Fred Lebhart Posted by Fred Lebhart on April 08, 2011

Marketing Your Business: Website or Yellow Pages?

Marketing your Business: Should you invest in your website or the Yellow Pages?

How much do you spend on Yellow Pages advertising each year? More important, are you getting your money?s worth?

business-marketing.jpgIf you are not reviewing your Yellow Pages ad results on a regular basis, you may be tossing hard-earned dollars down the drain. Yellow Pages ads have a number of built-in limitations that may reduce the effectiveness of your advertising dollar and restrict your ability to reach new patients.

These limitations include:

  • High cost. Depending on its size and location, a Yellow Pages ad can cost up to $20,000 per year. And you can easily spend another $5,000 designing a customized ad. At those rates, it takes a lot of customers just to break even on the cost of the ad. Plus, studies show that the phone directory companies continue to raise their fees far beyond current inflation rates.
  • Cluttered media. You spend a lot of money to design and place your ad, and where do you end up? Depending on the size of your market, right next to dozens, perhaps even hundreds of companies all competing for your next customer.
  • Lack of flexibility. In today?s mass-media world, it takes a variety of messages to reach your audience and motivate them to contact you. Yet, once your Yellow Pages ad goes into the directory, that?s it. You can?t make any changes for a full 12 months.
  • Difficult to test. Because of their inflexibility, Yellow Pages ads don?t allow you to test different marketing approaches. Once you place an ad, you have to wait a year to test a new headline or message. And unless a patient says they found you through the phone directory, you have no way of knowing the effectiveness of your ad.
  • Reach the wrong market. Yellow Pages ads tend to attract only elderly and non-internet savvy. While these people can augment your regular clientele, they?re not the kind of customers upon which you can build a healthy, growing business.

With the Yellow Pages, it depends entirely on what you?re advertising. If I owned a shoe store that specialized in orthopedics, I would take out a large full page ad. The elderly who are in need of orthopedics still use this directory. It?s all about your demographic. There are several good reasons to advertise in the Yellow Pages, but it?s nowhere near as valuable as it once was. All advertising (especially print) is undergoing a major revolution.

Search engines have taken over as the method of finding products and services. That aside, there is also a tangible SEO benefit to having your website linked in directories like this. However, the cost of the link is most often not worth the investment. If you wish to use Yellow Pages, then try it once. Use a unique phone number and a unique website. Negotiate very hard with the sales representative. They often charge ten times more than the fair market price on print advertising.

Don?t get scammed! And carefully monitor the responses you receive.

Otherwise you are best to utilize the current major marketing method of SEO and Social Media. Even late adopters such as the elderly are catching on to this. The simplicity of looking things up via Google and Bing have replaced the cumbersome task of thumbing through a yellow pages book. And more and more people are becoming aware of what directories really are. A place to pay for advertising. And people want to know what?s fair information, not what some company has paid to make you believe! 

Improve your marketing and advertising

Contact us at 206.384.4909 or through our web contact form here if you would like to learn more about the advantages of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media. Leave the yellow dinosaur (yellow pages) in the past.