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Yellow Pages and Verizon

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by JackBingham CPF, Mar 30, 2002.

  1. JackBingham CPF

    JackBingham CPF MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Does any one advertize in Verizon Yellow Page Books? If so, are you now being billed for 13 months instead of 12? :confused:

    Jack
     
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  2. Ruth

    Ruth MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I do and will be looking at the bill on Monday. I'm just up the road from you in Reading.
     
  3. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jack,

    We found that last year our Verizon YP publisher decided to use some of the "Fine Print" on the back of the contract to Extend the life of the book up to 6 months at the discretion of the publisher. Our book now has a 13 month life cycle. If they choose to delay the next book, the advertisers are stuck with paying the contracted rate until the book comes out.
     
  4. John Ranes II CPF GCF

    John Ranes II CPF GCF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Jack, Ruth & Rick,

    I don't understand this dialogue thus far........wouldn't this ONLY be a problem, if you were planning on NOT advertising in the next issue? The rates will either be the same, or increase.

    Most regions of the country have at least two phone books these days, some have three. In most of Wisconsin we have Ameritech and McLeod USA. Our problems have been with the latter, not in pricing, as they've given us a healthy discount every year for the past 4 years, Unfortunately the discount is not given for being a good customer, it's to compensate us for the editorial errors they continual make! Anyone else experiencing this service with McLeod?

    John
     
  5. ArtLady

    ArtLady SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    IN Western New York we have to advertise in two competing phone directories. You can't be in just one of them. They say that competition keeps the rates down. However, one comes out two months before the other and my suspicion is that most people keep the new and throw out the old with out checking the difference.
     
  6. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    John

    I was only offering Verizon's explanation for a 13 month billing rather than 12 months. As a business, we actually receive 13 months of advertising for 13 months of payments.

    Truth be known, Verizon is the lesser used of the 2 local directories, mainly due to coverage area. The "black book" covers the entire county (100,000 population); Verizon only covers the 3 larger towns (40,000 population). Their sales force uses a 12 month pitch, but the publisher is using a 13 month cycle. Business owners have been downsizing the ads and the rates continue to increase. The only discount a person gets is if the ad size increases. Stay the same size or heaven forbid decrease in size, there is a significant increase in price each cycle.

    One local framer actually had different phone numbers listed in each of the YP books and has been tracking the calls received on each of the numbers for the last year. The Verizon YP, at last count, has caused that number to ring 3 times during the last 8 months.
     
  7. William Ross

    William Ross CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    My question has always been--- Does Yellow Book advertising work?

    In our area we have eight yellow books (not all yellow in color) that either cover one or two local cities, or part of the county (3 books). We also have local service clubs who publish phone directories that go to their members and are sold to raise money.

    This is for an area of less than 25 miles around our store.

    The other question is --"How do you know what business you get from the Yellow Pages" and how do you rate your return? One of my friends who spends over $3500 per month for his yellow pages had a special phone number list in the ad that gave a 20% discount. Over the year it ran he only got eleven calls that asked for the discount.

    We have chosen to go with the basic listing or a simple display adv and put our money in direct mail or local newspapers. With direct mail we know how many people get the mailing and are able to track the results. Our last two mailings have resulted in a 5% to 10% sales return, which equals a 500% profit return.
     
  8. lauralisa

    lauralisa Grumbler

    This is a HOT topic of discussion in the shop where I work. For what it costs to advertise in the YPages, you'd think you'd get AT LEAST minimal accuracy in the ad, correct numbers listed under correct subjects, and some type of result if your number is crossed with another business in the area.......

    We've had difficulty with all aspects of listing.

    It's gotten to the point where my boss LOATHES Verizon, and avoids anything having to do with it (works harder, pays more for alternative services...)

    They have NEVER gotten an ad text correct. We can count on at least five calls per day for A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TYPE OF BUSINESS altogether because they cannot get their "directory assistance" information changed. (I've tried to "invoice" them for the time I've spent answering wrong-number calls, but they haven't paid it yet....)

