Should I Trust My First Email From Yell? A Marketing and Psychological Perspective

So here is an analysis of Yell’s initial email to me. A couple of pointers. I do not work for Yell, I have never worked for Yell. I am a Digital Marketing Specialist from the UK who has experience with working for a multitude of companies that have been exploited by and ripped off by Yell. I am biased against them because of the exploitation of my customers and because of the way they do business and have treated the people I work for.


After doing some research on them, I got to an affiliate advert for them which found me, and I decided to ask Yell what they could do for me. So here’s their first email to me upon me expressing my wishes to have SEO services from their company. In the email they tell me about their services, and I give my thoughts and analysis of it. Yell’s statements will be in Blue, my thoughts in Red, and a Psychological analysis of statements will be given in Green


“Get A Fully Managed Social Media Ad Campaign From The Experts At Yell”


So this sounds like it could be a pretty good idea. Social Media Experts. Yell is a big company with a long history, running one of the most useful directories of all time. Despite the fact I signed up for an SEO campaign, social media advertising is one of the strong points of internet marketing, and Facebook is one of the most powerful tools in existence. I have worked for a long time as a Digital Marketer, and run my own marketing company in the UK! So! Let’s get into the meat of what they are offering!


Psychologically, the setup is fairly simple. Fully Managed implies you won’t have to worry about it which is great, and the fact Experts will be covering this is positive, and helps ensure that you feel safe in their hands. It’s a great leading line as it puts the reader at ease. 


“Social Media Advertising

Whatever your budget, we have the right advertising solution for you

With 79% of online UK adults using Facebook[1], you can be sure that potential customers are browsing social media networks nearly every day.”


This is a pretty normal introductory statement. 79% of online UK Adults sounds like an impressive number, but I’d like to see the statistics on that. You can definitely be assured that many potential customers will be browsing Facebook every single day. It is important to note that users of Facebook do not always check in constantly throughout the day and in some cases will view Facebook only a few times a week for short periods.


Regardless of this, the way Facebook’s ad system works, it’s a guarantee that some people will see you based upon how the adverts are set up. Here, Yell is providing a short and brief outline with realistic sounding statistics, although this cannot be verified, and I have tried to look up the statistics on it but I couldn’t get anything reliable enough to consider as a reasonable figure. This is an important fact as it’s part of the way marketers like to shroud things. If you’re going to bluff, bluff with numbers and I doubt there is any time of the day when as many as 79% of UK adults are on Facebook. They have avoided being specific because of space and time, however it makes the customer feel like Facebook is fuller than it is, which I don’t personally like…


It is important at this point to note that there is a clear switch in this message. They go from taking the focus from Facebook in which they mention the percentage to saying that potential customers will be browsing social media every day. This is distractive and lazy and it feels like it trails off. It also implies other networks. Later on Yell mentions Instagram. There are many other networks out there though. 


“So, if you’re not advertising on these platforms, and instead relying on search engines to drive visits to your website, you’re missing out on potential business every single day.”


This statement is as true as true can get. Yes, the more tendrils you stretch out the more places you can ensnare your customers. Are you thinking of TikTok, Snapchat, Gab, Webtalk or other places? Well Facebook is a great tool to use! I wouldn’t personally use Facebook to bring an audience directly through to my website though, purely due to the fact that it’s a one time click through that you’re buying, unless you enjoy mucking about in the financial hell Facebook Pixels can create. (They have cost some people I know thousands, to tens of thousands of pounds, though not down to my implementation, I might add!)


From my years of being a Digital Marketer, It’s a far better idea to bring people to like your Facebook page, and then, when they’ve liked it and are following you, send them to your website on a regular basis, sharing useful information and blogs that can help them. This builds trust with potential customers allowing for a longer, healthier business relationship. If you are feeding people directly to your site, you potentially capture them once, but on Facebook, you can potentially send posts out to them often. It’s much more valuable a technique, because it provides more website views over time, better return on investment, and overall, better results in terms of bounce rates reducing, increasing your website’s presence on Google. It’s also easier to get customers to come back, and you won’t have to pay every time. Now that’s a win in my book!


