Cancel Your Yellow Pages Ad

In an article entitled "Google Trends: Yellow Pages Will Be Toast In Four Years," the blog search engine land, says "marketing industry savants have long been predicting the demise of print Yellow Pages books, going the way of the buggy whip due to overwhelming competition from Internet alternatives. Further, the aggressive invasion of search engines into the local space during the past few years has inspired some analysts to wonder if Internet Yellow Pages directories might also be headed for extinction along with the printed books. Readily available stats from Google show trends and provide a good sense of what's actually going on across the local space on the Internet. Ironically, we can also use these stats to predict the demise of traditional Yellow Pages sites."


Yellowpages Cancel that #*$%! expensive yellow pages ad.  This was the clear advice I gave to attendees at our conference "Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan" in Chicago.  I repeated the advice at the Chicago Bar Association technology conference.  You now have permission to save yourself a small fortune.

Fewer people are reading the Yellow Pages every day. It's last century's marketing. Instead, they are using the Web to find attorneys. Take the money you save and plow it into your online presence.  People now use Google to look up phone numbers, addresses and law firms.

Ask yourself -- when was the last time you personally opened that thick, hard-to-read yellow directory?  It's been a long time, hasn't it? There are multiple yellow page directories anyway -- which one did you use?

According to Pew/Internet, Yahoo beats all yellow pages.  Verizon yellow pages are No. 2.

By advertising in the yellow pages, you are doing what thousands of other lawyers are doing.  You are simply making yourself more like the competition, not distinguishing yourself. There's no way to break from the clutter -- there are hundreds of lawyer yellow page listings.

Besides, most yellow pages ads are written by their salesmen.  That's why they all look the same. Save your budget while you still can. Get out now.

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Stark County Law Library Blog - January 25, 2007 8:47 AM
Posted by Larry Bodine:
Accountants Round-Up - January 25, 2007 11:01 AM
By Larry Bodine: Cancel that #*$%! expensive yellow pages ad. This was the clear advice I gave to attendees at our conference Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan in Chicago. I repeated the advice at the Chicago Bar Association technology conference.
Comments (15) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Ken Clark - January 25, 2007 12:56 PM

Cancel your Yellow Pages ad?? Are you nuts or just kidding everyone?? US adults referenced them over 15 billion times last year. And that's just the print versions. 90% of all adults reference them at least once a year, 75% in a typical month, and 50+% on average month. How about on average 1.4X each week? And let's remember that not everyone has Internet access to reference those websites you are talking about.

There is no other directional media that can provide buyers the information they need when they need it about local businesses than the print Yellow Pages. It is truly the original local search engine.

But if you insist, that same Yellow Pages sales rep also has a complete portfolio of local search and Internet based products that they can help you with.....

BB - January 26, 2007 7:30 AM

Larry Bodine's comments about getting out of Yellow Pages advertising are on target - and the rebuttal by Ken Clark is laughable, spoken by a true Yellow Pages person. Once I saw those rantings, I figured they must be from someone from YP. Sure enough. Follow Larry's lead - spend that money wisely, but elsewhere.

Ann - January 26, 2007 10:13 PM

I believe Yellow Pages advertising will be obsolete within 3 years. The hyper aggressive scare tactics employed by the Yellow Pages sales reps I dealt with last year were signs of desperation. Buy a bold listing with an extra line for your website, and do the same in the White Pages and call it good, then get yourself a website that represents you well.

John Kelsey - January 27, 2007 6:57 PM

Why don't you let peoplwe know the truth, Larry?
So let me provide some clear advice to attorneys who want to see their business grow. Advertise in the Yellow Pages. Why?
1. In 2002, there were 263.6 million references to the print Yellow Pages. In 2005, that number had grown to 311.5 according to Knowledge Networks/SRI.
2. Eighty-one percent of people who go to the attorney heading in print Yellow Pages say they have already done business or intend to do business with an attorney. In other words, they are ready to buy.
3. The return-on-investment for attorneys who advertise in Yellow Pages is 18 to 1. In other words, according to CRM Metered Ad Study, for every $1 invested in print Yellow Pages attorneys can expect to get back $18 in revenue.

