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    44 Replies Latest reply on Apr 2, 2008 1:50 PM by chandler

    Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?

    ErrandService Newbie
      I have priced out Yellow Book and Yellow Pages and can seem to figure out how to best allot my money. Both of these offer anything from a simple listing to a full ad. I was wondering if anyone has found success in one or the other and if you have any tips for me in my search for a phone book listing.
        • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
          DealMaker Newbie
          I was in the yellowpages for 10 years. The ad was big and the price nearly doubled every year. I think during that time period I was only able to trace 4 clients to the ad. I now run a line ad in the yellowpages for a lot less. Most of my money goes into newspaper ads because my clients expect to see their properties in the newspaper.But, I now receive 75 percent of our leads from our websites. The least expensive to run. Was it yellowpages worth it? For me, not!

            • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
              Y Not Mag Newbie
              Thank you Deal Maker. I am in the process of finding the best low cost ways to advertise. I want people to get familiar with the name of my magazine and to advertise the Launch Date for my website. Any other suggestions besides the Yellow Pages? Thank you

              (Y-Not Magazine)
                • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                  LUCKIEST Guide
                  Y Not Mag. Have you found the best low cost ways to advertise??
                  What is the name of your magazine and when is the launch date??
                    • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                      intechspecial Ranger
                      I am locked in for a year in the yellow pages.

                      The ad was different then how they originally stated it would be. They told me I would be place with no other ads on the page, yet they put me inbtween two much bigger, more expensive ads.

                      The second phone book from the same company mis-typed my phone number in the normal listing. The sales person who was my best friend at first offers no assistance or explanation.

                      I have heard great stories, and stories of defeat.

                      I have recieved two phone calls from the add to date. One was from someone in an extremely bad part of town, with bums and prostitutes on the corners. The other was just someone wanting to chat on the phone. Although I did not mind talking, it made me no money.

                      My phone book ad is a story of defeat, kind of like the opposing coach stole my playbook and made some changes.

                      Now I must pay for an entire year of playbooks, and with each defeat comes an even greater bill.
                        • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                          HAARKconcepts Wayfarer
                          intechspecial...I worked selling Yellow Page advertising for 9 yrs at AT & T. Yellow Page adverting is the best ROI for a local area advertising campaign. The thing is to have the right ad, in the right place and saying the right thing. YP does work better for some businesses than it does for others. If your phone number is not correct; they will not make you pay for the ad. Just call customer service and they will adjust your billing amount. This is only for paid advertising not the free listing. If anyone has a question I will be more than happy to address it.
                      • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                        HAARKconcepts Wayfarer
                        Jamila...I really don't think YP will help with a magazine launch. You should be listed in your local YP with a free listing and perhaps a listing under ADVERTISING in the book. What type of magazine is it and what is your reach? I may have some ideas for you.

                    • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                      NatOnline Tracker
                      YP are not worth it, ROI will be so small you will wast your money.
                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                      • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                        fntmarketing Wayfarer
                        hes on google check it out... i told you i garauntee it
                        • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                          WaterBoyz Newbie
                          As each generation comes along, the phone book /yellow pages book gets used less and less. Yes, there are stories out there of the plumber that started out with a 1/4 page then 2/4 page then 3/4 page than 4/4 page then 2 pages. Now they are trapped. They have to advertise in the book.

                          Timing and product offered and the rest of the marketing plan/budget all comes into play.

                          As for me ... done various "yellow" type books and came up zero. Still owe the phone company $7000 for the last wasted ad.

                          Depending on product offered ... internet ... CraigsList ... Kudzu ... local community web directories.
                            • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                              NatOnline Tracker
                              I will say web directories, blogs and forums.

                              I use to use Craigslist, but your ads are no good after one week, and it is a pain of the butt to remove the old one's, submit again etc.... If you leave your ad 45 days it is a wast of time.

                              Kudzu poor results...
                                • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                  chandler Newbie
                                  I think it depends on what kind of business you run, but I would never advertise in the yellow pages. It's expensive for what you get.

