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Yellow Page ad renewal


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I found Mike's recent poll results interesting and I know we've had plenty of discussion on yellow page ads. Most Grumblers don't think much of the yellow pages. It's renewal time for me. Yellow pages for my area are about three inches thick. In addition to picture framing, I have small ads under a couple of other headers. I can't say the ads are strong producers for me. I don't think they generate more than a few calls a month and probably fewer sales.

I'm considering cutting back to a very small ad--maybe even one of those one column, inch high blocks. I figure the moeny might be spent more effectively on ads elsewhere.

Just wondering whether anyone has experience with reducing the size of their yellow page ad. I know a few framers around here have been buying half page ads. I have a hard time believing these big ads brings in enough added business to justify the expense.
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SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Ask yourself this question?

Does the amount of the adv (x dollars per month) produce 3 times the cost in sales per month or actual new customers? If not, place your advertising budget elsewere.

Alan Sturgess

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
In our market we have seen the proliferation of two or three separate Yellow pages from competing telcos. I have seen numerous shops reduce their yellow pages to a fraction of what they had or to just the free listing with no adverse effects.

I think spending the money on the weekly lottery will give you results as good as the yellow pages.


Mike Labbe

Member, Former moderator team volunteer
YP has been a really waste of time for us. Loved the lottery comment.

We're in 4 local books from the phone company, and in Yellow Book, which came to our area only 2 weeks ago. (YB covers the same area as all 4 Verizon books)

This is our third year with yellow page ads, and we've cut it down smaller at every renewal. The first year we were only in 2 books (with coupons), and the ad was more than the rent, with very little return. (1-2 customers/month) We cut it in half last year, and the upcoming book is black and white instead of color - $50 less.

I turn to the internet to look something up, personally. It goes into more detail and is interractive. Apparently our customers do too.

Results and mileage will vary depending on the area and demographics. I think they are a necessary evil, and have seen a lot of competitors cut back on ad sizes.

As far as the poll, I wish more folks had participated and listed their "top and bottom 6" lists. It's at THIS LINK, for anyone interested.


[ 02-19-2004, 12:43 PM: Message edited by: Mike-L@GTP ]


PFG, Picture Framing God
I downsized from a 4" block ad in the local YP's to a bold line listing a few years before my recent move. I swear that the customers who said that they found me in the YP's had INCREASED over what feedback I got with the block ad!!

Part of the impact I attribute to the existing reputation I had after over 10 years of framing in the area. But, you have to consider this, word of mouth in the long run, is still the BEST form of advertising you can hope to generate to attract new customers that will stay with you.

I need a presence in the YP's, true. But, to spend a large gob of money for YP ads is foolish as so many of you have stated in the past. Go for the bold line listings and place your saved advertising dollars into some form of event advertising or TV or whatever works for your shop in your area.

Be careful about how you advertise if you are moving or plan to reach out into areas outside your local area. Different forms of advertising don't always work in other areas like they do in your local area. I found that out in spades when I moved and signed a year's contract with the local cable TV company. Cable TV advertising was one of the most efficient forms of advertising in my old location, more than newspaper or direct mailings. But down here on the coast, it has been a boondoggle for me!

I have spent more money on non-productive TV ads than you would imagine and the ads themselves are very good. But this area doesn't seem to digest and remember TV ads as I expected. I sense that it is at least partially because of the really stupid advertising done by all the local car dealers and attorneys in this area! I get so sick of having the same old jerky auto hawker come on the tube with his clown imitation that I simply tune all ads out of my mind.

I could pay a substantial penalty to break this contract but I have moved the advertising to another set of channels that I am told most of the locals watch and we will see what happens.



Angry Badger
I downsized my 1/4 page in to a 1" in line block 2 years ago. 2002 was the pits, but might have been so anyway. 2003 set records, go figure.

I attended a workshop at WCAF 04 that touched on this subject. The were a great many diverse opinions, and the polarity of feelings was pretty evenly matched. One thing that seemed to have consensus was the fact that print yellow pages are loosing ground to the internet. Between the various choices of yellow pages diluting the print ad dollar and the greater comfort level of searching on line, I think that the importance of being well seen in the YPs is diminishing yearly.

