We just got the new phone book and I noticed virtually no other frame shop has a very big ad (or an ad at all). I'm thinking either 1) we have finally beaten the competition into submission or 2) I'm really stupid.
I can't remember the last time I used the YP to source a product/service. I have occasionally used the White Pages to get a phone number for a person/business I already knew. We have not advertised in the YP for at least 20 years, and have done zip print advertising of any sort for about 5 years.
As for my real answer, we still have a phone book ad, because some of our customers still use it. But we do it in only one, because the other (Dex) is super thin, with insanely tiny print. When I told our Local Book rep that, he said Dex makes such a thin book because they're required by law to do one, so they make it as tiny as possible.
When I started out in framing everyone had a yellow pages ad with some of the bigger outfits shelling out thousands for full and half-page ads. I also used to advertise regularly in my local papers. Since around the mid nineties the number of picture framing businesses declined sharply ( we had far too many in Perth) but the survivors also scaled back both their print and Yellow Pages ads.
I attribute this to two factors:
And the biggie - Yellow pages was always expensive but it used to work. With the rise of the internet and online directories its cost was no longer justified. I had a website and used Yellow Pages Online which gave me a "free" listing in the paper directory and because my customers were mainly middle to old age they liked that. The last paper directory I saw had barely two pages of framing ads where there used to be 6.
The dreaded mobile 'phone which has now become the go-to source of information for almost everyone born after the moon landing. I had my website redesigned to be 'phone-friendly and dropped almost all of my print advertising at around the time it became clear that this was now the medium of choice.
The biggest snag then was trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in online advertising sites and fielding endless calls from Indian gentlemen offering to "optimise" my website and get me No.1 on google.
How does not running an ad affect your results for web searches? Our shop is listed seven times on the first page of search results when you enter "picture framing Fort Wayne". Three of those from sites from the phone book companies. Do those remain even if you don't run a phone book ad? I've noticed that some of the frame shops in town (who don't run ads) also don't come up in web searches very easily.
I don't know about America but here in Australia you can pay extra to have your Yellow Pages online ad show up on the front page in various areas or in all areas. In my opinion it is counterproductive. You search, say "Picture framers Mount Lawley" (inner city) and on the first page you get a framer in Myaree - around (20kms away ) who happened to pay to be there. Not much use.