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  • #969367
    Felicity_Sapphire
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    Hi everyone,

    Just wanting to gauge people’s thought and experiences with Yellow Pages advertising – good, bad or indifferent!

    I’m weighing up whether to place an ad, but I’m of the school of thought that the book is a bit out dated as a means of advertising.

    Thanks
    Felicity

    #1038323
    Anonymous
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    Hi Felicity,

    Here are a couple of threads on the subject that might be interesting:

    http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/sales-marketing/8090-yellow-pages.html
    http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/sales-marketing/7069-yellow-pages-getting-skinnier.html

    Good luck with your deliberations.
    Jayne

    #1038324
    MarketingHQ
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    Hi Felicity,

    I think you’ll find a fairly consistent response from everyone on the forum as the topic has been discussed a few times as pointed out by Jayne. The consensus being to save your money.

    For the cost, the return on investment is limited as people just don’t use it as much to search for service providers. Just look at how much thinner your Yellow Pages gets every year. You’re better off spending some money on SEO and targeting relevant keywords for your accountancy practice.

    I’ll leave it to some of the others to share their experiences with you as I’ve never advertised in it.

    All the best,

    Chris

    #1038325
    Steve_Minshall
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    Here is what I said about Yellow Pages advertising and my experience a while back:

    http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/starting-business/4804-what-biggest-issues-starting-business.html#post23514

    Further to this I have come to the following conclusion with the help of the good folks on FS.

    YP book: no thanks.

    YP on-line: have a presence, but the minimum you can get away with. The reason for this is because I believe (based on the advice of others more knowledgeable) that it helps you with verification to get in to Google Maps listings. YP on-line has done nothing for my business in terms of traffic but google maps can be very powerful when people do location based searches.

    Disclaimer: I am in retail. I don’t know what industry you are in so I can only tell you what did/didn’t work for me. YP book may be fine for some demographics just not mine.

    #1038326
    melbstrip
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    Have to agree with the majority that YP Book is a waste of time and money. In the electronic age with more and more people connecting to the net with their phones, having an online prescence is essential.

    Steve mentioned about YP Online and Google Maps, this is the only option I would go for, even though I think on my industry more trouble than its worth.

    #1038327
    johnpaulgrant
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    Agree with everyone else. From my experiences in the last couple of years, it has not given me a return on investment.

    I can think of many ways your money could be better spent. You are better off putting it in Google Adwords if you have a decent idea as to what you are doing. Most other internet marketing channels simply require time as opposed to money.

    #1038328
    Hugh Thyer
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    The question is, if you’ve advertised in the YPA before, did it get you results that justify it being run? If you get an ad in for $2k and it brings in $20k of business then it’s worth it. Consider the lifetime value of a client in accounting. Even a $5k ad that brings in $5k worth of work is easy to justify when you remember how many years you keep that customer.

    Also, with everyone getting out of the yellowpages, competition is less and this could well work to your advantage.

    #1038329
    kbrookes
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    This is something I’ve had a few discussions about recently.

    A couple of points that might help you decide:

    It’s worth noting that local search is on the rise – massively (using Google and other search engines). A large part of that is being driven by a huge increase in mobile search, which by its very nature is typically local. Google is also reducing the importance of directories like the Yellow Pages and TrueLocal in its search algorithms because users are increasingly preferring Google’s own local search.

    I was approached by TrueLocal recently after placing a free local ad for our services. They wanted me to spend $280 per month on a premium listing for the #2 spot in our industry for the entire of the Sunshine Coast and another $250 per month to have the entire of Brisbane in a non-premium listing.

    I asked about the volume of ad impressions and the click-through rates that these searches would be likely to achieve.

    The data they gave me back was 3,000 ad impressions per month. To date, they’ve totally avoided any question which involves click-through rates.

    Looking at it objectively however, this is not remotely a wise investment unless I have absolutely no other way to generate traffic.

    Although the impressions are going to be somewhat relevant to the user’s search (they also didn’t tell me what specific search terms would display my ad, so I can’t effectively gauge the relevance) I’d be extremely lucky to get a 10% click-through rate – the average for sponsored results can be lower than 1%.

    Considering they’ve been very reluctant to give me the clickthrough rate, I’ll be generous and say it’s 5%.

    So that’s just 150 visits to my site per month and only if my listing is fairly broad – i.e. not targeted to one very specific niche in my industry.

    If I’d spent that money on AdWords instead, I could target terms that are more indicative of a readiness to purchase, rather than just tyre kickers:

    E.g.: ‘joomla trainer Sunshine Coast’ is a search term that is much closer to the ‘purchase’ phase of a searching cycle than ‘web designers’.

    If I pay for the first term on AdWords, it’ll come up fair rarely (the traffic estimator says ‘never’) but if it does, I’ll have a very specific niche searcher who’s almost certainly ready to pay for training. And I might have paid as little as $0.05c total for that particular term.

    ‘Web designers’ however has over 22,000 local searches a month at a cost of $5 a click. That term is just as likely to be indicative of tyre-kickers – it’s not very targeted.

    So getting back to TrueLocal (and by extension, the Yellow Pages), while users of that site are generally going to be searching for a service, there’s not really a way to separate the wheat from the chaff with regards to informational vs. purchasing searches.

    The only way to get specific is to ensure your ad is very niche: i.e., you’re a plumber, but your ad focuses purely on unclogging drains 24/7 with a one-hour callout.

    So you miss all the other plumbing-related jobs, but every click-through will be highly targeted to this one nice and therefore much more likely to convert to a sale.

