Is a yellow pages add worth it?

   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #1  


Platinum Member
Dec 31, 2008
Kioti DK40SE
I'm thinking of placing an ad in the local Yellow Pages, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. Any thoughts on the subject? Anyone have any experience with phone book adds?
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #2  
AT&T in Missouri just got permission to stop distributing phone books unless you ask for one. I suspect every phone company would like to do the same.

I know I threw all of my phone books away a long time ago, and recycle the ones that show up on my doorstep.
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #3  
I rarely look for anything in a phone book, normally just Google whatever I'm looking for. I live midway between 2 metro areas, so I get both area phone books. With all over the different ones being published, I get 9 per year. All but 2 go straight to the recycling bin at Kroger.
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #4  
Depends on how much you can afford and type of business. Larger ads cost more. Color costs more. Depending on business, you may want to be in 2-3 different locations and that will cost more. You will get a lower price the first year, then it steadily increases each year. It may be double or triple of starting price in several years. Trying to measure the worth of a yellow page ad is difficult but some business say they need it no matter what because their business if directly from public traffic/consumer. I do a small yellow page ad but my business does not come from the average public consumer.

It also depends on who's yellow page you use. Some "yellow pages" are not mainstream for your region and may not be used by the average consumer. Maybe low priced but doesn't reach many consumers.
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #5  
The answer is "it depends". If you have 5 or 10 locations around town it is almost always worth it to advertise in the book because the cost is split 5 or 10 ways.

If you only have one location and the whole burden of the cost goes to you it is much more difficult to answer.

I advertised for 38 years in the yellow pages and found that different ads worked differently under different situations. Many people find that they are in partnership with the yellow pages when the salesman talks you into a full page ad and you have to work 70 hours a week to pay for the ad and wind up making less money than you did before you got the ad.

Look at the book. If there are already a lot of people advertising under the same heading that you want to advertise under, then your advertising dollar will buy you little if you can't attract customers to your ad instead of the others. Simply saying that you have better service is no good because everyone says that. Saying your widgets are cheaper that their's is no good because many others make the same claim. Paying the phone company $100 more a month to put your ad in red ink only makes the phone company richer and placing a bigger ad than the others only works for one year because the next year the others have a larger more expensive ad and you're left paying for a large ad that does you no good. It might not even help for one year because one of the other companies may have already ordered the larger ad.

If no one is advertising under the heading that you want to use, you will probably benefit from a small ad. Also, if you have a product or service that no one else has you may benefit from letting others know about it.

Last but not least, pay absolutely no attention to the yellow pages salesman who is trying to sell you the ad. He will try to talk you into the largest most expensive advertising because he gets a percentage and doesn't care if you go bankrupt next year from high advertising bills.
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it?
  • Thread Starter
The add will be for carpenter work, they want 59 dollars per month and it includes a listing on their website, It's the phone book everyone gets around here.
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #7  
When I was in business I automatically got my business phone line listed in the yellow pages, to increase the size of my add cost a bunch more.
I did a survey of every customer who called me and asked how I had been referred to them, I almost never heard that they got my name from the phone book even with a larger add so I didn't buy it the next year.

My Brother has a Handyman business and he left some fliers at Senior centers. Once word got out that he did good work at reasonable prices, he has all the work he can handle.
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #8  
The add will be for carpenter work, they want 59 dollars per month and it includes a listing on their website, It's the phone book everyone gets around here.

I think you will get more from referrels or word of mouth than from a yellow page add. I would not hire a carpenter from the yellow pages - I would ask friends/neighbors/other contractors for names of ppl 'they would use'..

My wife is an optometrist and we put a yellow page add in and got very little if any business from it. We were the 'independent dr of optometry' at a walmart and we got TONS of business just by being there.. A lot of our business was insurance related so ppl didnt need the yellow pages to find a participating dr..

   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #9  
It's worth it. Very worth it.
For instance, I need some masonry work done and I know of nobody that does it (I live in rural NE Penn). I'll go to the yellow pages and select the most attractive to me adv to call.
When I needed carpentry to repair storm damage, I did the same.
Right now I need computer repairs, I'm going to use the yellow pages again.
If you don't advertise, how will any one know that you are in the business?
Referrals are fine once you have a large satisfied customer base, but until then?
   / Is a yellow pages add worth it? #10  
I did a survey of every customer who called me and asked how I had been referred to them, .

Speaking as a consumer, I have often had businesses ask how I came to them. I never mind being asked, actually take it as a good sign they are serious about their business.

I look for listings in the yellow pages sometimes, but try to follow that up with someone who has experience with the business before I ever call.

I once contacted a local timber clearing contractor I found in the yellow pages. Spoke to his wife twice, she was very nice. But, her husband never called back as promised. So, either he had all the work he could handle at the time, or whatever. Either way, he wasted his money for an ad. And I won't waste my time on him next time I am looking. The moral of this is: it's more important to return calls than most businesses think. Maybe more important than the ad - my .02.