By Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach
As a marketing coach, one of the most common misconceptions that I run across in my business is that marketing = advertising. I've even had potential clients tell me (regretfully, of course) that although they need new clients to reach their sales targets, they can't afford to advertise, so they can't afford my services.
"Yes, it's a catch-22 situation," they say with heavy sighs. "I really need new clients, but I just don't have the money to spend on advertising."
Luckily for them, marketing isn't (just) advertising. Oh, sure, advertising is a tactic used in some marketing plans, but certainly isn't necessary or even cost effective for many small businesses. And this applies even to the most basic form of advertising for small businesses: the Yellow Pages.
So the question is, when does it pay to advertise in the Yellow Pages? Your Yellow Pages ad rep will tell you that when people use the Yellow Pages, they are often ready to buy. Customers use the Yellow Pages to narrow down the choices, and typically make only two to three calls to compare prices and availability before making the purchase. Satisfied Yellow Pages advertisers often say that their Yellow Pages ads are the only marketing they need to do to keep business booming.
Sounds promising, doesn't it? Yes, it sounds like Yellow Pages advertising would be a no-brainer, but the truth is that these wonderful opportunities are only available to a certain segment of businesses. Is your business one of those businesses that will find success in the Yellow Pages? Maybe it is, but then again, maybe it is not.
Ask yourself these questions to determine if Yellow Pages advertising really is a good fit for your business:
Do your customers call you with an immediate and urgent need for your product or service? If you offer emergency services such as plumbing, car towing, household appliance repair, then this type of advertising may be a good way to introduce yourself to your customers when they are ready to pull out the credit cards and make the purchase.
Is your product or service considered "special occasion" or used infrequently? Catering services, tuxedo rentals, photographers, and other products or services that are used only rarely are often chosen from the Yellow Pages.
Is the Yellow Pages category for your product or service extensive, with lots of color ads? If so, then perhaps others in the same industry have found Yellow Pages advertising to be an effective tool because customers regularly refer to the Yellow Pages for that product or service. One warning sign that the Yellow Pages are not working well for your competitors is lack of display or color ads. The more colorful ads cost more, and would have to bring in more business to justify the cost.
If your business meets all three criteria listed above, then chances are that Yellow Pages advertising would be a strong marketing tactic for you. If your business meets only two, then you have to weigh the potential return on your investment. If your business meets only one, then Yellow Pages advertising may be too expensive of a customer acquisition tactic for your business right now. But not to worry: There are plenty of other effective and inexpensive tactics that you can use to build your business besides Yellow Pages advertising. Just ask your Marketing Coach!
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Does It Pay To Advertise In The Yellow Pages? Copyright © 2002 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.