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Yellow Pages

Bob Larson

So it's that time of year when my yellow pages ad lady calls me up. She gave me a lot of great numbers, and if I wasn't concerned with researching first, I'd definitely do it, because I'm looking at a 2" square ad, white background, full color with logo, and the #1 spot on the internet for $280 a month for a year ad, which is in my budget, and I've been meaning to put something in the phone book. The best part is that there aren't many ads like this on the page I'd be on, so it will definitely set me apart.

But I am concerned with researching first, so I'd like to get some advice from those of you who know better than I do. I know at least some of you use yellow pages ads, with varying degrees of contentment.

How big, how much color, how much money, and how much response do you get, if you'd be so kind. Even if you're not feeling kind, I'd appreciate any advice you have to offer.

(I'm kinda hungry - even a good suggestion for dinner would go over well right now
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MGF, Master Grumble Framer
We have an ad in the Yellow Pages. I does a good job for us. I think if you are in a smaller area it works best.

Many Vices

Grumbler in Training
hey, Bob. I'd say use the smallest ad you can get away with while staying on the first page.
Skip the color if your competitors are in B/W.
Save Money! Your 238/month is nearly 3 grand in a year. If you're like most framers you are clearing 10% profit. Net profit. You'll need to sell about 3,000 per month to pay for your ad!

I have found that a clean, professional ad smaller than the competitors hasn't hurt me.
The yellow pages are for people who already want to use your service and are looking for a trust-inspiring ad, not necessarily the biggest or flashiest.

Use some of the money you save to do some direct mail pcs to existing customers to get them in one more time per year.
And don't forget, which ever ad you take, TRACK YOUR CUSTOMERS. A year from now you can review, and evaluate the ad by the amount of new biz it generated.

It's a headache. I know. Eat two slices and call me in the morning.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
You’re going to get information that’s all over the place about the YP's.
The one piece of advice I would give you is make sure you address is larger than your phone number. Your YP rep will argue with you about it but ignore her.
The reasons you want your address larger is 1) most people are just looking for the closest framer and 2) its really hard to sell custom framing on the phone. Do you want to answer calls all day with the question "how much is...?"


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
I run a family photo in my ad every year. Underneath the photo I put in "Family owned and operated". People come in all the time saying I like the photo of your family, and I like dealing with local business, not chains.
I like the business the ad brings in, it is but it is pretty expensive.

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
As David says, advice all over the place on this one. I've talked to a number of framers that beleive they have had great luck with the YPs. I found it to be a complete waste of money. No where close to a ROI.

As Judy suggests, your demographics will play a part in it's usefulness.

J Phipps TN

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I personally don't buy Yellow page advertising.

I have in the past, for the 1st 2 years my business was open.
The main two reasons,

1. I only had about 2 calls a year from it,

2. It never even came close to paying for itself,

I decided to put that money into direct mail and high end local magazines. These do pay for themselves.

Now there are two yellow page books and there is no way a frameshop could afford to advertise in both.
We are listed in there for free, so I see no point in spending money to just make it larger.

I also feel the same way about the newspaper. although if we have a special event, I would consider it.



PFG, Picture Framing God
I get a call nearly every day from someone looking at our yellow pages ad, which says "affordable custom framing". Since our demographic area is pretty big, and there are several BB's in the vicinity, I consider it imperative for our business. Expensive, yes, but just a couple of frame jobs or art sales can pay for the ad.

Many of you have said that internet YP listings are more important for you. I believe that here again it's a case of demographics, as we rarely (never?) get a call or someone comes in who found us from the internet listing, and when it comes time to renew that, I probably won't.


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I always wondered about the value of YP advertising and spent big bucks each year without a real clue as to the return.

One year I took my rep up on publishing a different number which could be tracked to determine the number of calls generated by the ad. It would ring into my shop and I was supposed to get a monthly report (which I didn't until year end after I demanded it).

Not only did I pay a small fortune for the color display ad, but I was charged for each call placed to the "special number".

Results: I averaged less than two calls a month from the ad with a direct cost of almost $ 300.00 per call.

Do I still advertise with YP? Yes...Black bold listing only.

Dave Makielski

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Due to a YP foul up, we too had a trackable "forwarded" number with a trackable number of calls. Like Dave, it was extraordinarily mediocre.

We currently uses the line line listing only

But may I suggest that for those that do feel this a necessary tool, that you rethink your ads?

Too many, in my opinion, do not attract clients

Look at most ads and they list all the things that most consumers probably perceive as "expensive"

See how many tout things like "Specializing in Conservation Framing" or "Experts in Needlework" or "Shadowboxes our Specialty"

How about

Great Prices
Friendly Service
Quick Turnaround
Conveinent Hours
Locally Owned and Operated

I think if you ask Joe consumer which items have a greater degree of acceptance, the second group might come out ahead

I think more YP ads are written with each other in mind rather than consumers


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
We have 4 yes 4 phone books here in Lexington! I have an ad in all of them and it has been money well spent.

I sell equine art as well as framing so I am listed under art galleries and under picture framing.

When they come in to renew the ad, I have always been able to get either a better price or a larger ad for the same money.

It has worked well for me!

I will add that my Ads re not $200.00 + a month.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Had the visit yesterday...

