I came across this video recently and thought it was pretty interesting. For years consumers and businesses alike have used the Yellow Pages (and other versions of it) to locate businesses in their local area.
However, now that technology hands you literally thousands of results with a single 2-3 word phrase, the question is, “Do we still need the yellow pages and is it the best use of a business’ marketing dollars?”
My opinion is that it really depends. It depends on your overall marketing strategy. It depends on your marketing and advertising budget. It also depends on the ad itself.
One of the considerations you should have before committing to advertise on the costly yellow pages is the media itself. Within the last 7 years or so, a huge population of consumers have gradually moved away from traditional forms of business searching and now go to their cell phones, search engines or their favorite online business directly like Yelp, Urban Spoon, Merchant Circle, and City Search.
Another consideration is the cost of advertisement vs. the return on investment. Unfortunately for most businesses paying for their ads to appear in the yellow pages, their main focus is getting exposure and not necessarily keeping track of the results they’re getting. Chances are, they don’t even know how to track the response on their ads at all.
If you’ve advertised in the yellow pages in the past, were you aware of exactly how many calls or visitors you’ve received because of the ad itself (not including other marketing you were doing at the time). With technology, this tracking process is now possible and isn’t very expensive at all.
Lastly, if you’re looking to advertise in the yellow pages, the ad itself could be the most important aspect to determine if the ad will be successful (or effective at all). For small to medium sized businesses, the luxury of spending money on branding alone may be too costly since resources are often limited. It’s for that reason that you should design your ad to get a direct response from the viewer of the ad.
Contrary to what most advertisers do, you should only have one specific call to action so the viewer knows exactly what to do. The biggest mistake I’ve witnessed has been offering a business phone number, an 800 number, a cell phone number, a fax number, an email address, the physical address, and a website… (I’m exhausted just typing them all). What is the viewer supposed to do next?
Just make it dead simple for them to engage with you. You may try something like this “To Get A Free Marketing Review On Your Website Or Advertising Piece To Increase Your Response By 87%, Call Now At 800-890-7461”
How did that make you feel? Does it leave you unclear about how to get involved with us? Does is leave you guessing about what to expect when you call? That’s exactly what you want your yellow page ad (and all your advertising and marketing) to instill in your prospects mind.
It’s either that or seeing page after page of ads with no clear benefit or clear call to action.
Have you utilized the yellow pages to get more clients? Do you still use them to find local businesses to shop at or visit?
How can you apply this into your current advertising? I’d love to hear your comments below.