Yellow Page Advertisers: Your Calls are Going to Decrease - Heres the Remedy
Response rates to Yellow Page advertising are declining
There's no getting around it, traditional Yellow Pages arein trouble. Fewer people use them every year. Even the best-pulling ad in the section isn't getting the number ofcallers or sales it used to. At the same time, the monthlycost to maintain your same-size directory ad keeps going up.
Simply tinkering with ad size (or options like color) can'tcompensate for the adverse developments. Declining usageimpacts each directory category differently. Some (likecontractors and lawyers) are declining more steeply thanothers. Emergency service providers (tow trucks, plumbers)are holding their own. While categories like cell phones andlawn furniture are growing rapidly, with increased consumerdemand.
Advertising only in the Yellow Pages is no longer a safe bet
- Over half of all customers go to the Internet first to find product information and sources - even if they intend to spend their money locally
- People increasingly trust the Internet as a source of information about major purchases (and has overtaken the newspaper for used car sales)
- Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) are kept up to date (unlike print directories) and can be searched from anywhere - their usage is growing 25% a year
- A large percentage of young adults or business buyers never consult the Yellow Page directory at all - and they control an expanding chunk of dollars spent
Rethink the role Yellow Page advertising plays for yourenterprise
Take a serious look at how much you rely on the Yellow Pagedirectory to bring new business. Are most or all of yourpromotional dollars spent there? Do your expectations matchthe number and kinds of customers your ad actually bringsyou?
Your strategy needs to consider all the ways youattract new customers. Recognize changed customerpreferences and buying habits for your specific type ofoperation. The issue isn't whether or not to advertise inthe Yellow Pages. If you've been there you should continue. But switch some of those dollars into marketing methods thatconnect with buyers who won't look for you there.
Follow these steps, with them all sending a clear, consistent message
1. Get listed in Internet Yellow Pages (IYP); there aremany of them; some are free
2. Make sure your website provides the informationsearch engines require for Local Search. Learn how to dothat at http:www. yellowpagesage. com/localsearch. html
3. Beef up your website with the information customerslook for (or join a portal of local businesses)
4. Submit articles about your enterprise online; findextensive assistance at http://www. promotewitharticles. com
Keep track of what's delivering new business. Commit toasking every new customer and caller how they found you. That's the only way to know which method is winning; orwhere to shift emphasis and money for the next year.
Pursue ways to increase business from your existingcustomers
The value of Yellow Page advertising is mainly to attractnew customers. People who know you already are more likelyto find your number in the business white (alphabetical)listings. Start working harder to strengthen thoserelationships so they stay loyal. Efforts spent to servethem better (or to get referrals from them) does more forprofits than constantly chasing new customers can.
Get started well BEFORE the directory deadline
Some day soon it's time to renew your directory listing foranother year. Let this be the year that you've figured outyour strategy well in advance. Make your new strategy afront-burner, squeeky-wheel priority. Yellow Page Smarts, http://www. yellowpagesage. com/smarts. html explains how tomake your Yellow Page ad and Internet marketing support eachtogether effectively.
If your next directory deadline hasn't come yet, there'sstill time to change your ad for next year (like add yourwebsite address address - a study found 60% of directoryusers only call Yellow Page ads with a website!). If you'realready committed, spend the next year getting the rest ofyour strategy in place. Your timely efforts can compensatefor the decline in Yellow Page advertising's effectiveness. And you won't be caught off guard.
© 2004, Lynella Grant