After a 4-5 minute spiel on reach, numbers, value, etc I interrupted - "sounds like an intro to a big price increase..."
"No, no" he says - there's great value in a big display ad....

Yes - the low-ball guys all have big display ads. My most direct competition has a line ad or maybe the 1" box (like us).

"What about the internet - and a long spiel on the value of yellowpages.com. I stopped him - our experience with that was less than bad - got ZERO response from the extra $$$ we spent on the online portion.

Then I told him that I felt "YP was a necessary evil, and every year I wonder how necessary it is." I don't think he likes me very much.

It all depends on your market - look at your competitiors add and see what you can say differently. MAYBE it works for you - but I'd rather go with a low-cost (not cheapest necessarily) and put the extra $$ into a direct mail or alternative source. YPInternet of $80 x 12 months = $960 freed up for other marketing things.

AND track your responses.



SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I think its important to research this for your area as best possible. I have found the YP ads I place to be invaluable. But I am careful about which books I go into. I use strictly the smaller community books. Which for my area works well.

One company has sent no less than four different reps, sometimes double teamed to get me to advertise in their big book. It is alrge one that covers our capitol district area. I won't do it.

1 they don't have a good reputation.
2 Most businesses listed are from the immediate capitol area 30 miles away
3 too expensive

Being new I have had more people call and come to me because of the yellow pages.

It doesn't hurt either that my business starts with an 'A' either.

Like I said this is one area where I think its very important to do research. Different towns/cities are going to hae different needs
I definetly agree.. all areas are different.. I am in a small town as well.. My advertising in the YB and Online is around $35 a month.. however I have not had a call yet that said that is how they found me... Most have either:
1. Seen my sign and stopped to find out more about me.
2. Seen my ad in the local paper.
We have a paper than is put on everyones doorstep on Saturday morning.. it is a free paper to residents, Advertising is not cheap, but has brought many new customers my way!
Research... and always ask "How did you hear about us!"

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
6 magic words - "How did you hear about us?" We ask it all the time.

We're in 3 books covering a radius of about 50 miles of our shop. In 1 of the books we have a 1" inline box ad in one heading. In two of the books we have a 1" inline box ad in two different headings.

The key element to our ads is our web address. A vast majority of the replies to the "6 magic words" are "we saw your ad in the yp, then we looked at your website before we called..."

We also have much work shipped in - it helps to have a niche business.


True Grumbler
Bob makes a good point but as a consumer I have to say that I "expect" those things he listed, great prices etc.

I too opted for a color ad not because I was the only one on the page with a color ad but because it remains "consistant" with my other advertising.
Consistany and repetition in your advertising are going to work better in the long run.
A good logo helps too.
Your website in your ad is a must because it attacts a younger customer.
I purposefully do not list my hours because it gives them a reason to call me. That's when you present yourself in a way,, friendly, give great prices and all that stuff Bob mentioned. That has helped me get people in the door.


True Grumbler
I have a really, really, long, sharp and jagged thorn in my side about the yellow pages,
so I may not be the right person to be responding to this one, BUT, with that said...
I have had nothing but bad bad juju from the YP, and I will never pay for another ad in them again.
ok, sorry... rant started to take over....
I basically had a really bad experience when I first opened. I had no idea what my budget was for advertising, but saw all my competitiors in the book, and thought I had to do it. The guy/rep came in throwing all these statistics at me that I couldn't argue with, he was here for hours, tiring me out with charts and graphs, and eventually it all made sense. I wound up with 2 ads, (1/8 page?, biz card size), I paid $250/month for the two ads.
I got like 2 calls in a year. TWO... I was shocked. I tracked every client I didn't already know.. TWO CALLS. And the $$$ was hurting me. I couldn't afford it. I thought it would at least pay for itself... worst case scenario.. Nope.
And cancelling is hard with a rep like that. So if you trust your guy, that's great. But I made the mistake of believeing what he told me, that I could cancel anytime, that it would be "business suicide" not too.
And after that fiasco, this year, I had to pay for the free listing just to insure that it would make it in the book, because my rep quit and i didn't call in to reorder my free listing. How assine is that?

Maybe it's b/c I'm in a city with so many frame shops.. in a smaller town it could work much better, especially b/c you'll be one of the only ones on the page, and $280 isn't terrible for an ad.
I found the hardest thing about it was that you pay for a year for a decision you make in one day.. make sure that money couldn't go to better use..
Sorry for the ranting...
and honest congrats to everyone who has had good experiences with the YP.. I wish I could join that club!

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Originally posted by frmallday:

Your website in your ad is a must because it attacts a younger customer.
It's a must - period!

When we do shows, you'd be amazed at the number of retired folk who look at our card and say, "oh great, you have a website..."

And many of my customers correspond with us via e-mail.

But back to the subject at hand...

I don't think big ads in the yp are necessary, but I think the in-line box ads are essential.

Let's say Mrs. Smith needs to come pick up her framing - but she has misplaced your card. She's in the kitchen gettng ready to leave, will she go turn on the computer and go online just to find your phone number? No, she'll grab the phone book (unless, you've, like I have, given her a calendar that hangs prominently in her kitchen, where I've seen so many of ours hang... :D )

I still think anything we can do to make it easier for our customers to contact us is worth it - "path of least resistance" or least trouble, and all that jazz.
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