This is a true statement. But what they do is turn the situation into one that feels risky, it’s a warning: “You are losing customers” is the implication. When they mention that you are missing out on potential business, it grabs you. You think, if I am losing business I’m losing sales. It’s ok, though because Yell has the answer, which is advertising with Yell. 


“However, setting up and managing ad campaigns on social media can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive if you’re not an expert.”


Poppycock! Balderdash! Nonsense! Setting up an ad campaign on Facebook is the easiest thing in the world if you are running a business that relies on local sales, and so is getting the best bang for your buck. You have two simple steps:


1: Select Area For Local Customers

2: Promote Page


Then all that’s left is to choose an ad budget to suit you. Don’t mess around with complicated audience targeting. It doesn’t matter who in your audience likes: Tron, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and playing Yahtzee. The second you limit your audience you are limiting your potential customers and driving up your costs. Even if Simon doesn’t want to buy your products, his wife Beryl may well love you. Don’t limit yourself. Also from prices starting at £200.00 a month, I recommend that you spend the money in the way I just mentioned instead. Why cut Yell in for potentially poorer results when you can trust a prematurely balding digital marketer who you don’t know either?


You are welcome to try Yell but I am certain my results will yield better results than Yell based on results I have gotten for businesses who used to rely on Yell for their social media marketing and now comfortably rely on my advice instead. Later on in this essay, I will get into blog writing as a potentiality to bring your customers in. (You can share these blogs on social media when you have followers to get them onto your site!) 


This is a good one. Complex is a great word to use, it drives people away from learning! It takes away power. Why bother learning if it’s hard? You’ve already got a hard enough business to run. Someone else can do this! Time consuming… Well that’s out. No one has time to manage ad campaigns and run a business… Expensive… Well, we don’t want to spend too much! Money IS important! We could save money on getting someone to run those… An Expert will do nicely. It’s good to know that Yell have experts! Why, it says it right there in their opening statement. We can rely on their experts to provide this service. It makes their service feel valuable, and one that’s outside the grasp of people who don’t study. Typical awful marketing spiel. I don’t like the way it takes the power away from the customer. It sounds good but the subtext isn’t friendly. 


“Smart Performance is an intelligent advertising solution that combines the power of social media advertising with search and display advertising to drive customers to your business.”


I’ve already mentioned a little about Facebook advertising, including information on how to run a really basic (and successful) campaign! I’m going to break this one down: So let’s look at Search Advertising for a second: 


Search Advertising is an extremely popular form of PPC advertising, and is used by many companies throughout the world. They pay to have their brand appear either above or below search engine results when users are using specific keywords and combinations of keywords. This usually takes the form of an auction based model with some people paying more to appear higher than others in the recommended search results. Usually when people are going through a search engine they are most likely to click on the top three results available. So being part of this is particularly useful and great for website traffic. It’s a good way to get your website found. 


Next we have display adverts. These are slightly different. Whilst Search Advertising is pulling a customer into a company they may know little about, Display adverts are what we call a push advert. Push adverts take tracked data from users and show them items they may have had an interest. These items then appear in social media websites, popular websites and other places over the internet. Most of the adverts I use in my blogs are push adverts, and they may be reminding you of things you might want to purchase. This is a good way to get customers to buy something they were interested in. You can find these as banner ads, or pretty much anywhere you look on Facebook!


Now these forms of advertising are effective, but can be run pretty cheaply by you. Personally, I prefer to use blogs to bring people into my business and the businesses of my clients. Over the past few years, I have earned more clients through writing about how people should run businesses than by pooling money into advertising! I even made a specific guide on restaurants which you can check out here if you like!. A powerful website with unique content is a great way to bring people in.


My main problem with search and display advertising is that it’s a one off repetitive service that you have to keep paying for. One of the businesses I was using was paying Yell £600.00 per month for advertising, and had little natural traffic to show for it. With a few major tweaks to their website, and properly sorting out some of the issues with it, I managed to get a higher level of natural traffic than Yell was providing. I recommended that they invest in paying people to write blogs and localise their content. Using the company that I usually recommend, TextRoyal, they could get over 12 1250 word articles per month for that amount of money. (Usually it takes around 3-4 months for blogs to have a positive effect.) In a year of paying for Yell for this company it would equal over 144 blogs, which would all have well over the normal text level required to absolutely obliterate any and all competition.