                                  I'm curious about your response regarding Kudzu. I use the site a lot as a consumer and set up a profile of our business just to see how it works. We're a graphic design firm, so I don't think we're in their sweet spot, but we have gotten one good job from it. For what Kudzu charges for a premium profile, it's totally worth it.

                                  We don't get a lot of traffic, but the people that do contact us from Kudzu have already narrowed down who they're looking for. That means I don't have to waste time with tire kickers. We're a small shop, so spending time on back and forth with poorly qualified leads is deadly.
                              • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                emmagination Newbie
                                Sorry if this does not apply - This question was posted under Internet/eCommerce, so i'm assuming it's a web related business.

                                If you are an Internet Business, I personally do not recommend advertising in a Yellow Book. I suggest placing some really good web log analyzing scripts into your website like Google Analytics. You can view how many visitors view your site, how long they stayed, referring websites, what search engines referred them to you, what keywords or phrases they used to find you, etc. It's very thorough and FREE too. From analyzing your visitors you can gauge where you should focus your advertising dollars. I tried print ads and using the BBB also but had very few referalls. Not worth the money for myself. From my log analyzing over 80% of my visitors found me through Google. The other 20% or so was from Yahoo and MSN combined.
                                • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                  SEO-Expert Wayfarer
                                  You are one of our few clients who are promised the world for $100-300 for complete project. Anything less than $1000 (depnds on size of website, keywords to optimize) is just going to be waste. try to aviod foreign companies who are not accountable for what they claim. In a process to save money, you loose the amount and waste valuable time which you cannot afford to loose.

                                  The cost can range from $1000-$15000 for the whole project depending on services and level of SEO needed. When you are paying big money get a gurantee on top 10 or top 15 placement in Google as other search engines are not that important and does not generate revenue generating traffic.
                                    • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                      NatOnline Tracker
                                      Serious SEO cost a lot of money, Pricing vary between $3000 to $10-15000 like SEO-Expert said and he is right, under that it is a joke.
                                      Now who can afford this money? Manufacturers, big brands, big companies etc... in a short word forget it lol
                                      So if you are starting a business online, or run a little business like me, you better learn how to do your own SEO. Where can you learn that? Find some webmaster forums, they are plenty of tips and reel experiences.

                                      Why doing your own SEO if you cannot to afford a professional SEO expert? Let me tell you a few things:

                                      First of all, you are the only one who know your business or your field, yes it will take some time to improve your SEO, and if you are like me, I am learning everyday.
                                      Second of all, if you own a web software you master your site, you can make the updates you want. Need upgrades? No problem, many developers will be happy to help you if you don't have the knowledge.

                                      Testing, testing, testing, that is all about. you must test keywords, keyphrases etc.. wait a little and make changes if you need to.

                                      Good luck
                                      • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                        Yellow pages - complete waste of funds, unless you are some sort of local, geography limited biz (plumber, pizza joint, etc). Then, do a small ad, but offer a big reward if they visit your website to learn more (hint hint).

                                        SEO - with $0 (zero) funds, I was able to get a variety of top-10 google rankings for my website. No magic, and not a lot of hours, just great content, and properly structured code and tags. Yes, I am a professional webdev, but I do this for my clients as well, as part of the service for building them a great website. No extra fees - it's baked right in.

                                        Sites that are not mine, it can be a little to a lot harder, as one has to deal with the mess left by others to some degree (bad code, bad structure, no CSS, bad content, etc). Hard to give a price without seeing the patient.

                                        Ongoing, none of my clients pay monthly fees- we use pre-paid maintenance accounts, and tweak for SE results as new key phrases are discovered or desired.

                                        See, it's all in the ingredients you to make the soup...

                                        PS: did you know that PIZZA is the only restaurant type that has its own section in the yellow pages? (really!)

                                      • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                        smiley59 Newbie
                                        We are going to try the yellow pages for the Spanic market. It is a new company that owns the Phones in Mexico, and the owner, Forbes said is richer than Gates. I think the Spanic market is not full ready for the internet. I will let you know. I am part of the Farmers Insurance Group
                                        • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                          BeadBuddies Newbie
                                          I started my business, selling beads online 3 years ago. I quit my job 2 years ago and my wife quit hers 1 year ago. We both worked at one of those big insurance companies and hated our jobs. Anyways, enough of that.