    The data provided by earlier posters on 'return on investment' for advertising in the yellow pages is consistent with our experience, and it's just not worth it.

    Lauralisa
     
  9. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have being in the Golden Pages (Irish version of the Yellow Pages) for four years now, my geographical area is the biggest Y/P directory in the country and the second biggest by population I guess approx 400 to 500,000+ population, in four years I have had two calls generated by the Y/P (I have a very small number of customer so it is very easy for me to monitor where my business comes from and how it is generated).

    I now only have my free one line listing which all businesses are due under publication requirements in Ireland.

    Until I took Jay Goltz’s class in New York I had no idea if it was my small presentation in the Y/P that caused the lack of response or as I suspected that the Y/P doesn’t work for some business, I learned from Jay class in NY that the Y/P are unlikely to work for my business.

    See Jay’s book “The Street-Smart Entrepreneur” page 171, the chapter headed “Don’t Let Your Yellow Page Ad Rep Let Their Fingers Do the Walking through Your Marketing Budget”.
     
  10. B. Newman

    B. Newman SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I thought this needed to be in bold letters.

    Also from the Guerrilla Marketing book by Jay Conrad Levinson, "The individual entrepreneur dare not direct listeners or viewers to the yellow pages. That would only alert his prospective customers to the competition..." and "But if you're an artist or consultant, people will probably find out about you through other sources."

    Now that's not to say you souldn't be there at all! That's where folks go to get YOUR number if they don't keep it on file. For me, the YP represents about 65% of my new business for caning customers. But for framing it's about 1%. Simply put, there are no other caners out there, and there's "40 jillian" framers.

    We HAVE to be there so customers can simply find our number when they need it. But for framers, I don't see it as being a place to count on for new business. And as to all the books, like I said in the tradeshow thread the "major players" (other industries) have to be in them all, they can't afford not to be, but I pick the "Official Bell South" book and forget the rest. The "lion's share" of my marketing money goes to reaching my own customers. (Something to do with costing more to attain a new customer than to keep the ones we already have.)

    Betty
     
  11. tnframer408

    tnframer408 SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Using the features in Lifesaver, we track how every customer hears aboutus. Naturally, our regulars are the largest and customer referrals are second.

    The third highest, though, is the "driving by" person who sees us by going past the center or eating in one of th restaurants (one reason to pay more money for a good location)

    Last place is yellow pages. I break even in the advertising in it, but next year I'm shrinking it from a display ad toa colored=faced couple lines.

    I notice thisyear my competitors already did this.

    Next year, I'll join them
     
  12. Sherry Gray

    Sherry Gray CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    My POS program tracks each order... and as a result I have dropped the display ad in a neighboring town YP; and cut the ad in my own town YP in half. This year I'm using a modified "Welcome Wagon" approach (which is my biggest source for new customers), sending out newsletters and doing a few print ads with the leftover advertising budget.
     
  13. MissyB

    MissyB Grumbler

    In years pass, the Verizon (Bell) Book was out from October to September in Lancaster, Pa. A 12 month period and our bills were 1 of 12, 2 of 12, 3 of 12,etc. The most recent book came out in October 2001 and the first bill, recieved in October 2001, read 1 of 12, but the next bills have read 2 of 13, 3 of 13, etc. Perhaps Verizon is extending the last book through October 2002 and coming out with the next book in November 2002. I will have to contact Verizon to see if this is the case. If not, then Verizon is trying to add a 13th month to the year. :confused:
     
  14. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Could they be changing things to 13 four-week periods = 52 weeks, this is sometimes a budgeting/accountancy practise.

