly positive results."

The industry's national www.YellowPagesOptOut.com website is a better approach to controlling directory delivery than government efforts to handle the process. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently struck down a city's attempts to restrict Yellow Pages delivery, specifically citing www.YellowPagesOptOut.com as a better alternative. Yellow Pages publishers are eager to meet with officials in any community to answer their questions about directory delivery and help spread the word locally about www.YellowPagesOutOpt.com.

About the Local Search Association

The Local Search Association (www.LocalSearchAssociation.org) is the largest trade organization of print, digital, mobile and social media that help local businesses get found and selected by ready-to-buy consumers. Association members include U.S. and international directory publishers, search engine marketers, online listings and review sites, digital advertising agencies and mobile search providers. The Association has members in 29 countries.

About the NLC Corporate Partners Program

The National League of Cities Corporate Partners Program promotes the exchange of ideas between corporate leaders and the leaders of America's cities in order to strengthen local government, encourage economic competitiveness and promote corporate civic engagement.

NLC Corporate Partners provide valuable insights and perspectives on issues facing cities and towns and offer resources to address those opportunities and challenges.