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Yellow Pages Again

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Less, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yellow Pages Again

    I just said no!

    My first 3 years I had a small column ad.
    To test the effectiveness, my 4th and 5th year I went with a larger display ad.
    My competitors, who have been around a lot longer than me, had to out-do me with big beautiful and expensive ads. Well, they should know better.

    I could see no difference, and I don’t think it paid for itself.
    I requested a Bold Black Print Only Listing this time, and I will use the extra money to go towards a better location.

    The interesting thing for me was to learn that the phone company can give you a new phone number in your display ad only, which will forward and track all calls to your business. I wish they had told me this years ago.

    Has anyone done this to track their yellow page traffic?

    I see Bob Carter suggested this some time ago!
    He’s the Man!
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  2. Terry Scidmore CPF

    Terry Scidmore CPF MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I did a program on Yellow Pages for our guild about 4 or 5 years ago. While doing the research for the program, I found out that most of the research that the yellow page people cite is done by their own marketing people. The tests that they site are often designed to show the end result that they want. In other words, to support that a bigger ad is better, they never tested a 1/8 page black and white ad against a 1/4 page black and white ad, but would test a 1/8 page black and white ad against a 1/4 color ad. I did find some independent testing that showed that just putting your name, address, and phone number in BOLD PRINT in column helped you stand out roughly half as much as an 1/8 page black and white display ad, but at a considerably lesser cost. I also did a focus group on Yellow Pages ads. I showed them about 75 different kinds of Yellow Page advertising (ranging from just a listing to full page color ads), and asked them for feedback on the ads. I also took the display ads and whited out parts of the ads to see if they could tell what the ads were for without the written clues.
    In summary, most people said that they found a framer first from word of mouth. Then they looked in the alphabetical in column listing for the name. If there was no recommendation, they looked for a shop close to where they lived, where they worked, or where they shopped - no brainer. Often they simply looked for addresses close to these. If they had done some framing before or knew a little about what they wanted, they used the in column and display ads to locate that kind of framing or that kind of service if they did not have a word of mouth recommendation.
    For the display ads, bigger wasn't necessarily better. Too much "stuff" turned people off. People liked a picture of a smiling person holding a framed piece of art over just a smiling person - in fact one ad with just the face of a smiling woman was seen as an escort service ad even when they knew what the ad was advertising for. People also responded well to a simply designed ad that was classic and elegant. People often looked at the display ads and described what they thought the shops would be like based on the ads. One article I found encouraged display advertisers to think of their display ad as their store front. Since most of the display ads are lumped together, they suggested thinking of this part of the phone book as a street with a bunch of businesses on the street, and you are looking in the front windows.
    This was pre web site, and I have noticed that a lot of businesses have reduced their display ads and list a web site to go to for more information. Our phone book has gotten smaller and smaller, covering a larger and larger territory. Since most of customers come from about a 5 to 7 mile radius, the larger territory doesn't do us much good. This year our Yellow Pages was more than a month late publishing because they hadn't sold enough advertising to go to print, so advertisers must feel that their customers are not using the Yellow Pages as much. I also noticed that for the first time in 20 years, I was being offered discounts to keep on advertising. For my little local directories, I refused to pay up front this year. I told them I would pay on proof of publication, and they agreed to this and a discounted price. In the past, we normally had to pay around 7 months to a year in advance.
    If you would like to know more, let me know. Keep in mind that your first 3 monthly payments (or less) on your telephone advertising typically pays the cost for the Yellow Pages people to produce and distribute the book. Every payment you make after that is pure profit for them.
  3. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You can find now find this topic located in the Business Issues section.
  4. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I decided to try a nice ad in the Yellow Pages. I've done it for a couple of years now, and I will not be renewing it. In fact, I'm only going to have a basic listing. Yellow pages are a waste of money. The only calls I seem to get are price-shoppers. I do not sell price, I sell design, and that you cannot sell over the phone.
  5. tnframer408

    tnframer408 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Like most of you on this thread, I too am scaling WAY back on the YP ads. BUT, today I had a call from a prospect who asked if we were still open at nites, using the business hours from three years ago in the YPs. He admitted he was looking at an old book.

