Should I Advertise in Yellow Pages?

by Timothy on October 8, 2011

A question from my client…

I’ve been approached to advertise in Yellow Pages for $XXX/mo…. should I do it?

Some people make print media work like crazy, some don’t.  Some people make billboards work, and others blow money on it and lose money hand-over-fist.

What I would try to determine is how much business comes from it.  By that I mean hard numbers on how many calls come in per month from it.  (ask others in your office, industry, profession how it’s worked for them)

If I feel like I’ve got 70% information (not necessarily 100%), and I feel 70% confident (not 100%), that I will make more than $XXX/mo (the expense) from it, then I would consider moving forward.

What if my budget is tiny, and I can’t afford a mistake?

If I was trying to decide how to spend my first $XXX/mo on advertising, I would do a Google Adwords campaign.

For example, I’m doing this with another client of mine and we are discovering that one of the ads pulls like 10x compared to the next closest ad.


We are also discovering that of the 320 keywords I identified for them, the top-2 keywords (YES – only TWO!) of them pull 72% of all clicks.  And just the top-FIVE keywords represent 100% of all clicks so far.

Yes the campaign is still very young, but we are already seeing the 80-20 Rule emerge, and possibly even more harsh than that… we’re currently on track for 100-2.

Cut the Fat!  Eliminate what isn’t working ASAP, then Crank Up What IS…

And with Google Adwords we are able to tweak on the fly…whereas with YPG you’re STUCK for a whole year… if your ad isn’t converting anyone into calls or customers, there is *nothing* you can do for a full year…. oops!

Using this improve-on-the-fly approach to Google Adwords to review and improve week after week, we’re doing well so far… a click-through rate of 1-5% is generally considered quite good, and so far click-through rate is around 8%….

Over the next 12 months, as we test and refine the ads week-in, and week-out, and create new ads to try and “beat the control”, that number (over time) is only going to climb.

Use What is PROVEN to Compel People to Action

Furthermore, what we discover on Google Adwords – e.g. the headlines that work, the keywords we’re being search for, the landing pages that work, etc – we can then turn around and use those same ideas and headlines in all the other areas of marketing….

  • subject lines of emails sent to the database
  • headlines for websites
  • facebook posts
  • blog posts
  • topics for videos
  • description and tags on YouTube
  • …and – yes – even headlines of print campaigns (including YPG if you want!).

Are There Any Conditions to Purchase YPG advertising?

If I only had $XXX/mo to invest into only ONE form of advertising (or perhaps just a few), would I do YPG?

No… for the reasons above…. I would start with G.AdW.  Much more mileage out of it.

If you have your heart set on YPG, and if you have reason to believe that YPG will make you more than you’re spending on it per month (i.e. numbers to show you that it’s making the phone ring), then I would at least consider it.

(After all, anything that makes more money than it spends is worth considering!)

At the end of the day, it’s your call…

Isn’t it great getting to call the shots? LOL.


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