It’s not as if you can “try” a Yellow Page ad for a short time. A Yellow Page ad is there for a year and you pay for it for a year. Even if after one month you decide it’s not helping.
Plus, there are lots of brands and editions of Yellow Pages out there. Should you advertise in one? Two? All of them? There’s the brand you’ve heard of, plus myriad knockoffs. There are regional editions. There are local editions. There are editions that (supposedly) fit in the map compartment of your car. Oh, and don’t forget the online Yellow Pages. Of course, every edition, according to its sales rep, is The One That Gets Used The Most, and your business will capsize if you neglect to place an ad in it.
Meanwhile, you have to wonder. More and more of us turn to search engines on computers and handhelds instead of to the Yellow Pages. Does anyone even use the darned books any more?
The answer is yes. Incomprehensible as this may be to the technologically adept, not everyone in this country is online. And, even among the plugged-in populace, there are people who would rather open the Yellow Pages than ask Ask, Google, Yahoo! or Bing.
There is a way to find out if your Yellow Page ad brings in business. Put a phone number in the ad that you don’t use anywhere else. If you place ads in more than one book, give each ad its own phone number. Then count the calls that come in on that number, and follow up to see how many result in business.
You don’t have to set up oodles of phone lines to do this. Companies like CallSource will lease you a phone number that rings on your existing lines and phones. There’s no investment in lines or equipment at your end, and the process is invisible to you and your customers. Meanwhile, their system will count the calls on each line for you (and even record them if you want).
A caution is in order. A low response might mean that Yellow Pages don’t produce business. But it might indicate instead that your ad is impotent. So before you test the Yellow Pages, test the ad you intend to place to be sure it is indeed effective.
Valid scientific ad testing is a bit of a hassle, which is one of many reasons most advertisers don’t bother with it. But that’s how to find out if Yellow Pages work for your business. Otherwise, you’ll just have to guess.