    So--it begs the question: I wonder how long the residual effect of these books (read "legs") have? How long do they actually hang around.

    Sorry, YP--I do other things than waste money in you. :eek: :eek:
  6. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Michael, I finally stopped getting calls about photographic equipment rentals about 5 years ago. I hadn't rented equipment for about 15 years. The books they were looking at were so old, the white pages were yellow! My phone number was the same, but I had moved five times.

    I just do the free listing now.
  7. Robert Bottge

    Robert Bottge Grumbler

    Aside from word of mouth, my Yellow Page Ad actually draws more people than all my other advertising, which might not be saying much for my other ads. I have the smallest ad available, no special features.

    My ad is simple. It states we are professional framers and then goes in to benefits for the customer - Caring Customer Service (this is the main reason given for responding to my ad), Satisfaction Guarantee, Layaway, etc. EVERY other ad says the exact same thing, we do conservation framing, needleart, creative framing, etc.

    People using the Yellow Pages are customers ready to buy. Don't completely give up yet. Try using the Y.P. and see what your steps are. Do you automatically go to the flashiest ad and call them, or do you look at different ads? Why? Do you look at the listings? I read most people do this when they know the name of the business already and just need the number or address. Most important, how can you make your ad different from every other frame shop ad.
  8. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Very good points Robert. When I first started out in business, I went to a local business man that I respected and asked for an appointment to "ask for his help". He owns a very upscale and successful carpet/flooring sales business with 3 or 4 locations. He does a lot of business with designers, etc.

    One of the questions I asked him was about Yellow Pages. He said, "It all depends on what you're selling whether it will work for you." He said when he started out, he was also doing carpet cleaning, which as a "service" business drew most of its customers from the YP. On the other hand, the carpet sales business drew mostly from word of mouth and other types of exposure.

    I found that to be very true. In the caning part of my business, approx 85-90% of the customers come from the YP. That's because caning is such a unique craft and very few people do it. So, one begins the search with the YP.

    On the other hand, there are "40 jillion" framers out there. And the YP will probably not be your best venue, UNLESS you have something to offer that no one else does! For instance, Rebecca as a conservator, would have an advantage with a YP ad. If Jim Miller offers "Expert Calligrapher on staff" that would be a draw.
    In Robert's case, the "Caring Customer Service" may be doing the trick. Sure, we all feel that we offer that, but do we say it? Ya gotta say what makes you the best!

    But even with that, I feel that the "in-line box ads" are the way to go. They are small, inexpensive, already in alphabetical order, and come in several sizes.

    Yellow Pages Ads - useful tools, or necessary evil? You decide.

  9. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    I'm a bit discouraged by our YP experience so far. We're in 3 local books,(one large full color, one half size B&W, and one with just a bold listing) and the monthly price tag is close to $1k. (including coupons in 2 books) The books have been out since about 4/1 and not a single coupon or referral(that we know of) has come in yet. We may re-think it next year and scale YP budget back a bit.

    There are 55-60 frame shops in our local calling area.
  10. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Yeah, that's close to "40 jillion."

    Are your ads different, or do they say basically the same things that all the others say? Of course you're stuck with them for a year, but if you decide to do YP ads next year, don't make yours stand out with color or size. Make it stand out by what makes YOU unique. FIND SOMETHING!

  11. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    Ours IS unique (mostly because of the logo and wording), but Id love to improve it next year. The problem is, the deadlines were 2 months before we opened (and before I was ready to commit to doing this). I found out about the deadlines just 2 days before they approached, and had to make an executive decision to go ahead at that time. (we didn't even have the location firm yet because it had a tenant, we didn't have phone service, etc). In short, it was RUSHED. I'll take a bit more time in 2003 to do things differently...

  12. gemsmom

    gemsmom SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have been in business 18 years, and have had ads of different sizes and content and just a listing. There has been vertually no difference in my growth whether I have an ad or not, so why spend the money? My Yellow Pages habits are thus- I look for the business closest to me and call on them first.
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