With properly localised text, and focusing on good keywords, you will absolutely smash your opponents easily and remorselessly, it’ll just take a little time to start appearing all over search results. If you are going to pay Yell £200.00 a month, that would be just over 4 blogs a month at 1250 words each for a total of more than 48 blogs in a year.


As an added note, the blogs will bring traffic and value to your website, and you can run display ads on your own site if you want to, which can over time recoup your savings. (A little note here, that you may potentially lose a few customers to competition if you are doing this so I wouldn’t normally recommend it. If you are like me though and want every penny you can lay your hands on for no effort though, go for it!) 


In short, Search advertising and Display advertising are both good but frankly, I find blogs more effective for the long term strategy, and in the many years ahead, the blogs will be with your site, constantly increasing your traffic and giving you an effect like a snowball rolling down a hill, you get bigger and better results the more you write and add… Sorry I’m getting carried away!


Smart Performance is great advertising. Smart is a good word to sell things. People buy Smart things, Smart Water, Smart Watches. It implies intelligence. Not only is the product smart, but you are smart for buying it. Performance is generally regarded as a positive word. Together, these words make the product sound very good, and you’ll be Smart for investing in it.


“For just one budget we will create a campaign that touches consumers at every stage of their buying journey and optimise it daily to deliver great return on investment for your business.”


I am always afraid of constant optimisations. If you are optimising daily, that’s potentially far too often, as you’re never going to know what will work properly if you don’t give things time to see proper results. Sometimes an ad that could work really well will backfire in some situations and it can be really easy to pull out if it’s not doing well. But there is the chance that it’ll turn itself around and start converting like wildfire, and no one wants to miss that. If it’s optimised before it has a chance to work and changed, you may be completely missing out on finding something that could really improve your chances, save you money and get a great return on investment.


When it comes to customers, this journey appears to follow the AIDA model, one of the most well known and useful sales models of all time: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action make up the Aida Model, which has withstood the test of time and is a sales model you can rely on.


Attention: You draw the customer’s attention to your brand. I believe due to the way Yell is setting things up that this is where they attract the customer to your website using the search advert. You appear in the search results and the customer clicks on your website…


Interest: When the customer is on your website they see your products and develop an interest in them. Maybe the customer buys, maybe they leave. If they buy, great, but if they leave, that’s when the machine gets to work with the Display ads. 


Desire: The customer has a desire for your products or services, that’s generally why they go through to your site. As they journey around the internet looking at things, the Display Adverts keep showing up, reminding the customer your products and services are waiting, and this increases a potential desire to buy.


Action: Like a fish, the customer snatches up the bait eventually and you hook them and make a sale.


The depressing part of this is that this is pretty easy to do outside of Yell, and your local digital marketing specialist is unlikely to tie you into a 12 month contract. Not all local digital marketers are good people and there are times when some of them will lie. You can generally start to see results in natural website traffic within a few months, so I’d recommend if you want to try someone give them 4-6 months on the same budget. Asides from that I will be covering every part of running these services for yourself on SECT NEWS, so you can market cheaply and effectively for yourself.


For just one budget implies that there are a lot of functions that will apply here for a focused cost, this keeps it simple and easy for the customer. Then, they use the word campaign: Now in marketing, campaigns can be set up pretty easily, but to most people it sounds like a long, meaty process with a lot of work involved. This takes power away from the reader, but implies that for the money, they will be undertaking a great task to help your business. Daily optimization sounds good, that’s dedication and a great return on investment sounds absolutely fantastic. The only issue I would be wondering about is how do they prove there is a valid return on investment, as nowhere in the email have they mentioned that they increase sales. If they’re not increasing sales, then where is the return on investment?


“Advertise your business on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Bing and popular UK websites and apps”


Any Business owner will want their products advertised in the best way and the best places to advertise that specific product. So let’s take a quick look at these places:


Facebook I recommend. Smart, sophisticated ads. The Facebook algorithm is a little expensive but ultimately it’s incredibly reliable. I get some of the best customers for my clients from Facebook, and owe a lot to that company. 


