Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Non-conformist
Joined
·
1,581 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read a very interesting post on a small business forum that I think will benefit the members here. I'd post a link, but since it's another forum, I'm not sure how the mods feel about that.

In brief, a plumber on the other forum started a thread about Yellow Pages. Since this forum is about business in general, there are a lot of different perspectives on the subject. Most people don't use YP and many throw it away as soon as it arrives. I rarely use it myself, but I found this comment offers a perspective the members here should find interesting.

I keep mine [referring to Yellow Pages] around and rarely use them, but I did use them to get my proposals for a new high efficiency furnace and a new central air conditioner earlier this year.

I am on the internet literally hours every day, but i found it much easier to use the yellow pages for that task. Plus, the size and type of ads helped me immediately narrow down the list to some of the larger companies.

It was the middle of winter (although fortunately a warmer spell) and my furnace was out. I didn't have time to call a dozen one-truck outfits trying to find one that was free on a one- or two-day notice and i didn't have time to call their references. I figured that any company that could afford a large display ad in the Chicago yellow pages had the resources to get the job done. Conversely, with minimal investment, almost anyone can come up with a website that makes them look like a large, well-established company.

I have also used the yellow pages to find a roofer and a fence company. My brother owns a company that manufactures gutter protection and he told me the other day that anyone who sells or installs gutters really needs to be in the yellow pages.
I'm a web guy, and my clients get a regular flow of business from their web sites. So I strongly advocate having a great web site, but if you're not using YP in your business, it could be costing you.

How have you done with Yellow Pages?

Including some information on your ad and how you handle phone calls will also be helpful. I mean, a lame ad could cause you to claim YP doesn't work, while an effective ad can make a huge difference. And the way you handle phone calls will determine your closing rate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
This is an interesting post for me. For those who don't know me I also own a media company. The older I get the less my body wants to pound nails. Anyway, we currently produce coupon magazines and directories both online and in print. This fall we have decided to take that a step further and publish a new phonebook/yellow pages for our local market.

Being on the other side of the fence so to speak I will be interested in hearing what people's experiences have been. I know I dealt with the phone company books for years and have had good luck and bad with them.

Now you might ask why are we adding another book to the mix? We are taking everything we have learned about yellow pages and creating a new business model. The book will be a little smaller but not just a shrunk down full size book. It will be printed on glossy stock instead of cheap newsprint, and our prices should equal out to about 1.5 months of the big book. (about 1/10 of the price) which shows the markup in the big books. We are not printing the residential white pages and we offer an opt-out feature. In addition we use an award winning yellow page ad design company and we will create a business generating ad for any advertiser as part of their ad package.

Having said all that I am interested in hearing about people's experiences and I am more than willing to offer advice to people planning to use the yellow pages. Done right the yellow pages are still a very viable option but you need to know how to advertise in them. There are many rules and tried and true methods for advertising in the yp and if you just take what the salesman sells you you might as well send me the money and I will tell 10 people how wonderful you are which will be better results than the yp will give you.

In addition any advise I can give on overall advertising just ask.

Dave
Local MediaWorks! Inc
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
669 Posts
NO!


It hasn't worked.
 

·
semi-skilled laborer
Joined
·
2,075 Posts
I guess it would depend on your definition of working out for someone. You will always have someone who invest in only one form of advertisement and then wonders why they are not making a killing. IMO phone books are still good for some business, but in the future they will be totally replaced by the internet.
You cant just buy a YP ad and expect a huge soar in business, it is all a part of brand recognition and making sure you are visible in every possible outlet.
Many people say that to be successful in business you have to be diversified, and that may well be true, but your marketing plan better be even more diversified then the products or services you provide if you really wish to succeed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Nonono

funny that this thread has just popped up, being that i JUST (minutes ago) recieved a sales call from yellowpagesdotcom. The woman who called was extremely rude, and even hung up on me! HA great customer service aye? I don't know how these people making sales pitches like that, can get any business! AKA SHE SUCKED!! lol :no:
 

