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Telephone directory ads

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Z David, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    On another thread J Paul's comments on Yellow Page ads has incited me to start a new thread. I've looked at some old ones on this subject, but time can bring about changes in thinking.
    Who out there in Grumble land is doing any Yellow Page advertising and is it making any difference?
    I know from old postings that a lot of people were going away from YP ads... is that still the prevailing thinking? Or not?

    Since I'm new I thought I should do some yellow page advertising to help get my name out there. Being in a rural area the costs are nothing like what they are in urban areas... but numbers (population) are accordingly smaller. Being rural I've chosen to have ads in a number of surrounding communities... so far I'm thinking that has been a waste of time and money. I've seen very little business, so far, from outlying areas.
    I've also paid YP for on-line listing... which (thus far) may be better than paying for anything in the phone book!

    Again, I haven't been around for a full year just yet, so it's a little early to tell what is the best approach! Nevertheless, ad renewals will be coming up again real soon.

    I welcome others thoughts on this!

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  2. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My first reaction is what are Yellow Pages? Is that something like Ham radio? or a Sears or Wards Catalog my grand parents used to get? back in the 90's [1890's]

    Being more serious, I guess the question is if you have xx.xx dollars you want to spend on advertising, where do you think you have the best opportunity for a return on your dollar investment.

    My personal opinion, which is often wrong, is, does anyone really use the Yellow Pages anymore? And if they do, what are the demographics of the people that use them? Is it primarily seniors over 65? If so, are they going to be buying frames?

    I would suggest that you ask all of your new customers where they heard about you, and use that as a starting point to determine where you want to advertise. [Understand that this question has some bias, in that if you are not using a certain method of advertising, then you will not get that answer].

    I have asked that, and the 3 areas are 1) Internet 2) word of mouth; 3) personal contact [eg they were at a place where I was and I gave them a business card]. Most of my new business is from 1) the Internet, even though I don't advertise. I do have a website, and I am located on the PPFA find a framer website.
  3. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    IMHO the only ones that thought yellow pages ads were of any value were the ones selling them. But maybe that just works for me and my bidness. It depends on your demographics, but I truly believe that YP etc. are things of the past. Once upon a time I was spending over $500.00/mos. on my YP ad. There was a fail in publishing the book one year and listed my number incorrectly. As a consequence the YP folks set up a splitter and I learned that over the course of a year 4 people used the YP to look up my phone number. That's $1500.00 per person. That was over 15 years ago. it's your call.
  4. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    What are the Yellow pages??

    Don't waste your money kid!!!
  5. David N Waldmann

    David N Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I wouldn't be too sure of that. I've had multiple people tell me they saw our ad in X when we had never advertised there. However, that doesn't negate the value of asking people where they heard about you.
  6. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    David, I think I am guilty of that....
  7. The Gilded Lily

    The Gilded Lily CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Gave up the YP's years ago. It appears that the the majority of our clients don't have land lines.
  8. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    I'm rural, and they suck. The reps from the YPs are all francophones from Montreal who can barely speak english, are so clueless it hurts, and have no idea who they're dealing with. In terms of effectiveness, the YPs suck. The world is Internet-based, and landlines are disappearing. I'm moving the store's phone number to VOIP, saving over $120/month. Next I'm going to hunt down those telemarketers and **** them all.

    As you can see, business phones are nothing but a PIA.
  9. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Wow! No love for, no benefit from phone directory ads!
    I appreciate the feedback. I have had very few customers say that they found me via the phone book.
    Most people say they are aware of me by having passed by my business (and seeing sign)... I'm in a small town on the 2nd most traveled street, or they heard about me via someone else.
    I guess I've been under the delusion that a segment of the population still uses the books.

  10. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Same experience here.
  11. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    My opinion is that this media has been dead for 10 years already, with newspapers not far behind. I think our (primary) local yellow page book has gone bankrupt and has been sold 2 or 3 times in that period, and shrunk from several inches to something that looks like a newsletter. Part of it is because the rates went so high (almost $1000 per month for business card sized ad), but the bigger reason is because people use the internet and/or smartphones for this type of research these days. On the internet, the info is generally more up to date, interactive, and has room for greater details and pictures. (websites, social media, vendor review sites, etc) For vendors, it's also very inexpensive.