Google can be troublesome due to competition clicks costing your business. This can be countered with some nice and intelligent software, though I generally avoid Google ads these days and just go full SEO into the game and pump sites full of blogs. Google ads are effective, but I’d rather avoid them ultimately, as they’re one click one use, and on Facebook one like can lead to multiple views of your site. Potentially a tonne of website visits from one customer and an active interest you can cultivate. Much nicer.


Instagram is losing people and I have never personally made anything out of Instagram working for over 18 restaurants and takeaways running Instagram only giveaways at a jaw dropping 50% off sometimes! Make of that what you will, and try it on Instagram. Absolutely useless social media platform, but this is just my experience, and if it works for you, I’d love to know how you do it!


Who uses Bing?


Then we have apps. Oh boy, I hate these ads, and you should avoid them like the plague. Now I am an app user and a gamer, and I can guarantee that app adverts will lead to the wonderful hell of accidental website clicks. Now the problem with these website clicks is that they are almost always – I could probably guarantee 99.9% recurring –  accidental.


Yes, they will get people onto your site, people who didn’t want to go on your site and immediately bounce off it. Bounce rate is a metric that is very important in Google when determining whether or not someone finds your content interesting. If you start getting a tonne of people bouncing off your website it’s really bad for you.


It doesn’t matter if you are getting a tonne more people onto your site, you are not getting people who want your services with these ads. If you have a high bounce rate, your site will be regarded as a ‘low value’ site, resulting in Google potentially penalising your site and dropping you in the search results in favor of people who have a high audience retention. Avoid these at all costs!


Here we have a combination of well known names. Who wouldn’t want to appear on the websites of some of the most well known social media platforms in the UK. By association with power, Yell gains power. Not that they are an unknown company, but this association solidifies their power and influence in the customer’s mind. 


“Drive relevant customers to your business”


No marketing, no matter how intelligent or sophisticated is guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Whilst Search ads and Display ads are effective, they can be run and controlled by you pretty easily, so why cut Yell in for the money? It would be better from a profit standpoint to learn to run the ads yourself, and there are many people who will teach you how to do it quickly and efficiently. They also won’t tie you into a 12 month contract for a minimum of £2400.00 which is a lot of money to invest in services that anyone can run.


When I was first starting out as a digital marketer, I found it was so easy to run a decent advert that I couldn’t understand why more people didn’t do it themselves! Every platform you can run ads on will have training on how to do well with their ads, and they have the added incentive that if you make money, you’ll buy more ads! So you know the training will be good! 


Relevant customers are always good! Drive is well placed as it implies motion. We are dragging the customer along for the ride! It’s good forward momentum.


“Through qualified direct calls and visits”


What Yell are saying here is that the qualified calls can directly be tracked as can the visits. This can be monitored by PPC or Pay Per Click advertising, which can be run on a variety of different systems. Facebook, Google, wherever you run, you will be able to see where the calls and visits come from. Every business that allows ads will have software in place that will allow you to easily understand the results of your campaigns. 


Direct calls, Website visits and more can be tracked by you and campaigns can be run by you far better for cheaper than Yell will be able to do, as you will not be cutting them in for their slice of the pie. Also when you are in complete control of your business, you can verify everything a lot easier. I’d always recommend running these things yourself before going to a digital marketer, and I’d always recommend going to a marketer before going to a company like Yell.


Qualified is also a good psychological word, as qualified is generally seen as a positive, professional word. 


“With a fully managed advertising campaign from Yell”


Let’s be honest. No one knows your product better than you. Yell boasts to have the experience of working with hundreds of thousands of UK customers, and they do – over the years. They claim to have the knowledge, the experience and the know it all to handle your campaigns – however, they don’t know You.


Your advertising specialist assigned to you does not know every single thing about your company, your products, or how you personally want to appeal to people. They may not even have experience in your field or even know your name, or what your business really does. Even similar businesses operate very differently and want to compete in different ways.


One strategy that may work for 4 out of 5 businesses in a specific field might not work for the other 1 out of 5. That’s not to say that it won’t work, but more so that the chance of someone understanding your business completely enough to advertise effectively for it may be compromised through a lack of knowledge about how your business operates. So how do we deal with this? How do we choose an option that will benefit us more? 