·
Non-conformist
Joined
·
1,581 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I guess it would depend on your definition of working out for someone. You will always have someone who invest in only one form of advertisement and then wonders why they are not making a killing. IMO phone books are still good for some business, but in the future they will be totally replaced by the internet.
You cant just buy a YP ad and expect a huge soar in business, it is all a part of brand recognition and making sure you are visible in every possible outlet.
Many people say that to be successful in business you have to be diversified, and that may well be true, but your marketing plan better be even more diversified then the products or services you provide if you really wish to succeed.
Excellent points. I certainly would not want to appear I am only advocating one form of advertising. SLSTech's post shows how YP and a web site can work together, and I highly recommend such strategy. YP is out for many types of businesses, mine included. But for contractors, definitely not so (not yet anyway).

PGD, a bit more info would be helpful. For everyone who says, "No," there's probably another local competitor who swears by it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
yellow pages

Back when I was a sub (garage doors) I advertised in the yellow pages.
On the plus side, I got lots of leads, including some GC's that I stayed with for years. But I also found that the same ad worked in certain cities (Los Angeles YP are spread over a wide area) but not at all in others.

On the down side, I got regular calls from YP sales rep letting me know that if I bought a bigger ad, I could capture the competion's market. As soon as I signed up for that, they promptly call the "competion" and told them I was capturing their sales, would they like a bigger ad?
Somehow I was always the guy with the smallest ad.

Now I'm not in the yellow pages which gives me more time to post on CT.
 

·
Boss Man
Joined
·
37 Posts
You gotta do something .... but I think the yellow pages are less effective than ten years ago, due to the internet. (duh) It's complicated, but if you can get a google adwords campaign going you are almost guarenteed calls, albeit costly. The nice thing about internet advertising like google adwords is that when you want to pull the plug, you drop your budget to 49 cents a day and there are no contracts, no monthly fees.

Also, the YP people are selling internet too, I tried it and after 12 months at a grand per month, I couldn't keep doing it. The extra internet juice side of the equation did not make it work for us.
 

·
Design it, and Build it.
Joined
·
81 Posts
YP -Nada

I had a friend tell me he has been paying for the YP ad for 15 years, 15 days after I built his website, http://www.phoenixconstruction.com/ he got a call that payed for the entire website and then some. Since then he has canceled his YP ad, and gets to go out on 3 to 4 more jobs a week then he usually does. Even in this economy.

And the best thing is, he no longer pays a monthly service. I find the exact same thing in my line of business, drafting and design. I get 50% of my business from the site.

Websites the way to go in my mind. I do a little design work on the side - so if your interested, let me know. Be glad to quote you out.

Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,453 Posts
No, the phonebook didn't work for me. IMHO, It's a total waste of money. I get more bang for my buck with my website, CL, door hangers, signs & plenty of referrals.
 

·
Sean
Joined
·
5,514 Posts
Dave as an FYI, you are tripping over the spam line

In most major markets, or tech savvy area's the web is generally the way to go. In some locations though the Yellow Book or Pages is still a viable means of advertising. It is about knowing your customers & how they find what they need or want. If there was one magical system that worked for all people that would be great - but there isn't & trying to sell your method as it, is flat out wrong. Now I will add to this, for those of you that don't have a website - if you're not already in trouble right now, you soon will be as the internet is taking over more & more
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,920 Posts
I haven't had much success with the y.p.. One obstacle is that there are four different books and they all say their book is the most successful. Another problem is that there are a whole gang of full page ads, and large ads, so it can be overwhelming with all the choices.

This time, instead of being under the Heating Contractor heading with 300+ outfits, I am going to try listings under furnace repair and water heater dealers. The past results have been discouraging, but I don't think pulling the plug is wise either. Any advise is certainly welcome
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
Yp

I've been in my own business for 20 some years, before, I was deeply involved with the small shops like me & the owners always advocated a yellow page ad of decent size as absolutely essential. That goes back to the days when Ma Bell controlled it all and there weren't a vast array of yp books.