                                          We ONLY do avertising through Google and Yahoo Sponsored Search and only spend $1500.00 a month or less on advertising. I have not tried the phone book but if I had $7000 extra to spend on an advertisement I would definitely not put it there. I cannot recommend Google over Yahoo because I personally use Yahoo more than Google for online searches. However, I usually see slightly better conversions through Google. I count on 5 times my money back that I spend on pay per click and always get it. Either that or word of mouth has really spread my business because that is the only advertising I do.

                                          SEO's - They will call you at least once per week. Listen to what they have to say but don't sign up for anything. If you are familiar with code you can do everything they say yourself and better.

                                          Best advice I can give is to spend that money on pay per click. It does work if your products are competitive!
                                          • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                            LUCKIEST Guide
                                            What GREAT and DIVERSE answers you received on yellow page advertising question.
                                            Yellow page advertising is VERY local. It also VERY expensive and you get locked in for a year.
                                            People send more and more time on line and that is where your advertising funds should go.
                                            • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                              APlusNYC Newbie

                                              I spent 25 years perfecting our Yellow Pages advertising in New York City and used to give keynote addresses on sales and marketing @ small biz conferences. I used to regard ANY Yellow Pages as a necessary evil. We stopped doing YP advertising in 2000 and focused on building our word-of-mouth referrals (which is where 60% of our new business was coming from). Word-of-mouth and repeat business is more effective than any advertising. Before spending $ on YP adv, are you doing everything you can to get word-of-mouth recommendations and to keep your existing customers as rabid fans? We still don't have a very good website (I created in a weekend five years ago) and are only getting around to doing search engine optimization. I spent the last five years, investing in putting the right team of people together, training them, and providing ALL my employees with health insurance. We've grown slowly, steadily, and organically--which works for me.

                                              My answer to you re: YP advertising is "it all depends." If you are marketing to people who don't use computers, Yellow Pages may work. If you are marketing a service that does not operate from a storefront, Yellow Pages may work. If you are marketing to an Internet-saavy group, I would not bother with YP.

                                              We perfected our YP advertising through the early 80's until we were getting $2.50 in first-time sales for each dollar spent. Lesson #1: track every inquiry so you know where prospects heard about you. Lesson #2: Learn how to write good copy. Lesson #3: It's not always about being the biggest ad: In one category, being one of the three largest ads worked. In another category, it made no difference at all--THAT was an expensive lesson! Lesson #4: There are better ways of creating an attractive ad than going to two or four color. Lesson #5: you have to be where people are looking for you. We thought of ourselves as being in the word processing business. People of a certain age looked for us under "Typing" or "Public Stenographer."

                                              Lesson #6: How are the books getting to your prospective clients? Just for giggles, next time you are visiting a client, ask him or her for their Yellow Pages. They may not even have one. It may be from 1999.

                                              After the first World Trade Center bombing, we watched our sales plummet to 50 cents on the dollar because the delivery mechanism of the Yellow Pages changed drastically due to security issues. When the Yellow Book came to New York City, their advertising claimed they would be sending out their books by USPS to specific addressees. Imagine my surprise when I saw their books stacked up on the front steps of buildings! I refused to pay their bills. After three years, we settled because despite what their advertising and salespeople said, the delivery mechanism was not spelled out in the contract. Lesson #7: If it doesn't say it in the contract, it isn't going to happen. If it DOES say it in the contract, it still might not happen.

                                              I am 52. Most of my staff is 30 and under. None of them use a Yellow Pages. I use them only occasionally for very specific neighborhood searches (a locksmith, a notary public, a computer repair shop who might have an obsolete part for our voice mail computer, etc.) Recently, we were adding another employee to our bullpen and were running out of room. My staff took one look at my filing cabinet full of Yellow Pages advertising materials that went back until before they were born and announced they had found space for the new employee. All my valuable information was put in storage boxes.

