Phone Book Advertising?

I’m wondering how many of you place an ad in the phone book and if you have seen results from it?

Where I am at there are multiple phone books to place an ad in, so you could easily spend a few thousand dollars in ads.

I have a friend who owns a pest control business and they are a multi-million dollar company and he told me that they got their business primary from the phone book, but that they spend like $30,000 a year for their ads since they do all of Southern California up into LA and down through San Diego.

I don’t have that kind of Cash but I have thought about maybe one or two Ads but I want to be sure it would see a return.

What are your experiences with phone book advertising?

Phone books are obsolete. i haven’t had one in, I’m guessing, maybe 5 years now. 12 years restaurant experience and I have never, thats right, NEVER seen one phone book coupon come in the door.

That money would be better spent on direct mailing, SEO, and print ads.

I use the phone book. Use the one who provides the local phone service. In my area it’s Quest. So I advertise in the Quest Dex Yellow Pages. I have a 1x1.5 ad that costs $40 something a month. It pays for itself the first month of the yearly billing cycle. People in my area are more likely to still be using the phonebook than people on the coasts, i’m guessing, so maybe that’s bad advice for you?

Well I know that for younger people the phone book is non existant but for those 50+ folks thats the old stand by dont you think. In fact most older people dont really use technology to look for things. Or so it seems from the older people I have spoke to. Which is why I have thought about the phone book. As for SEO I have that covered. But since my friend with the multi million doaller company uses the phone book excessivly I was trying to see by what you all have experienced from using it, if that same kind of sucecess would spill over into window washing.

In reference to the above post. I would never use the phone book to find a place to eat. I would use one, however, to find someone in the service industry to shampoo my carpet, paint my house, mow my lawn or wash my windows. Yes, the same kind of success will spill over into window cleaning, that’s the kind of business people turn to the yellow pages for…

Nice Website and logo, by the way…

I would be interested in knowing if WCR uses the phone book for their window cleaning business and for WCR store. Also if WCR first started out with the phone book when they started their business in window cleaning?

I met w/ my YP rep last week. He had a lot of reasons for me to increase the size of my ad and add more internet presence thru their online services. Since we had only 3 verifiable calls last year and no jobs from the ad I told him we were probably just dropping the ad. I may stay in the book w/ just a simple one line ad but I got ZERO ROI on over $1000 in the YP’s so I’m using that money on door hangers and direct mail instead.

Sorry to burst anyones bubble, but let’s be honest here… the costs of running an ad in the phonebook are just outrageous, and they are obsolete. Everything is internet based now: fact. I personally have never and would never touch a phonebook to look up anything whatsoever, and I’ve asked a ridiculous amount of people the same question, all to be given the same exact answer. Some were even dumbfounded as to what I was even referring to (the phonebook). And again, this is all age groups, I’m not quite sure the age group is as relevant as you may think.

Don’t do it.

Im killing it with the phone book. I guess its because I run color ads and they arent the same old mumbo jumbo that you see over and over again in just about every ad for a service company ( you know: commercial, residential, fully insured, free estimates). When you advertise in the YP’s, you have to be creative just like any of your other marketing materials. Who cares about all that commercial-residential specialists stuff. You will get lost in a sea of print if you mimic your competitor(s). A homeowner looks at all of the YP ads and has to choose between all of the ones that basically say the same stuff. If you are giving advise on here about shying away from the YPs because they are dead, I would have to ask those who are saying this if they have invested any kind of ad size to prove it. YP’s are tricky. You have to really dissect it to get the right combination. 3 years ago, I ran a quarter page ad and it cost me roughly around 6,000.00 per year. There were 3 other with that same size ad that year. My roi was decent but quite a few dropped outta sight the following year so I reduced my ad size and cost to almost half. Im still in top position and calls are streaming in. The only way to find out if the YPs work, you have to try them out. It could be a geographical thing but its working well in my area. Not everyone has a website so until then, Ill keep spending the money where I get a decent ROI. That is my experience with them. This is my 8th year being with them. (The past 12 before that was just a line in the book).


You may not be the typical person seeking products or services.

In addition, just because no coupons were presented doesn’t mean a restaurant wasn’t found via yellow pages.

My typical ROI with AT&T Yellow Pages is between 3:1 and 5:1. It’s running much higher this year.

I’ve increased the size of my ads (and content) the last few years. I have seen diminishing returns each year. It was useful when I first started but I’m going w/ more proactive advertising now. I have the website so I can have 24/7 advertising.

Your like a freakin’ advice giving machine on this site man. :wink: You go ton. :stuck_out_tongue: Don’t mean to stray from the posted topic, but how is the traffic to your website? And are you getting straight business from it, from customers who would have never known about you otherwise? And how are you ranked? And do you use google or yahoo adword advertising? And how’s that going for you?

Thank you :smiley:

I get several leads each week in the form of e-mails from the site. My ROI on it is 50 times higher than my YP ad.
I’m on the first page when you Google “window cleaning Iowa” (the whole state not just my town) when you Google "window cleaning iowa city or coralville I’m in the top 3 every time I check.
I am in the top 2 spots on Bing for “window cleaning iowa” (or iowa city or coralville)
I’m in the top 3 on Yahoo Search for "window cleaning iowa city or coralville"
I also come up in the top 3 when I Google the zipcodes ie “window cleaning 52244 or 52241” etc.
These are straight organic listings - I don’t use adwords or other pay per click systems.

Your a gem Tony. Thanks for answering the way you do. So if you could give me the top things I could do to my site to get it to rank higher, what would you recommend?

My biggest asset is that I don’t have hardly any competition using a website. I also listened to the guys on this site like SEO Doug (who will be speaking at the MWCC here in Iowa in July) and Chris about making doing what I could as far as SEO. I adjusted my meta tags for the words most commonly searched for in my area and I try to put up fresh content on my site weekly. I link everything I can to my site and keep the links on my site as closely related to wcing as possible. I’m sure there are things I’m not doing right and will be listening intently to Doug this summer to glean as much more as possible. I’ll more than likely join his SEO group to make sure I continue to dominate my area for years to come.

So your saying that meta tags are still important? I heard that the search engines have gone away from using them because of misuse from certain sites?

It’s still working for me. I listed all the things I do. I get the impression though that the powers that be want us to keep guessing as to what works and what doesn’t. Like I said i figure it’s time to get Doug on my side. Think of him as Google ranking insurance!

Wow… He’ll be glad to hear that.

Thanks btw. :wink:

Phone books will be gone in the very near future. If giant newspapers are falling to the
internet, so will a clumsy book.

That said, it may be worth sticking around to make sure you keep that source of lead
generation open. The yellow pages almost put me out of business and once I dumped
them and used direct marketing, I grew fast.

It is not the same for everyone in every area. Just like there is no flier or postcard
that will get the same results everywhere. What I use that is killing it may really
kill the guy in Louisiana.

I would stick my toe in the water and fight for a good rate (most YP will give you
a first year special. They did with me 8 years ago… they are far more desperate