    There are also 4 or 5 books we have to hit to advertise in a 5 square mile square area. One book would easily do it all, but the split it up to make more MONEY. :)

    We still have listings in the very local yellow page books, but as of a couple years ago they are just the free listings. Back a dozen years ago there were 2 or 3 pages of frame shop paid ads (of the local 60+ framers), now there are zero.

    Results may vary and this is just my own personal opinion, based on the local market in Rhode Island.
  12. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If there are zero framer ads, that speaks even louder. You might think that with no other ads there would be immense opportunity! Even that has fallen by the wayside.
  13. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Dave, that's some of my motivation. One of the primary local directories has yellow page block ads by two other entities under the "Picture Framing" section. One of them is a glass business that does custom picture framing, and the other primarily sells cheerleader, pep squad, and other related stuff as their primary business!

  14. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Z, do you use the yellow pages or for that matter the white pages? I haven't used the directory in years. I just google for phone numbers. I have even used google maps to go to an address to get the shop name I am trying to call.

    I do remember calling information as a kid, back when it was 411 and you got a local person to talk to. I remember asking for a restaurant and being told that they had closed as she had tried going there the night before. Then she gave me the name of another restaurant nearby that she liked a lot. Today calling information gets you no such personal contact, and usually just a tree of push button menu options that lead you nowhere.

    If you personally use and like the yellow pages then advertise there. If like me you can't find the directory and when you do it is woefully out of date then maybe that isn't a worthwhile advertising venue :)
  15. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I guess I'm a fossil... I still use a phone book at home or at work (unless I know that I have a number saved in my cell phone)... I use the cell phone elsewhere!
    I use both the white and yellow pages!
    I will use Google maps to find businesses or residences if necessary... but that's typically only for locations outside my vicinity.
    I pretty much only use the computer to seek out a phone number for a business or individual outside my vicinity... but I'll also use the old time directory assistance!

    Fossil Z
  16. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Then put in an ad. You will attract like minded customers...
  17. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Every year I find at least 3-4 five pound phone books on my doorstep. They are 2" thick and all but one go promptly into my recycle bin. The remaining one slides around my shop from here to there for a year until the new ones arrive.

    I use the thing maybe once or twice in that year.

    I do not think I am alone - and I am the person whose landline will be pried out of my cold dead hand!

    Not one single customer has ever told me they found me in the phone book - they all (old and young) find me online or by driving by or from word of mouth.
  18. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Let's stick another knife in the heart of the YP

    1. So when they distribute the phone books here, they wait until there's a driving rain, then they toss them into your laneway's mud puddles at 60 mph. Want to complain? Dial 1-800-kiss-my-***.

    2. The YP in Canada are owned by Bell Media, which owns 95% of the country. They own all the non-public radio, newspaper and TV stations, and most of the specialty channels on cable. Half the cell phone business, and most of the high-speed services. Right now the government wants to bring in Verizon to provide some "competition". You should see the blowback by Bell - round the clock radio, newspaper and TV spots whining about it.

    3. They split the white and yellow pages into two books. Just shoot me.
  19. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    More and more people claim to be dropping their land lines for mobile devices, but I haven’t seen that our local phone books are any skinnier.

    Younger people may be using their smart phones, but, I’m guessing, the older people are still using the YP books. It’s these older people who have money for framing.

    Nonetheless, I have reduced my display ad from 1/4 to 1/8 page size.

    YPs may be less effective than they were in the past, but I don’t dare to drop the ads altogether.
  20. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    David... If you do decide to place an ad then I'd consider doing just a small in-line ad worded tastefully. Monitor where people found out about you. I'll bet that small in-line ad would be as effective as a large "billboard" ad.

    Back when I did use the YP 's advertising for my own personal searches, I often went to the smaller ads because I knew how expensive the big splashy ones were and I figured that they would have to charge exorbitant prices to pay for the ads.
  21. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    LMAO :cry:

    (I'm not laughing at you... this is just too hilarious)

  22. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Dave, The ads I've done thus far are the smallest block ads that you can get. I was wary of doing the phone directory ads from the onset, but was afraid not to since I was brand new... but obviously I assumed that a significant enough segment of the population still used them. I certainly was (and still am) of the belief that younger people (including younger adults) don't use them!

    Unfortunately I don't always remember to ask people how they heard about me, but to the extent that I am, I'm not hearing "the phone book." One person has said the online YP.
    But... I didn't want to be too quickly dismissive of phone book ads.