                                              There used to be a great book called "Turning Yellow Into Gold." It taught me about writing effective copy. So did "Ogilvy on Advertising."

                                              If you found this helpful, let me know. I'd love to be able to tell my staff that my intellectual capital still has a market in the new millenium.
                                                • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                                                  I think your advice is spot-on, APlusNYC (but then, I'm even older than you!). If the very first place a potential customer would look for a product or service is the phone book, then that business still needs a "yellow pages" type ad. As you noted, however, an increasing number of people are looking elsewhere (on the web, for instance) first -- so directory display ads are becoming less effective. The question posed is a good one for any business to consider -- and reconsider each year.

                                                  That's especially true in metro areas, where three different providers may print multiple "yellow page" directories to cover the city and surrounding suburbs, with different "overlaps" in each. Living near a city and county boundary, I've received ten different directories at my home this year. I kept the one that had "extras" (like park trail maps, sports/entertainment venue seating charts, discount coupons, and a separate government listings section) in the house. I put the smallest one in the truck. I recycled the other eight. So any advertiser here is probably only getting a third of the promised exposure (or less) from any one directory -- making it less "worth it."
                                                • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                  dilyan Newbie
                                                  I use YP as one of the sources for finding business clients. The nature of business determines the most appropriate media vehicle. I worked with a guy /pool repair & supplies/ who had more clients coming to him reffered from YP then coming from internet and newspapers. For some businesses it just works. Know your customers and know how they look for your product. Simple text ad would be just fine if you have dedicated customers who make research on what they buy - usually for big ticket items and services like roof change - people research more. For small businesses, like flower shop, a mid page color ad makes a complete sense.
                                                  Have a good one
                                                    • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                      david28078 Adventurer
                                                      Someone else where on a blog said "YP is for old folks" so if your market is older folks then go ahead.

                                                      For me - totally and utterly useless

                                                        • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                          What about online yellow pages? Aside from Google and Yahoo Local Search (which are eating the paper yellow pages alive, BTW), there are many local search engines and even ones provided by the phone companies (in NJ, it's

                                                          Local Search engines are designed not to answer global questions or research the way Google can, but are narrow focused to commerce/businesses needing to advertise in a limited geographic area. The best analogy IS the yellow pages of days gone by, but now on the internet.

                                                          The trick is to find local search engines that people in your area actually use - putting up an ad in the middle of the desert does you no good. You can get listed, usually fairly inexpensively, and pay month to month (instead of being locked in for a year). You might even get a simple 'billboard/bizcard' type of web page (I would NOT call it a 'website' - grin) to list basic profile info about you and your biz, including a link to your REAL website - you have one, right?

                                                            • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                              HAARKconcepts Wayfarer
                                                              MT...depends on what headings you are going to advertise under. Ask your rep to provide you a traffic report for the heading that you want to advertise under. This heading report will tell you how many people are going to that particular heading. Also you can have them put a AIN (metered number to count calls) in your advertising. This will tell you how many calls you are getting every month, what number they called from, whether their call was answered, busy or not answer and even how long the call was, time of the day, day of the week, etc...
                                                          • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                            inspector54 Newbie
                                                            Join Merchant Circle free advertising and you get to network with the locals,sometime word of mouth ios your best bet.
                                                          • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                            LUCKIEST Guide
                                                            Prepare a written business plan. It is not an easy task, but it is vital to the success of your endeavor.
                                                            One of the most important questions the plan will
                                                            ask is this: Who are the customers for my product or service.
                                                            Too many people attempt to go into business without knowing whom their customer
                                                            are or how to find them

                                                            Good luck, LUCKIEST
                                                            • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                              We advertise in the Yellow Book in several local markets in NJ and have had great success over the past 4 years. To our benefit, there aren't alot of local web design companies purchasing large ads in our region. Our ads have paid for themselves within the first quarter of every year since we began in 2003. As much success as we have had with the printed ads, I would not suggest having it as your only means, there should always be a mix in your campaign (internet, email and print).