Dick Larkin - January 28, 2007 12:26 AM

Advertising in ANY medium without a well thought-out plan is likely to be a waste.

Yes, as the others have commented, print Yellow Pages are far from dead.

Granted, overall usage of the print product is on the decline, and the number of titles has proliferated, but they still deliver value if used properly.

Print Yellow Pages are effective for attracting certain types of clients in certain situations.

It's important for an attorney to clearly define the types of clients he/she wants and to focus all components of the marketing plan toward those targeted customers.

Ask your current clients if they use the Yellow Pages. If you find that your clients use the Internet, then that's an indication where you should be spending your marketing funds.

If your current clients ask their accountants for referrals, then that's another market to cultivate.

The Yellow Pages have provided value for over a hundred years. Don't write the obit yet.

Zach Katkin - February 1, 2007 6:14 PM

Yellow pages are being used and referenced less and less everyday, but as people switch to more forms of online digital marketing, the pendulum will probably end up swinging back. But, the beauty of the yellow pages is that, unlike search engine rankings or optimization you are not at the mercy of an ever changing system, you get what you pay for, and there are not typically thousands of spammers paying for local listings for Personal Injury Attorney.

Jack Rawlins - February 6, 2007 2:13 PM

Today I received a notice from Yellow Pages Inc, with this notice:(in red yet))
"IMPORTANT!please detach and return this portion with your payment. Please respond by March 14, 2007"

Just below the "Total Amount $177.00" was a small notice that said: "New Total if Additional Advertising is Ordered."

In the old days the scammers were nice enough to say "This Is Not an Invoice."

Ben Glass - February 9, 2007 9:19 PM

Yellow pages, like any media, can work. However, letting the Yellow Page rep design your ad is nuts. Their solution for everything is "buy more."

To be effective, your ad must look different from other ads, make a clear offer and invite the consumer to start a conversation with you.

Most ads (designed by the reps) look the same, make no real offer ("Free Consultation is not an offer")and offer nothing unique.

Look, yellow pages is one of two media that people who are looking for a lawyer go to.. the other is the Internet and the Internet is killing yellow pages. ..but, if you are going buy yellow pages media, you just can't do what every other lawyer is doing.

BB - February 20, 2007 9:58 AM

Cancel your ads at your risk. Have a look at www.yellowpages.ca to see the future.

This organization combines print, internet and telephone advertising that blows away everything. All the local business listings on Google.ca, Yahoo.ca and msn.ca are provided by the Yellow Pages Group. They just recorded another huge quarterly profit. They sell sonsored links on the major search engines to local businesses. Their online find engine is entirely keyword searchable and the print ads are all digitized. They are working on pay-per-call and already have a free telephone version of the talking yellow pages called hello yellow. What's more it is a 100 year old company and is getting ready for the future in a big way.

Like I said, cancel at your own risk.

Alan Saltz - April 17, 2007 11:25 AM

A blanket statement to cancel your Yellow Pages ad just doesn't make sense. The results show the ROI for attorney ads is quite positive, and with an ad that distinguishes you from the competition you can truly excel. Cancel it? No. Track it and see for yourself that it's a good investment. That's how you decide.

People are ABSOLUTELY still turning to the Yellow Pages, especially when they want to review numerous options at once. Your prospects are in there. If you're content letting your competition grab ahold of them, then by all means just "save" your money.

Raiford Palmer - October 2, 2007 11:28 AM

My former firm lost big with Yellow Book and Yellow Pages. We tried small ads. We tried large ads. We ended up with poor quality clients and an advertising expense far outweighing our income generated from the ads. In addition, I was very dissatisfied with the YP customer service--when our metered ads clearly were generating far fewer leads than promised, YP was not willing to reduce our monthly bill (yes I know they did not "guarantee" the calls in the contract). The only thing positive I could say about Yellow Book was that the prices were about 1/2 of YP, and the pricing system was better--such that YP later copied it.

