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The White Pages: A Forgotten Marketing Tool

Michelle Millis Comments

Many of us have forgotten the hidden value of our White Pages listing in the telephone directory. Before becoming the large “buying guide” it is today, the phone book was the place to find residential and business phone numbers, primarily via the White Pages.

These days, most of the emphasis is placed on the value of the Yellow Pages, but we shouldn’t take our business White Pages listing for granted. We assume that establishing a phone number with our service provider is all we need to ensure we’re listed accurately. But take a moment to check: Does your business even appear in your local White Pages?

As a business operator, you can choose which local exchange carrier you use for phone service. The listing information you provide is what’s given to the various directory publishers for the print White Pages. It’s also what’s provided when someone calls directory assistance, and what appears on the Internet Yellow Pages. It’s one of the ways other websites obtain their listing data, too. Many operators complain that their information is incorrect and are unsure how the data is obtained.

If your business data is relayed incorrectly to the carrier, it will be published incorrectly, so be careful about the information you provide. If the phone number is a fax or backup business line, specify that the number as “non-published.” If you fail to specify a facility address to be printed, you could end up with a corporate address as the facility location. These are items to check every time a directory is delivered to ensure data has not been lost or changed during the year.
Making Changes

In most cases, your Yellow Pages sales representative cannot correct or make changes (other than enhancements) to your White Pages listing. This can only be accomplished by contacting your phone-service provider. Any changes that could affect your listing should be communicated to the provider so it can submit an order to the directory publishers.

Always obtain a confirmation number when you submit a change. This will be the only reference point you have to confirm the establishment of a number or to follow up on changes you’ve requested.

Complimentary listings in the Yellow Pages can also only be placed for the phone number and address you’ve listed with the phone-service provider. If you don’t receive your complimentary listing or it’s printed incorrectly, the confirmation number you have from the provider can be provided to the Yellow Pages department or your sales representative to assist in ensuring an accurate listing next time. 

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