You are much more likely to see better results working with local digital marketers who can visit you, work with your company, work with your products, and get to really know you. It’s far better to have faith in them when it comes to handling your ad campaigns. I have worked for many different companies. I’ve taken photographs for estate agents and examined houses finding out how they were valued. I have worked in restaurants, washing up, waiting tables, cooking main courses, starters and desserts. I have even studied some basic law and learned how to pretend to be professional online so I can properly speak for my clients and give quick answers if required. It’s gaining that extra knowledge that gives me an edge in marketing for these companies I work for, because I have experience. This is the kind of digital marketer you want, and if you can find that locally for a few hundred a month, it’s worth it, even if you only see them once every couple of months. 


“Why you should buy Smart Performance from Yell”


Reasons you shouldn’t buy Smart Performance from Yell. You could probably do it better, if not there will be a local marketer who can run campaigns much better for you, after all they need your custom, so they’re more likely to put in more effort and work harder for you. They’re also local so you can help and work with you.


Going back to you being the main element. You save money by doing these things yourself and they aren’t hard. When you consider it takes a few hours to learn, and then you just sit there after you set up your campaigns watching them tick in the background. No effort. This is much how most digital marketing operates. A few hours spent learning then leaving the advertising to do its job will yield great results over time and save you tonnes of money.


With the money you have saved, you can invest this into running more adverts or in getting people to write blogs for you to increase your website’s influence over time. 


This is a direct order and I’m very much against this in marketing. Reasons why you should buy something are always good. But I’m more for the idea that you should consider buying or consider investing instead. It’s less aggressive. 


“When comparing the results of Smart Performance campaigns to standalone PPC campaigns during the same timeframe, Smart Performance more than doubled the value returned by reducing average cost per click by 65% and improving average click through rates by 230%[2].”


I can believe that it gave better statistical results. However the important thing to look at is what the results actually did. Where does Yell say this statistically improved web ranking or sales? I mean high retention and sales can easily be tracked, and I cannot stress this enough, this would definitely be the main thing to boast about, would it not?


I believe that Yell mentions click throughs because they can be measured and it is a metric that looks good. It doesn’t matter if you get thousands of click throughs, if they increase your bounce rate and nerf you off the front page of Google, well, they aren’t getting you any more money, and they are losing you money and potential customers, so that’s money wasted and you’re paying to cripple your business! At this point it’s important to think about what you personally want for your company.


Do you personally want your website to perform at it’s best over time getting more and more powerful? If so, invest in blogs.


If you want to consistently sell things through social media and grow an audience over time. Run Facebook ads.


If you want direct clicks to your website, run search ads and display ads. (These are the ones I believe in the least, by the way.)


In my experience, the website is the foundation of businesses in the digital age. You want to fill it full of information, hence the blogging. You can write about or get people to write about products and services, so when people type them in locally they can actually find you through the products and services you provide! Then you can share these onto social media so you always have evergreen posts to share! 


The numbers sound impressive but as mentioned the metrics being covered are not mentioning an increase in sales. Better value for worthless clicks would only increase the bounce rate and have an overall negative impact on your website.


“Digital Specialist

Your campaign will be customised for your business by a Digital Specialist, based on information you provide, your competitive landscape, target audience and your business goals.”


I am a Digital Specialist, and I believe that absolutely anyone with potentially no experience with campaigns or advertising can do better than Yell’s digital specialists really easily and with little time investment. Just follow the steps I mentioned earlier and run a Facebook ad, it’ll get people following you who are actually interested in your business. Empower your site with blogs. Constantly share good content. Gain power and influence over time!


Specialist… Ah yes, this is a great word, it implies experience and knowledge in the field. It also is what you do not consider yourself to be, but rather what the email has said you directly NEED. Experts and Specialists. They’re professionals, but with a designated title. Professionals you can RELY on.


“Click Volumes

Once live our world class tech will monitor click volumes, conversion rates and cost per click to optimise your budget daily and deliver the best return for your investment.”


You aren’t paying enough for world class tech to do this, otherwise you’d be going with higher and mightier companies than Yell. You might be paying for a basic AI to make adjustments. Good god you don’t want that. AI can go wrong, malfunction and create issues with advertising campaigns. Human beings are also very prone to making mistakes, that’s why the old phrase: “Keep it Simple!” Is so effective.