    My plan was (and still is) to diminish my utilization of them within time. Maybe that time needs to be sooner than later!

  23. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've got it down to $47.50 a month for a 1 column 2 1/4" color ad in my countywide directory. It's just to keep a presence for those that still operate the old fashioned way.
  24. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    That may be the truth but they have made the phone books (and the newspaper) so small that the older folks can't see them anymore even with their trifocals.
  25. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Not here, they distribute both sizes.
  26. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Pat, that size ad here, in black and white was $79 a month, if I had a second ad in a different section as well as bolded lettering in the column. So the total was $227 month. For Yellow Pages, then the ad in the other yellow pages, SuperPages, was an additional $225 a month.

    It wasn't worth the $452 a month to advertise in an archaic medium that maybe three people a year said I couldn't find your yp ad. Those customers were usually looking to replace the glass in their BB frames :)
  27. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I just have an ordinary listing, but with the addition of the line
    Rick Granick, CPF 35 Years Experience
    and then my website address, which is blue and underlined.
    :cool: Rick
  28. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I think to the average person a CPF is just a CPA with really bad grades.... ;)
  29. JWB9999999

    JWB9999999 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm in a rural area. I advertise in 3 different yellow pages used here locally. Probably the most advertising bang for my buck, still.

    And I still use the yp's myself a couple of times each week. Call me old fashioned, but it's easy. I went to a hotel last week, stayed several days. Asked the front desk for a phone book, which they could not locate. When I received a survey from them afterwards to give them a review, I did, with the only negative comment being about the lack of a phone book in the hotel. I received an apology from the hotel manager afterwards.
  30. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    My region is very rural too.
    I have the smallest possible size ads in 5 phone directories (3 of these are outside my county and cover 3 different areas around me) I'm also paying for YP on the internet.
    Added together and averaged out, I'm spending $78. a month.

    Unless I see some business coming in the next few months from the 3 books in the areas outside my county... those will most definitely be eliminated... which will reduce my expenses by approx. $15 a month.
    But I may do the same with my local directory and the other directory that covers my county and the next largest county (in pop.) to the south of me.

  31. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That may be so, but at least it might pique their curiosity enough to call and find out what a CPF is.
    :icon11: Rick
  32. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Well, then I am glad that I just gave you a second answer to give them.... :)
  33. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Bob... your too funny!!!

    But Rick may ready to give you a personally administered CPF suppository!

  34. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    For years I spent around $ 5000.00 a month for YP advertising in two major markets with two different YP publishers with listings and box ads under picture framing, artist material, gifts and hobby and craft supplies.

    That's a lot of dough.

    I wish I had kept some of it.

    I could use the bread.

  35. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Dave... I bet you do!
    But ya' know... as a percent of revenue or expenses... my outlay may be higher!

  36. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I was pretty aggressive with my advertising budget back then spending about 8-10% of sales on various advertising mediums.
  37. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have followed the same route as Bill and reduced the size of my ad in the paper Yellow Pages and boosted my online advertising.

    So far as I can see most of my newer corporate customers found me online, probably because Ms Secretary has a computer on her desk and that is probably the first searching choice for most younger people.

    For myself, I still use the paper directory and find that quite a few of my older customers found me that way so I will not ditch that display ad just yet. One thing I have noticed is that over the past 4 - 5 years the number of Picture framing display ads in the Yellow Pages has shrunk from around 10 pages to 3 so I can get myself on the first page with a small ad which, a few years ago, would have been buried on page 5.

    Definitely I must be more diligent about questioning where people found me.
  38. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I spent 10 years in a shopping center with horrible visibility. One year I was spending $1,000 per month to have two ads in two books.

    Long story short, I stopped using them and didn't notice a difference. I instead decided to put money into renting in a higher-visible location in a heavy shopping district, which has worked well.

    But for those considering advertising, put money into google adwords. That is much better than a phone book, though it can get pricey too if you're competing with a lot of other framers.
  39. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    Before we retired and closed up the shop about 18 mos ago we had a bold listing with our web site extra line in the y.p. We also had a bold listing in the white pages.

    Why? Because in our county ( Highlands ) the over 70 population is the majority and MANY still look in the book for everything. If were in any other county we probably would not have used the phone book as an advertising media.
  40. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Here is one way that might help you decide whether or not to do YP advertising.

