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Should Small Business Advertise in the Yellow Pages Phone Book?
First and foremost, I'd like to state something that others do not: I AM A BUSINESS OWNER (I own several LLC's and have employees). If I had to guess, I would say that 90% of what you read is NOT written by people who own businesses and is instead written by people who either simply want to write content or people who read something on another site and regurgitate the content; either way, you're not getting *accurate* information. So today we shall discuss the reality of yellow page advertising.
THE YELLOW PAGES "DELIVERY DAY" AT MY STORE
I have a store in a 22-space plaza. My store is in the center of the plaza and I have clear view of the community waste-management garbage bin (dumpster). On the day the Yellow Pages are delivered, I can watch the business employees, one by one, walk their Yellow Pages to the trash and chuck it in. I do the same. - I guess this article is off to a great start in regard to answering your question, eh?
How Much Does It Cost to Advertise In The Yellow Pages?
An ad is only as good as its placement. Any form of print ad requires prime placement and knowledge of how placement works. An excellent placed ad will run you around $7,000 - $24,000 a year. $24,000 a year is $2,000 PER MONTH. Think of what you could do with $2,000 a month!
WHO READS THE YELLOW PAGES?
I would respond to "who reads the yellow pages" by saying "nobody", but that isn't true. However the demographic of reader is without a doubt nobody I know. I am 32 and I don't think I have even opened a Yellow Pages since...hmmmm.... 1999? Actually, I retract that statement; when I was selling on eBay in 2005/2006-ish I used to rip out pages of the Yellow Pages to use as shipping material, which did require me to open the Yellow Pages.
At one point in my late teen-years I was a telemarketer and we used to use the White Pages to call and solicit people.
In 2013, I don't know a single individual who uses the Yellow Pages. My parents even use the internet and their smart phones to look up information. I do the same, my friends (ages 25 - 47) do the same. My employees are in their later-teens to mid-twenties and I don't think they know what The Yellow Pages is. KEEP IN MIND: A 17-year old was BORN when cell phones were already around (and after 2Pac was dead and even after the Tonya Harding arrest & charged for attack of skater Nancy Kerrigan - and to make you feel even older, in 1994, the OJ Simpson / LA cops chase his Ford Bronco for 1½ hours on live television.)
So WHO reads the Yellow Pages?... I think the answer is pretty clear...
YELLOW PAGES ADVERTISEMENT = NOTHING?
Here's one of the biggest issues; lets say your running lots of marketing campaigns to generate business - how are you going to know where the business comes from? Unless you pay for an insanely expensive Yellow Pages Advertisement that people can actually "cut out" (or print), you will have no way of determining the traffic source is the YellowPages.
Here's the complications for most businesses: I am a little different because I went to school for Graphic Design, so for me, making my own coupons (and not paying for the graphic design) saves me ungodly amounts of money a year for professional grade coupons. I can then make a separate coupon for each entity I PLACE my coupon on with a code or design that allows me to know where my redeemed coupon came from. For example, this particular coupon (mine is the pink one in the center):
was a coupon I made. I split the cost of the ad with a fellow local business and made the coupon valid for 20% off total purchase at either business (our business are located 6 miles apart).
i have never used this same design for any other coupon, so if redeemed I know the source is Pizza Box Advertising.
I have made coupons for fundraisers, charity events, etc that are each different:
Coupon Example 1
Coupon Example 2:
Even My Own Business Cards for Certain Events With Coupon on Back
Anyways, like I was saying; each time a coupon is redeemed, I know where it came from. When you have to keep reusing the same coupon over and over because you don't want to pay for revisions, you end up not knowing where each coupon came from.
In addition, paying for your phone number and address to be included in the Yellow Pages doesn't exactly "help" because (unless you ask every caller where they got your number), you have the same issue: unknown traffic sources.
The problem with not knowing your traffic sources is that you are going to be continually throwing away money on marketing that ISN'T working as opposed to focusing on channels that ARE working.
YELLOW PAGE AD ALTERNATIVES
My business gets more customers based of FREE internet advertising than anything:
Free Local Ad Listings
Having a website
Being listed in the Verizon Navigation Search Directory
Being listed on Google Local Businesses
So why pay for what is free? Yes, it takes time to create all of the above; but spending time for something that lasts forever is a better deal than spending money on something that doesn't and equally does not have guaranteed results of any kind.
If you want to spend money on advertising, invest in the best promotional products and give them away for free. They will bring you far more business because you can drop coupons everywhere for "free (promotional item name); no purchase necessary" and drive people into your establishment OR "free (promotional item name) with X-amount of purchase"
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