                                                              Here are a few tips to aid you in your decision:

                                                              • As your sales person to show you the books for the areas that you plan to advertise in and see how many competing companies are also advertising there. Ask for the demographic data (how many businesses, residences, total population, average income)

                                                              • Look at the type of products you are selling and ask yourself, if you were your customer, would you be more likely to look in the yellow pages to buy it? go online? or visit a store in person?
                                                              • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                                BarryHurd Wayfarer
                                                                If you are looking for advertising of your personal assistant business, I would not recommend yellow page advertising. I am not aware of any significant categories that would draw this type of client demographic for you (I say that having worked at Verizon Information Services (i.e. yellow pages, for the past 7+ years.

                                                                I would actually refer you to look back at your own niche target of clients. I assume you have a higher percentage of clients in the "busy professionals" categories such as attorneys, real etate, doctors, and executive staff. There are online communities that you can market into with a much higher ROI on your money. For instance Linkedin probably has several "shakers" in your area that have exceptional professional networks. For the cost of a full-page ad you can establish a business partner in your area on Linkedin.

                                                                You can also look at working with established community sites in those niches or buying advertising on them. has hundreds of agents and brokers in that real estate market, which can be clients themselves or you could further get referral business by working with relocation agents.

                                                                I have not seen a business in your industry have a positive ROI with the print product. Even if you want to do business with those directory companies, I would encourage you to look more at the electronic options they have (pay per click, online listings, etc) that have measurable results and no long-term commitment.
                                                                • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                                  chippy_1. Newbie
                                                                  $4350 to have a 2" x 2" ad in the Dallas AT&T yellow pages = 1 real potential customer call = ZERO ACTUAL REVENUE DOLLARS. You do the math on the return on investment. In my case it was a HUGE waste of money.
                                                                  • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                                    HAARKconcepts Wayfarer
                                                                    Not sure if you ever got the question answered but just wanted to chime in. Ask your sales rep for a PUP (possession usage preference) study; this will tell you which phone book is the most effective in your area. The one that is the most effective is the one that you want to go with. Many businesses have been built off of YP advertising however, there are some businesses that get nothing from it. There are a lot of variables such as business type, size of the ad, what your ad conveys relative to your business and what you offer. People that use the YP are there because they have a problem and need a solution; the solutions are in the phone book.

                                                                    • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                                      MobileMktng Newbie

                                                                      Yellow Pages/Yellow Book is mistakenly referred to as advertising, usually by's nothing more than a reference, no different than an encyclopedia- its full of information, most of which you don't care to read.

                                                                      They've managed to fool businesses into thinking 'you have to be in the yellow pages', somehow it serves to legitimize a business. I'm nearly 40 and haven't had a phone book in my home since 1994, never wanted one one of those things taking up space, never needed one to access the info I was seeking. There are just a select few folks who don't know how to use or are unable to access a computer (for your number) these days and studies will show that the folks who can't/don't are generally in a demographic that most businesses aren't seeking to solicit (older, poor- those with limited discretionary income for purchasing).

                                                                      The phone book, like newspapers are becoming a thing of the past, the only thing that a large presence in them conveys is that you're fearful of moving into the if you were still dressing in Capezio shoes and Parachute pants, yeah, so what if it was stylish at the time. Things change.


                                                                      Don't fear pulling out all together, you need to, take that money and spend it elsewhere, anywhere, find a more effective and efficient alternative that DRIVES people into your business...go out and ENGAGE them!
                                                                      • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                                        CEO Space Scout
                                                                        I would say NO.

                                                                        Just make sure you have a listing so that you show up IF someone uses the book and more importantly, so that you get in the online version of the book.

                                                                        In my opinion, there are only a few businesses these days who get their main customers from the yellow pages.

                                                                        It is almost all referral and social networking online. This new Bank of America small business forum is just more proof.
                                                                        • Re: Advertising in the Yellow Pages/Yellow Book? Worth it?
                                                                          The Expert Adventurer
                                                                          Spend your money elsewhere
                                                                          Good Luck