    Visit someone who is in your target demo. In my case, I asked this of my sister who is a very traditional person.

    I was at her house and I asked her "If you needed a person right this moment to fix an antique clock, show me how you'd find this person."

    When I asked her this when she was 30 years old (12 years ago) she looked in the phone book. I paid attention to which phone book, and advertised in that one.

    When I asked her a similar question 6 years ago, and she looked it up on google.

    Either way, in advance I had a feeling of what direction I was going to advertise in. This was just the clincher.

    Try your own test with your own demo.

    I've noticed most of my customers are using smartphones while at the counter, including those in their 60's and older.
  41. Z David

    Z David MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    The demographics for my town are as follows: 20.2% under the age of 18, 30.9% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.1% who were 65 years of age or older.

    It is important to note that I live in a college town, that's what accounts for the 30.9% that are 18 to 24. So, the stats are somewhat skewed.

    The community markets its self as a retirement place! I do think that people 60 and older still use phone books... but maybe not all of the time!

    In the 10 months that I've been open I can't recall having a sale to a college student! I think they are more likely to go to HL or Wally World!

  42. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Even the elderly are online these days, or have some kind of tablet or smartphone.

    I think the answer to your question largely depends on the geographic area, and how it has evolved or followed national trends. (There is a 20 year difference in some areas, IMO) These paper books may very well be effective in some markets, especially very rural areas, IMO. Some areas may not yet have high speed internet, for example, so this is still the primary way.

  43. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thinking back I can safely say that I never cracked open the yp in my college years. Even when living off campus. Is there a bus system? I used the buses everyday in college and read the ads in ir. Especially the clever ones...

    If you want the college money advertize where they are.
  44. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    To show you how useless the YPs are, look at my boat rental business: not a mention in the phone book, ever, and yet we get calls and emails every day to reserve canoes or kayaks. Nobody but nobody uses the YPs. But people of all ages are surfing.

    Let me repeat: the rental business has never been in the phone book.
  45. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Just got a YellowBook delivered to my house yesterday. I looked to see who the "new fish" that got suckered into advertising under framing this year. Used to have a page or two of ads in framing. Then one or two. This year? None. I'd say 85% of the book had no ads, except for national pest control companies, etc.

    ...also worth noting, I think it was Superpages, they started advertising out-of-category too. So, if you are looking at ads for a pizza shop, you would be likely to see a lawyer ad randomly placed there too.

    To me, the book is dead, but my customers are usually between 35 - 65. If I'm targeting those over 65, then I'd consider using the book.
  46. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My mother is 89 and she uses the internet. My dad is 89 and blind, so he asks my mom to find it on the internet. If you do decide to use the YP for the seniors, make sure you don't use them exclusively, or you will lose out!

    Just because you are older than average, doesn't mean that you don't use computers, social media, etc.
  47. johnny

    johnny SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    They are desperate. In the last month had a guy arguing with us that in the past we signed a very, very long contract and the only way to NOT be billed for an ad in the phone book was to sign a cancellation for each year every year and the contract could only be presented in person by a sales rep who had to come into the shop for a meeting.

    That's desperate. And evil.

    Previously I had reps threaten that my business would decline if I didn't resign and said I'll be sorry. They tended to remove any mention of us from the books entirely.

    There are about 8 different books that get delivered to the shop. The cost of being in them all would be staggering. If you're not in them all you're investment is split because you have to hope the potential customer picks the book you are in.
  48. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My phone book and YP goes straight on the compost heap nowadays. The few times I wanted to look somebody up I swiftly gave up. They don't have a search facility. :icon21:

    In the past (before the days of the net) I dabbled with YP ads and my experience was that for every genuine sales enquiry you get 10 time wasters and another 20 peeps trying to sell you more advertising.
  49. King 7

    King 7 Guest

    I ask every single new customer "how did you hear about me?" and overwhelmingly, they found me on the internet. Only old folks say they found me in the phone book and I can count on one hand how many of them come in each year. I hate to say it, but elderly people do not spend enough money with me to make a big expensive phone ad worthwhile, no matter how badly the phone book reps try to persuade me otherwise. Elderly people are usually pinching their pennies, so they aren't my target market.
  50. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The most common phrase that comes to mind is "Don't forget my senior discount" when purchasing an $80 frame.

    ...we should probably follow that up with "Indeed, your discount was given to the Yellow Pages rep, one-hundred fold."
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