Anybody get good responses to Yellow Page ads?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MJK, Dec 18, 2007.

  1. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    I was thinking about making an ad for next season but some people tell me its a rip because there are 100's of companies in there, and others say you have to know how to write a good add for it. I was wondering if you guys have add any good or bad experiences with them and what kind of money did you spend on the ad. Thanks.

  2. TXNSLighting

    TXNSLighting LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 6,463

    we'll see. i did an online yellow pages ad. it was free. and can have links to your web site and email. well see how it works. dont bother with the book. alota people dont use the book anymore.
  3. boog502

    boog502 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I have to say i was really surprised with the response I had this year. I live in a smaller area that is a bit remote. People in my area looked for local people and called me. The best thing to do is wait for the last minute before the book goes to print, thats when the prices are best.
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I won't use it because I am in a densely populated suburban area, and the book is too expensive and too widely distributed. I would think it would be great in smaller less populated regions. Especially with the price of gas, I keep my customers as close as possible... all within 4 to 5 miles at the most. I prefer more locally orientated vehicles, like church bulletins.
  5. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 537

    we have to many phone books around here ... not worth it at all. i was paying $165.00per month and i only got a few calls .. it did not even pay for the add.
  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Rotten response for me, but the ad was only an 1".

    I'd say with small - just get a nice bold in column listing to be there.

    But the bigger ads probably work just fine.
  7. JohnsonLawn

    JohnsonLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    Only thing I got from the YP was a big advertising bill. Local papers and word of mouth work best for me.
  8. Fordsuvparts

    Fordsuvparts LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 517

    We spent like $10,000 last year on phone adds and they did pay for them selfs, but we found out that a few area's generated most of the calls- jobs. One job we did out of area paid for all the ads for the whole year. It was a big time money maker and it was only a $25,000 job, 4 tierd average size retaining walls and some landscaping, but they had a fenced in yard and the only piece of equipment that would fit was the Dingo. We just happened to have one and made out like a bandit on it. It was over 2 hours from our home town too.
  9. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    You will get alot of calls from the price shoppers. unless you have a dedicated estimate person, you will waist alot of your time.Put your number on your truck.
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I have a fairly extensive experience with YP ads over the years. So I guess I'll chime in with my experiences.

    Overall, I would say YP ads are not the best ROI. There are much better, more effective advertising methods that produce a better ROI. But YP does have it's uses. You just need to be cautious and don't expect too much.

    My first few YP ads were small 1" ads, like Mario Vaden mentioned. Those produced very little results.

    Finally, one day I did some research and found that the large ads are really the only ads that get any response. Suppose, for example, you look in your local YP under a certain category and find that there are 15 ads in that category. The first (top) ad is a half page ad. The second and third are 1/4 page ads. The next 5 are 1/8 page ads, and the remainder of the ads are 1" ads. Well, it turns out they've studied this stuff. They've assigned tracking numbers to every ad in a category like this. And what they found was the large 1/2 page ad got 57% of the calls that year. The #2 and #3 ad got about 22% of the calls that came in for that category that year. The next 5 ads (1/8 page) got about 3% each, and the small 1" ads got less than 1% each. So the guy who paid 4x more for his ad, got like 40x the response.

    Now those numbers are off the top of my head. They are just examples. But if you do the research, you'll find those numbers are pretty accurate.

    Finally, it made sense why my small ads hadn't produced much results in years past.

    So I bought a big ad. I had the largest ad in my category one year. And it worked fairly well. We got a LOT of calls from that ad from April to August, a moderate amount of calls in March and September, and about ZERO calls from November, December, January, and February. Now despite the fact that we got a lot of response during those busy months, the ad didn't work out well for us and I did not renew it.

    There were several problems with that ad. The main problem was the fact that it was costing me about $800 per month all year but for 4 months of the year it was a net DRAIN on our income. For 2 months, it barely paid for itself. And for the remaining 4 months we got more calls than we could handle, hundreds of calls from people outside our service area, hundreds of calls from people calling for work we didn't do at the time, and so forth.

    If you are inclined to get an ad in the YP, I'd offer the following bits of advice;

    * Don't expect overwhelming results. Some months will be good, others may not produce any calls.

    * Make sure the Book you want to advertise in matches the area you work in. For instance, a book covering the entire Portland area and all of the suburbs turned out to be a bad book for me to advertise in, because I cover only a small portion of that region.

    * Get as big of an ad as you can afford to. If you can't afford an ad that would put you in at least #2 or #3 position, I probably wouldn't advise getting one.

    * Be sure the book you are wanting to advertise in gets used. Look at what books are in homes of friends and family and businesses. Is the book you're advertising in found in those places? Or are they using the OTHER YP?

    * Get on a payment plan that allows you to pay your entire bill during your 6 busy months and pay nothing the rest of the year.

    * Consider using a "temporary" phone number for your ad, as a stop loss. Many YP companies have a clause that says that if you aren't happy with the results you can "cancel" your ad and you are no longer obligated to pay your bill once you've notified them. BUT they don't want you to continue getting the benefit from the ad. So they only allow this if the phone number in the ad is not working anymore. So you buy a stand-alone phone number (your phone company can assist you with this). And you forward that line to your main business line. Then if you want to cancel your ad if it's not producing the results you expected, you just cancel that stand-alone phone number, cancel your YP ad, and you're off the hook!

    In all, I consider YP advertising something for the "big boys". They can afford it. They have the name recognition to help make the ads more effective. They are prepared for the onslaught of calls that come in the spring and summer. And they can afford to advertise in lots of different ways. If you can only afford to advertise in one or two ways, then I wouldn't consider the YP at this time. That's just my advice.

    I would, however, highly recommend anything on the internet....Including the ONLINE yellow pages. I find those to be quite affordable and produce pretty good results. And I agree with the other person above who said that most people are using online YP more these days anyway.

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