You’re trapped…and the Yellow Pages sales rep knows
He is sitting their counting his commissions as you
make that gut wrenching decision to continue your
Yellow Pages ad for another year.
Do you do a quarter page ad, a third page, maybe even
a half page? Do you try to jump ahead of your
competitors by buying a bigger ad? Do you cut back on
your ad and hope it doesn’t hurt your business?
The sales rep loves this game. He knows that as long
as your competitors are in the book you will want to
be in the book. The only question is whether or not he
can manipulate you into buying more this year.
Before going much further I have a confession to
make…I am not a big fan of the Yellow Pages.
I don’t like how they sell it with manipulative sales
tactics. And, I don’t like how much it costs for what
you get back.
But it’s also…a necessary part of your marketing
strategy and the Yellow Pages sales rep knows it.
As long as your competitors have a display ad you will
also want to run a display ad. The sales rep is
counting on this form of collective extortion to force
you and your competitors to stay in the book.
I recently returned from visiting a client in
Kentucky. Flipping through the Yellow Pages in my
hotel room I noticed that there were no display ads
for the local funeral homes. That’s because years
earlier all of the funeral home owners got together
and made a firm commitment to stop spending money on
Yellow Pages display ads. They had the free text
listing but there were no display ads.
The owners saved thousands of dollars each, the sales
rep lost a lot of commission, and no one’s call volume
But that situation is definitely the rare exception.
The vast majority of funeral home owners are trapped
in the Yellow Pages game of collective extortion
because of the competitive nature of your local
As long as you’re trapped…here are some things that
your sales rep will not tell you.
Seventy percent of people who look in the Yellow Pages
already know the name of the business they want to
call. They are just looking for the phone number.
An additional ten percent cannot remember the name of
the business but will recognize it when they see it.
Again, they are just looking for the phone number.
If my math is correct, that means eighty percent of
people who look in the Yellow Pages are really just
looking for your phone number.
So if 80% of people are just looking for your phone
number, do you really need to spend the extra money on
a half page ad? Absolutely not!
In fact, I have found that you can safely decrease the
size of your ad and it will not hurt your business at
all. Just make sure that your business name is clearly
highlighted in the ad and the people who are looking
for you will find you.
But what about the other 20% of people? Will a large
display ad help you attract those families?
But here is something else your Yellow Pages rep will
not tell you…
For professional service businesses, large ads attract
clients who are looking for a quick solution to their
problem, with no effort on their part and at the
lowest possible price.
I once had an attorney as a client. His Yellow Pages
ad only brought him people who wanted to file
frivolous law suits and couldn’t pay his bill. So we
dropped the ad.
Another client was a financial advisor. His ad only
brought people who wanted to double their money in the
next twelve months because they hadn’t saved enough
for retirement. We dropped that ad as well.
Another client was a medical professional. His ad
brought him people that wanted him to cure their heart
disease but were not willing to give up their daily
big mac and fries. They also rarely had insurance and
could not pay the bill.
For my funeral home clients, having a large Yellow
Pages ad only increased the number of price shopper
If you want more price shoppers, go ahead and run a
full page ad. Just make sure that you really have the
lowest price in town and that you enjoy working with
My recommendation to most funeral home owners is…you
should continue to have a display ad as long as your
competitors have one (that’s the bad news)
However the good news is…you can also safely reduce
the size of that ad, save the money and in all
likelihood you will see no impact on your call volume.
And, you should NEVER increase the size of the ad
unless you have made the strategic decision to attract
more price shoppers to your funeral home.
With the money you save on your Yellow Pages ad you
may be able to afford to finally improve your website
or to start investing in other forms of advertising
like Google Adwords.
Quick update on the 5 information hotline projects we
have been working on this summer.
Four of the five are pretty much wrapped up and the
customized hotlines are sounding great. The fifth one
is still in production but should be done soon.
We have schedule September 23 as the date to launch
our next 5 projects. Registration opens to people who
join the Priority Standby List on September 16. Open
registration begins September 21.
Our previous launch in late June sold out within 48
hours. All of the spots were taken by people who
joined the Priority Standby List.
To learn how an information hotline can help your
funeral home visit
and register to watch 4 videos that explain
everything. After watching the videos you can join the
Priority Standby List if you are interested in one of
the 5 spots.
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