My business learning comes largely from those guys, First rule is to pay the help first before you. Treat every customer well.

When I started my company, I placed a large ad in the yp controlled by the local phone co., resisting the ad pressure from a growing number of directories. I carried that for a few years then decided to drop it as we have always relied on word of mouth in our small market area & needed to cut costs. I always felt that the calls coming in were prospects letting their fingers do the walking - on my back. After 2 years of hearing from many clients thinking I went out of business due to just having the single line free listing. I resumed with the smallest ad available with very carefully chosen lines, primarily to let our existing clients know we are here. It is only with the local phone company's directory. I don't feel a need to carry an ad with the now very numerous independant yp directories decorating my desk.

Comments unsolicited from many prospects state they called because of the modest ad in the directory issued by the phone co. with the reasoning that big ads cost money adding to overhead and if your good, people will find you.

In large metro areas, or any company seeking rapid growth, a large ad is sometimes necessary tocatch attention. Large metro areas don't seem to generate much customer loyalty like it does in a smaller area. However, the very best advertising is word of mouth wherever you are. There is no one size fits all. It seems the directory that comes with your phone service is the most important. The others are just hangers-on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,249 Posts
Dave as an FYI, you are tripping over the spam line

In most major markets, or tech savvy area's the web is generally the way to go. In some locations though the Yellow Book or Pages is still a viable means of advertising. It is about knowing your customers & how they find what they need or want. If there was one magical system that worked for all people that would be great - but there isn't & trying to sell your method as it, is flat out wrong. Now I will add to this, for those of you that don't have a website - if you're not already in trouble right now, you soon will be as the internet is taking over more & more

This is true.

My area is a mix bag. The Yellow pages and my website both perform well for my.
 

·
Sean
Joined
·
5,514 Posts
I haven't had much success with the y.p.. One obstacle is that there are four different books and they all say their book is the most successful. Another problem is that there are a whole gang of full page ads, and large ads, so it can be overwhelming with all the choices.

This time, instead of being under the Heating Contractor heading with 300+ outfits, I am going to try listings under furnace repair and water heater dealers. The past results have been discouraging, but I don't think pulling the plug is wise either. Any advise is certainly welcome
How many calls do you get from each book you advertise in? How much from lettered trucks, website, etc... If you only get 3 calls but are staying busy - drop them. If it is a good portion of your business - well your stuck.

HVAC is almost a guaranteed trade that seemingly needs to be in there, but going against 300 competitors - well your ad had better stand out, or you need to find another angle of attack.

How much is spent on advertising, could a PPC campaign work out better for you? Do you hand out magnets that they can put on their units or on their frig? Go Green - as in hand out or offer discounted programmable thermostats with your companies name & phone number on their - if they have a problem, your name is right there for them to call.

I am pretty sure I found your website 37... & if it is I would definitely work on it. Signature links to help drive traffic to it, etc... I would see if you can kick start your website traffic & leads to offset dropping the books or minimizing your ad. Do you have your website on your yellow page ads? I didn't see it listed on your van (which is not helping to sell your services - move it towards the bottom of your web page & put a large phone number towards the top)

The Yellow Pages is screwing you online (at least on the search I did) - your name pops up on their search result on Bing, but when you click the link, you are no where on the page
 

·
Workin' Hard & Havin' Fun
Joined
·
1,763 Posts
We generate (and sell) from internet yellowpages, print books, and our website. Not to mention our trucks, jobsite signs, referrals, and radio ads. Oh, and google ads as well!

I'd consider dropping the books... but it still fills a key role for us.
FWIW, I design my own ads. It's great to hear the reps go "wow, that's really nice! I haven't seen one like that [email protected]" LOL

Here's a question for you guys on "the other side of the fence":
How can you negotiate with the big yellowbook companies? I know the restaurant guys are supposed to get great discounts, but I haven't figured how to crack the code yet... WHat are the buttons to push?


~Matt
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top