All that factored with the degree of sophistication of your target market, and your feel for how strong your word of mouth is doing along with Jerome's formula should give you an idea of how important it is to you.

Oh, another point of consensus, if I remember correctly, was that a lot of us advertise in the YP out of habit or out of fear, both lousy reasons.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Thanks for the feedback. It's good to hear that your experience is consistent with my "gut" feeling. This year I am modifying my signage, deemphasizing photo services and elevating framing. Framing isn't in the business name now, but it will be.

Most of my framing growth last year was from repeat customers and referrals--the same pattern as the year before when I moved to this location. I was able to track that two years ago cause Verizon screwed up my framing ad, which I expanded to coincide with the move. They used the old address. Heard about that glitch from a few new customers, but not enough to convince me the YP was effective.

I'm not hot on the local daily newspaper or weekly shopper, but some of the monthly community and special interest newsletters seem to be well read so I thought I'd give them and a few other outlets a test.

Hot vehicle around here right now is the back of the supermarket register receipt. It's pretty expensive, but works well for the restaurants and liquor stores that incorporate a discount coupon. I'm sitting on the fence on this one. Maybe it would work for framing, but I would have to raise my prices to offset the discount coupon and I would like to avoid using coupons to drive growth.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Imagine this: someone is watching her favorite TV show. The show cuts to a commercial. The volume goes up about 30%. This person goes into the kitchen to get something. A used car salesman is screaming “BUY FROM ME” at the top of his lungs “I’M THE CHEAPEST **** AROUND!” The person with her head in the fridge is acknowledging the noise coming from the other room but is not really paying attention, but focusing on that jar of pickles in the back of the fridge (thinking she should NOT have bought a gallon jar).
Then all of a sudden the next room is silent. She pauses a second then goes into the living room to find out if the TV has died (it has never been this quite). The lady sees the TV is working but no sound, just an ad for….….. it looks like………picture framing? She watches in amazement, as the advertisement is just about to end a voice over whispers “S.T.B. Custom Framing & Gifts, located at 1234-56th.st. Fort Walton Beach” with accompanying graphics, then it ends.
“BUY FROM ME!” starts all over again.
Do you think that would get her attention? Do you think she would remember it? Would she bring up the ad in her next bridge game?



SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Is d-u-d-e a bad word? thats what it removed.

[ 02-19-2004, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: rogatory ]


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Rogatory -
Love your idea w/ silence on a TV spot - I can see it now - the room goes quiet for about 30 seconds - just enough time to get up and smack the boob tube - then the sounds comes back w/ your name & business hours - We might give it a try!


PFG, Picture Framing God
Yes, David, the "d" word is definitely a baaaad word on this forum!

(Long story but it has to do with the whims of the administrator)

I also like the "sound" of your idea! That would surely grab someone's attention particularly when they are accustomed to the loud nonsense that is considered advertising today. As a matter of fact, there was a deBeers diamond commercial that ran a few years ago that did exactly what you mentioned. It was a really classy advertisement and the only spoken words were at the very end when the ad closed with a soft voice saying, "deBeers diamonds, a lifetime of pleasure" or something to that effect.

Hey, if I didn't have a 2 minute interview type ad running right now I would have my ad guru just drop all the audio from the ad and just do the closing line. I'm not sure that an interview ad would work well with no sound, though. :eek:


po' framer

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I sure hope Ron doesn't pick this point to pop in and point out that your customers probably learn about the same in each one! :D

Barb Pelton

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I like the quiet ad idea, too.

I run a print ad from occasionally that is nothing but white space. Dead white. At the bottom is our logo and in small letters above the logo it says:.



(Does this remind you of your walls? We can help! )

The ad gets noticed-ha.

Now back to the yellow pages--I think of it as a tool as opposed to advertising. Sure, there will be a few people who might come in off of an ad in the yp's, but really, isn't it more like finding a new hair salon? I'm going to ask someone who has a good looking hair cut where they had it done and THEN find that salon!

I think our trade is similar--people will most likely ask someone they trust for some direction as to who to go to, but THEN they've got to get their hands on a phone number. And maybe an address, and you'd be better off in the long run if it's easy for them to find.

Big flashy ad? no.
A prescence of modest caliber? Definately.
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