By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
I received another letter from a yellow pages marketing company last week. This one came from AT&T. The letter was part of a “last chance” offer for my LA chiropractic business to save as much as 50% on two yellow page books that get distributed in neighboring areas.
The advertising I received was for print directories that were being distributed in the South Bay area of Southern California and an area called the Airport Area. I imagine the airport area is mostly in the city of Westchester and LAX airport region. The mailing included reasons why I should advertise in one or both the directories. It was a typical Yellow Pages sales pitch.
The letter also included a pitch for advertising on yellowpages.com in conjunction with advertising in the books. Earlier this year I decided to place a top advertisement in an online AT&T owned yellowpages.com directory and intend to share all of the results the end of the year on planet chiropractic. The advertisement uses a phone number that can be tracked so we can measure the success of the program, or at least the call volume. So far my business has received one phone call, and that was from an ATT representative calling on our designated marketing line. At this point it’s looking like there’s much better things I could’ve been doing with nearly $300 a month on a single online advertisement. It’s too early to tell for sure, my office could receive a dozen phone calls in the last month of advertising.
I’m not saying businesses shouldn’t be advertising in online yellow page directories and printed books, but it’s a good idea that you track your advertising investments. In August, I wrote a detailed report on the top five yellow page companies online. There is no doubt they are getting some massive traffic. I’ve also had some blog posts related to various yellow page directory topics. There was the post on Yellow Pages and duplicate content, a post on Internet directory scams, a post about a Canadian Yellow Pages directory RSS feeds pulling content from planet chiropractic, and a second post on online directory scams.
I’ve lost count of how many print yellow page directories there are in the greater Los Angeles area, there’s definitely more than four. In the 90066 area there is a print version of Yellowbook, United Yellow Pages, AT&T’s Yellow Pages, and the Verizon Yellow Pages. There may even be others I’m not aware of. I’m not sure about other major metro areas like Chicago, Dallas and New York City, but I would expect there’s still a heavy amount of overlap from different providers of yellow pages advertising in larger US cities.
I’d expect those books to get thinner and go through a reinvention process over the next couple of years as small businesses increasingly move online. My chiropractic office pulled out of every local print Yellow Pages book this past year, and we haven’t renewed any listings for 2007-2008.