World class, state of the art, top of the line. All buzz-words designed to cajole people into trust. There is no mention of the name of the tech used, meaning it could be absolutely anything, however it’s rare that any marketer reveals their secrets. It’s a good way to make a sale though, as it implies their tech is powerful.



Full performance transparency and analytics are provided through advanced reporting dashboards, with high level statistics available 24/7 from our Yell for Business app.”


It’s nice and comforting to know that the performance will be easily monitored on Yell. Now they may well pull the information as I don’t have that data, however I only trust the results Google and Facebook show me as just about every third party app with any form of access gives sloppy results. With Yell’s sketchy history, I would personally find it hard to trust these dashboards, but that is personal opinion. You only have to look on Facebook to find many groups of people who feel they have been exploited, scammed and abused by Yell. I’m guessing that Y4B stands for Yell For Business. Nice and hip. 


Everything in a nice easy app, so you can track things. What more could you want? No more will you have to go between different advertising dashboards to check things out. Simple, easy and effective. 


“Premier management service from our Yell Agency experts

At the Yell Agency we understand that every business is unique and as such every business requires a different level of service. We apply our advanced digital marketing skills to design bespoke online marketing campaigns for your business (minimum spend applies).”


I hear the word expert thrown around a lot. I am pretty decent at SEO, and it’s one of my best services, however I would not consider my knowledge expert. I would consider Neil Patel an expert in the field, and he is an authority I respect.


Premier means first, or leading, and yet again they mention their Experts, reminding you of who is in control, who has the power. The opening sentence is laughable really. It could be made into less of a mouthful. First Class management services with Yell – Now that is good. It no longer applies the onus on Experts but focuses mainly on the brand. OUR brand backs YOU with OUR services. That’s more powerful than a person who could potentially mess things up.


“At Yell we’re proud to be No.1 for managed digital marketing services for all types of local businesses in the UK[3] and our knowledge and expertise from working with hundreds of thousands of UK businesses can help you achieve your business goals.

  1. We Are Flint, 2018
  2. Yell internal data 2020 (based on over 900 customers).
  3. No.1 in terms of revenue from sales of managed digital marketing services. M-Brain 2019”


Anyone can be Number 1. I’m number 1 on Google for quite a few things here and there. Depending what you type in. (Especially for Chan Walrus, which is my identity as a composer for independent films and games!) It doesn’t mean a whole lot to you where I personally rank, so why should it matter that Yell ranks highly in places too!

1: We are Flint, remade into Cast From Clay is not a world class authority whose opinion I would trust. 

2: What about the over 900 customers on Facebook Yell has upset and taken advantage of. I Hate Yell, Yell.con Miss-sold advertising and more! I don’t think they think Yell is giving them a good service. These people have opinions too.

3: It must be great to be able to sell your own products well. M-brain is a big company and quite respectable, but the metric isn’t. 


If you’re grabbing at your own site in desperation for support, you’re clutching at straws. Knowledge, Expertise. We know how smart you are, thanks. They do have experience, that’s for sure but it doesn’t mean all their staff know how to handle every client. 


“Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Instagram YouTube

© Yell Limited 2020. All rights reserved

3 Forbury Place, Forbury Road, Reading, RG1 3YL

Contact Us

Privacy Policy



As an added bonus, I do not believe I accepted the GDPR compliance for a subscription during the process I signed up through. That’s irritating and unprofessional but it’s about what I’d expect from Yell.


In this email, Yell successfully has proven that they can advertise that they are in the know to people who are not in the know, but they have failed to prove to people in the know that they can market. They answer your potential questions and prove without doubt that they can overwhelm with technobabble 


Yell have successfully marketed themselves, but can they market you?


I would like to thank Angela White for adding her two cents on the psychology behind the marketing here. Special thank you for going through this nightmare of an essay.


If you’re asking yourself “are Yell good?” or wondering more about Yell, and what they do, try looking at the experiences of people who have had a bad experience with them. There are many people working against Yell who have had bad experiences with the company.


If you have been mis sold advertising by Yell or pressured into a contract with them and need to get out of it. I recommend checking out: This link. Danny Richman is an absolute legend and his advice here is top notch!


There are currently quite a few people advertising Yell at the moment it seems. It’s always bad when you need other people to market your products as a marketer.

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