The web advertising YP and YB now pitch as part of a package can be had independently from any number of providers and directly from Google and Yahoo. Who goes to "yellowpages.com"? They go to Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search.

Right on target, Mr. Bodine.

Jay Rose - March 5, 2008 11:29 AM

I have worked as a Yellow Page Account Manager for both AT&T and Yellow Book. There is a reason why there are so many ads at the heading. The YP's work! When the ads are designed properly they work. I have never proposed a program for an Attorney that was not profitable. I have sold programs that were not profitable due to the attorney not wanting to spend the time to discuss their own business. How much can you expect to accomplish in a 15 to 45 min. meeting with an account rep that does not know what makes your firm different than another. I have sat down with numerous attorneys that were spending thousands of dollars with me that barely gave me 20 minutes. If I am more concerned with your advertising dollars than you are how do you expect to get an advertising program that distingushes your business from another.
The metered ads are out there and the numbers do not lye. If you want to grow your business you still need to be vibrant in the YP's.

Larry - December 4, 2008 11:46 AM

I've been an advertising professional for over 25 years, planning and executing media buys that include yellow pages and the internet. Your blanket criticism of directory advertising is irresponsible. You are akin to a talk show host who takes a position on a topic simply to create dialogue, and one that is not usually indicative of reality. Let's deal with the real facts. Indeed, yellow pages advertising is stagnant. This does not mean it is not cost effective. Media planning involves in-depth cost-per-thousand analysis and on this level yellow pages is extremely low priced compared to comparable media. You cannot simply lump phone directories in with things like TV, radio, billboards or print. The only time someone picks up a yellow pages directory is when they need something. Period. These are active buyers, not casual shoppers. Do you also need creative-based media? Of course! The consumer public has become so fragmented over the past decade thanks to multi-channel electronic media that no one door can act as entry to the buyer's wallet. It takes planning and execution to devise a strategy that involves multiple channel mediums. Yellow pages is one such avenue that needs utilized. Are the yellow pages publishers guilty of wrongdoings? Absolutely! However, so are the powers-that-be at other media companies. The simple rule of thumb I repeat over and over is failure to plan is planning to fail. Do a radio buy with no strategic plan and it will fail. The same goes for TV and newspapers and yellow pages. My advice? Determine the expertise of the media rep who comes calling on you. Ask yourself if they are a product oriented peddler simply selling spots, space or ads. Or is this person qualified to devise a media strategy for his chosen field that properly executed will deliver a solid return on investment? I see magazine ads that are outstanding and promote brand awareness and response. I see others that are a joke. This is also true for the yellow pages. You will get out of your media investment what you put into it. That involves your - the client - participation and real expertise from the sales agent asking you to sign a check. Advertising that produces no return on dollars spent is a cost. Advertising that delivers real ROI is an investment. This is where it begins and ends.

David - June 14, 2010 6:32 PM

I think yellow book costs to much for what it delivers.Yellow book told me I could expect 50 calls a month for a ad my size I average 6 that makes the calls I recieve cost me a 100.00 per call that I get on that number I use the same ad on the internet and my web site costs me about .15 cents per customer visit and I close 86 percent more of those than I do the phone book calls.

Clay - April 14, 2011 7:36 PM

This article is now over 4 years old and the yellow page industry is still a multibillion dollar per year business. Sucks to be wrong. Advertise everywhere people are looking for you. That's the bottom line. Don't miss out on business because a over paid writer had nothing better to say.

Comment from Larry Bodine: The yellow pages, like the dinosaurs and dodos before, are becoming extinct. Most businesses and individuals are using Google and social media to find lawyers. Sure, the yellow pages make money -- there's a sucker born every minute.

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