    For my money, this is why I prefer search marketing. I can setup a variety of landing pages on my that focus on different areas that my business (or my clients business) covers. Match that with some enticing ad copy for groups of very specific keywords.

    I get less traffic to my site, but it’s more specific, qualified traffic – and much more likely to purchase. Plus, through custom landing pages I can give them a targeted pitch with a strong call-to-action associated closely with their search.

    I don’t care about the volume of impressions or even the volume of clicks. Those metrics are utterly worthless when taken alone as a measure of value.

    The more specific your ad is to what people are searching for, the better qualified your traffic will be – and hence more likely to purchase.

    So your decision may come down to one of specificity

    • how broad will your ad be?
    • How qualified will your visitors be through that ad?
    • What will your clickthrough rate be?
    • More importantly, your conversion rate?

    Without knowing your industry, it’s impossible even to guess. Perhaps you’re in an area that’s super-simple and almost any enquiry from YP or TL would result in a sale.

    But the time has long passed when the Yellow Pages or TrueLocal were an essential tool for generating new business – it can be, but there are other really excellent options out there that will work much more effectively for many, many businesses.

    #1038330
    Steve_Minshall
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    Hugh Thyer, post: 46314 wrote:
    The question is, if you’ve advertised in the YPA before, did it get you results that justify it being run? If you get an ad in for $2k and it brings in $20k of business then it’s worth it. Consider the lifetime value of a client in accounting. Even a $5k ad that brings in $5k worth of work is easy to justify when you remember how many years you keep that customer.

    Also, with everyone getting out of the yellowpages, competition is less and this could well work to your advantage.

    Yes but with Yellow Pages you are not talking these kind of $s. Unless they have radically dropped their prices in the last couple of years, $2k will buy you barely a line ad. $5k an add a little bigger than the size of a stamp. All these ads say is “I am an also ran” and you will be stuffed at the back of the classification.

    I believe the only people who get success in Yellow Pages are the ones who pay up big, sign up early and are in classifications without much competition for space AND have multiple outlets to share the cost over.

    The YP book may work for you but the first time is simply an expensive gamble, you start paying up to 6 months in advance of getting any benefit and you don’t really know what you are getting (in terms of positioning in the classification) until you get your copy of the book and open it with trepidation.

    Another issue that has not been mentioned is that you can not realistically test it in a timely manner. Adwords can be turned on and off at will, you can trial an ad in a newspaper, try one month in a magazine, on the radio etc.

    Here was may testing phase with YP book:

    Test 1
    New business sign up for $8k for 2 small ads, pay monthly instalments for 6 months while waiting for book to be printed, using up cash flow with no advertising being done. Result for year after publication ROI negative.

    Test 2
    Sign up for $12k to add colour and new design with copy-writing help from YP expert. Pay instalments for 6 months while still running with old ineffective ads and waiting for new ad to be published. Result for year after publication ROI negative.

    Test 3
    Signed up for $25k for larger more prominent ads (without colour). Paid instalments etc.. ROI negative.

    This was when I pulled the plug. Now who knows my next test which would have been large colour ads may have been the one that worked and made my fortune. But this would have taken another year and I guess $30k+ to test. The point is it had taken me 3 years and $45k to find out what didn’t work. This was when the business was starting and I could not afford it.

    Testing cycle with Adwords:
    Set up some ads, run ads, get billed after getting traffic (this bit has changed a little but it is still pretty much PAYG), pay by credit card to get another month of cash flow, see benefit, increase budget, spend the next 5 years improving and managing budgets to target exposure to the hour.

    #1038331
    Felicity_Sapphire
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    Thanks Everyone for your replies – it’s certainly good food for thought and it’s confirmed my thinking.

    Steve, I have read through your other thread on the topic & found it extremely informative. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    Kelsey, very interesting info, and mostly things that I hadn’t thought about.

    I couldn’t find the search button for in the forums (as opposed to the site one) to see if the question had already been asked – sorry to be repeating recent topics.

    #1038332
    Anonymous
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    Felicity_Sapphire, post: 46365 wrote:
    I couldn’t find the search button for in the forums (as opposed to the site one) to see if the question had already been asked – sorry to be repeating recent topics.

    Hi Felicity,

    Apologies – the site-wide search doesn’t include the forum any more. But there is a forum-specific search in the grey bar at the top of the forum web pages.

    Hope that helps for next time,
    Jayne

    #1038333
    kbrookes
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    Hi Steve,

    I agree to a point, but as the article mentioned, Google is now devaluing the weight of directories and their role in SEO. Simply put, directories are less relevant these days and so Google considers them less important than they were in the past.

    I can’t see the value in spending $600 for questionable SEO value and minimal traffic volume.

    #1038334
    Debra
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    I agree with everyone spend your money on SEO, I do all my own SEO not only have I become addicted to it and pretty good if I do say so myself, but it has helped push sales up alot in the past 6 months.

    #1038335
    Debra
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    Hey well I’m addicted as in Im always looking for ways to improve my website SEO performance.. I just love it.

    I also have just started working for a good friends marketing company I do website reviews for him doing design and SEO over views of each site.

    I’m also working on a SEO handbook so I can go out and see small business who want to do their own SEO and teach them how.
    In my area only.

    Looking at your site I really like your design!
    Your ranking so well on Fire Fox for your chosen keywords so thats awesome!
    And all your traffic seems to be coming from new traffic due to your awesome use of keywords!
    I’m sure you know what your doing!

    Looks good!

    #1038336
    Debra
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    I know so dodgy!
    It really peeves me when people are out there paying Ad Words and organically charging our sites up and they sneek in. GRRRR..

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