    :rolleyes:
     
  15. AnneL

    AnneL SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Never had trouble with editorial problems with McLeod. A few years ago, the phone company in a nearby small town had me listed as The Evergreen Gallery and Farm Shop. Luckily, noone came in to try to buy a tractor from me! :eek:

    Centurytel recently took over all the phone service and directorys in our area from Verizon, so we'll see how they look when the new ones come out.
     
  16. MissyB

    MissyB Grumbler

    Well, not even Verizon could add a 13th month. Turns out they have extended the life of the current book by a month. The next book will come out in November instead of October. Still seems a little fishy though.
     
  17. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I too have opted to cancel my YP expense in favor of other advertising alternatives. We were paying about $550.00 per month. I still have a $200 commitment until the lat fall for one of the books.
    That included 2 of the 5 major Ameritech (SBC) books. It does not any of the "city" directories nor McLeods directories.
    Over the years the size of individual books has gotten smaller and number of books has increased. The actual response (productivity) of the books has declined greatly over the years.
     
  18. accent

    accent True Grumbler

    Regarding the Yellow Pages,

    We had a group of 5 framers with seven stores who did some common large display ads together. Needless to say the results were very disappointing. For three years results were carefully measured. We used our second line for our part of the ad and recorded every call that would come in. Over that period we averaged 2 to 3 calls a month,with less than 6 framing jobs actually recieved over that three year period. Our part of the campaign was over a 400.00 per month outlay. Not a very good return. In fact, the lowest rate of return for any of our advertising programs.
    My advise would be to carefully ascess your advertising dollars and let your fingers do the walking if need be.

    Accent
     
  19. Linda Foote

    Linda Foote CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    One year ago, when Sue May and I reopened our shop in our new location, we contacted Verizon for new phone service and an ad in the YP. As expected, the rep tried his best to sell us BIG ads in every category, but we stuck to the size we felt would give our customers our new address and phone number. For some reason, only known to Verizon, the billing stopped on the ads for the old location! Six months later a collection company called us about the six months due. [​IMG]

    Then, when the book for this year came out last October, the name of our store was MISPELLED. And the billing has stopped again. I am waiting for the collection agency to call again... :rolleyes:

    But Verizon is not the worst for us!! We also have a small ad in the competition YELLOW BOOK. They listed us in 5 categories under MY NAME instead of our store name. I complained and was told they would refund our payment. After several calls, I finally received a letter in August, 2001 that the check for the full amount would be mailed to us in October. :confused: It is now April and the check has never come. Of course, now they want us to advertise in the next book.

    And to make things worse, every small community in the DC Metro area has its own Yellow Pages book. They are quite handy because they are not so BIG and HEAVY, and they do advertise to our immediate area. We have at least 4 local books that cover our closest customer area!!!

    Yesterday, a woman came into our store and asked if we use Verizon or ATT. I told her I did not want to discuss either company and then showed her the door. [​IMG]

    Of the 4 books with our small ads this year, only ONE got the ad exactly right. BTW we really do get a fair number of customers from YP, so we consider it a necessary evil. :mad:

    I just love the Graemlins.... can't talk without them.... [​IMG]
     
  20. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've wondered about the value of Yellow Pages advertising for years. Last year we paid over $600 a month for a small display ad.

    This year we're taking the advice of the WCAF-Las Vegas Roundtable participants. Jay Goltz led the comments on this topic, suggesting we might get a better return on a direct mail campaign, and use only a small in-column YP ad.

    I decided to take that advice, and will begin mailings immediately. I also decided to use the YP savings to pay for our new Fletcher F-6100. I know that seems like I spent the savings twice, but I don't think so. One or the other should pay for itself. [​IMG] :rolleyes:
     
  21. Dermot

    Dermot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    It's OK Jim...............I understand........I think.

    [​IMG]
     
  22. Lance E

    Lance E Member

    We have cut YP adverts down to listings over the past few years, 13 month billing is common in the local directories but the regional book is 12 months.
    Linda, if these people owe you money and you have the letter stating so simply put your debt collector on it and stop running in circles.
     
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