Some may say printed yellow pages are no longer a viable advertising medium. This is simply not true. Millions of people do use their yellow page directories. But how often and for what purpose? The yellow pages are fast, easy to use, and reliable. They are highly localized, which narrows information to your town or city. The yellow pages are handy and accessible even when the power is out. Try going online for information when you have no electricity.
One of the biggest advantages to yellow page advertising is that customers using the yellow pages are already looking for your service or product. The downside is that on the same page with your ad, there are many other ads for the same product or service. Turn this disadvantage into an advantage by using other, more intrusive types of advertising like TV, Cable, and Radio to create Name Awareness. So when someone does open the Yellow Pages your name will jump out as someone they know. Who would you rather buy from, someone with a large Yellow Page Ad you have never heard of, or a small Ad from someone you recognize?
Of course, there are disadvantages to yellow page advertising. One problem is committing to an entire year of advertising. Put some thought into it. The infrequency of ad changes can be a disadvantage to yellow page advertising as well. Taking your business in new directions may render your ad pointless by year’s end. Yellow page ads run for an entire year, and some people keep the same yellow page book for multiple years before replacing them with the new one. This means your ad may contain outdated information and misrepresent your business if you are not careful about designing it.
Any business person knows to follow the model of successful companies. Just look at the size of the yellow page ads for large companies you know, like Wal-Mart, Macy’s, McDonalds, etc. Yellow page advertising must not be very successful with all those established companies choosing not to place display ads there. Why wouldn’t they continue to place display ads if they were successful?
The biggest disadvantage of Yellow Page advertising is that it gives business owners a false sense of security. After consulting with literally thousands of business owners across the country, it never ceases to amaze me how most small business owner will spend 75% or more of their advertising budget on Yellow Page advertising. Because they have a “Display Ad” in the book, they think they are advertising. But the Yellow Pages is just a directory. People only use it when they don’t already know who to call or know someone who does.
If you think about it, the Yellow Page book is closed over 99% of the time. How many minutes is your Yellow Page book open in your home each day? If the book is closed over 99% of the time, how can it promote your business? It can’t! Every business should have some representation in the Yellow Pages, but how much. The Yellow Page representative will tell you that bigger is better, because that’s their job. But look at the bigger businesses in your area and you will find that they spend a large percentage of the overall advertising budget in advertising medias that reach people BEFORE they need the product or service. Name awareness and market share go hand in hand. If you want a larger piece of the pie, then you need to put your name in front of more people, more often.
When placing yellow page advertising, consider all the advantages and disadvantages. If yours is a locally based company, print advertising in the yellow pages can be a valuable tool. It reaches customers who are ready to buy your product or service. Be sure your ad is competitive or shows advantage of choice over similar businesses. Last of all design your ad and place it to reach a wide variety of potential customers. Yellow page advertising can be a very valuable tool when properly purchased and used in conjunction with more intrusive advertising that promotes your business name.