Why We’re Not Advertising in the Yellow Pages Anymore.

It’s Yellow Pages renewal time again… So the tedious process of reviewing faxes, and repeatedly talking to friendly reps who carefully record your responses is upon us.

One of the first things we did when we started our business was to call the Yellow Pages to see what it took to get listed. We’d never been through the process, and it seemed really important. Even then most of us never touched the phone book if we needed to find a phone number, but surely the rest of the world did, – right? How on earth would we ever get business if nobody knew we existed?

We’re been paying $1200 or so a year since. Know how many jobs we’ve gotten from it? Zero. We religiously ask all of our clients how they found us, and the phone book is never part of the equation…

We will admit, we get phone calls from people who see our listings in the Yellow Pages. The call usually goes something like:

Them: “Yeah, um, I want to make a website.”
Us: “Thanks for calling sir/maam, how did you come across our name?”
Them: “In the phone book”
Us: “Great. Well, how can we help?”
Them: “Well. I need a website, and I have about $300 to spend.”

Short story, -they’re dreadfully unqualified leads. The clients we have learned about us through word-of-mouth, and web searches. The professional design community is small, and most of our clients know who is a good fit for which project without bothering to look. Once you’re on the RFP circuit, self promotion in the way of advertising and name recognition loses its value quickly as long as you’re doing great work

We’re cancelling our Yellow Pages ad this year, and here are a few reasons why:
* The leads we get are poor, and unqualified.
* The cost is dreadfully overpriced when compared to more modern advertising like Google Adwords.
* Our industry relies on word-of-mouth more than direct promotion.
* We can’t remember the last time we actually looked at a paper directory ourselves.
* There’s an eco concern as well. Check this out:

“According to the Environmental Protection Agency, for every 500 phone books recycled, 7,000 gallons of water, 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, 17 to 31 trees and 4,100 kilowatts of electricity are saved. That’s enough power to serve an average home for 6 months.”

For more information on the environmental impact, and what you can do to help, check out this website. http://www.ecoyp.com/

We’re not recommending everyone drop their ads from the Yellow Pages. There are still certain business sectors who get a tremendous amount of work from their ads. But as you’re considering your advertising budget this year, especially if you’re a professional service, check out where your quality leads are really coming from before putting your renewal on auto-pilot.


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