Should You Still Advertise in the Phone Book?

Is Advertising in Yellow Pages Worth It for Small Business?

Yello Pages cartoonIn the past, advertising in the printed Yellow Pages was one of the most effective ways for small businesses to advertise. You placed your ad in the section related to your industry and waited for people to notice your add and give you a call. But online advertising has changed the world of advertising immensely. Also, Yellow Page ads aren’t cheap and the bigger and more eye-catching the ad, the more expensive it gets. Is it still worth doing?

Has online search engine marketing made phone book advertising obsolete? Before shelling out for another year of advertisements in the printed Yellow Pages, you should ask yourself if your target market still refers to the phone book. According to recent studies, 80% of people looking for a product or service now search the internet first. They may reach for the phone book as a second or third option. These statistics don’t bode well for printed Yellow Page advertising. Should you be generating leads traditionally captured through the phone book only through search engine marketing? Is it necessary to run both marketing campaigns?

It is possible that the type of business you run or target demographic still relies on phone book searches. In the next two sections we will help you to determine whether there is still value in advertising in the phone book or whether you can achieve a better return on investment through a different marketing strategy.

Determine ROI of Ad Campaign

The first thing we need to consider is how many leads an advertising campaign needs to generate in order to get a reasonable return on investment (better than breaking even). Below is a calculation for a hypothetical small business:

Cost of Campaign                           $3000
Value of New Customer                        $50
Customers Needed to Break Even                60
Lead-to-sale Ratio                            10
Leads Needed to Break Even                   600
Leads Needed for 100% ROI                   1200

If $3000 is the cost of an annual Yellow Pages ad campaign, based on an average customer value of $50, you would need 600 leads for this ad campaign to break even. That is almost two calls a day! Perform the same calculation on other advertising options to determine which is likely to provide a better ROI. With online advertising campaigns typically having very low cost per thousand impressions, you might want to reconsider continuing your printed Yellow Pages ad campaign.

Tracking Leads from Yellow Pages

If you think your Yellow Pages ad campaign is still generating leads and you want to continue, it would be a good idea to use the next year to actively track how many leads come from the phone book. That will give you a feel for how many leads the campaign is actually generating and whether it is enough to warrant continuing this campaign. Here are some ideas to help you do this:

  • Create a promotional code customers can provide if they found your ad in the Yellow Pages.
  • Create a separate landing page on your website for your Yellow Pages ad.
  • Set-up a dedicated phone number for your Yellow Pages ad.
  • Create a short survey on your website that asks how the customer learned about your business.

By the following year you should have a better understanding of how well your Yellow Pages advertising campaign is performing and make adjustments accordingly.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Don Catling

    I will not be using the yellow pages book version starting this year. In the past I have been expanding and have been using Yellow pages for the last 5 years. It has been a very expensive advertising campaign and the results were not what I expected. I have also been using the online version of Yellow pages and it to is getting expensive. I am hoping that there other options out there that will allow me the opportunity to get my business name into the communities that I service without having to resort to expensive means.

  2. Pingback: Small business Online Marketing Newsletter 2015 | Marketing Darcy

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