Who Needs a YP Ad?

August 28, 2004

Who Really Needs A Yellow Page Ad?
How to make a smart investment for your marketing dollars.

By: Adams Hudson

Just under 75% of contractors spend over half their entire marketing budgets in the Yellow Pages. To make matters worse, this spending results in just 13.4% of HVAC sales.

I’m no math major, but spending over half and getting back 1/7th in sales doesn’t sound wise. But fixing this problem frees up cash for more rewarding marketing campaigns. It forces creativity and results. But first, we must ask,

“What is the problem with your Yellow Page ad?”

First, it’s NOT the medium. The YP is the book of choice for tens of millions of “demand-service” customers daily who snatch open the book and choose their target. Nearly 10 million shopped the YP for replacement systems last year.

It’s not that they don’t buy. Over 50% of YP shoppers buy within 48 hours. Wow. Numbers like that get your attention. (This is why contractors love buying space there!)

And you’re certainly not under-spending. You rank 9th in overall spending categories. (This is why the YP loves selling you space there!) It’s not because there’s too much competition in there either, although this doesn’t help.

So hold on while I blow you away with the complexity of the real problem: It’s the ad! (Now you know why I’m so overpaid.) Even though you rank 9th in spending, your results aren’t even listed in the top 150 categories! Not good.

Specifically, the problem is the ad’s message and layout. Look, the poor underpaid YP ad designer hacks out 6-10 ads a day. You think your HVAC business gets “special treatment” by an expert in your industry? Hardly. Your ad cannot and does not stand out in any way discernable to a prospect.

Open up the Yellow Pages. All you see are Penguins, starburst, polar bears, icy or flamey letters and then my favorite overused phrase, “For all your heating and cooling needs.” Please. And for this you’re spending half your ad budget?

Your YP ad should convey loud and clear benefits via a headline (not your company name) and be focused on prospect’s convenience, value, and comfort gained. Nothing else.

The next big area of ad concern is how much you spend there. The YP is a fabulous place to get leads, but over-spending here is rampant and risky. (Now you know why the YP doesn’t like me. But I don’t like you sending your money down a yellow hole, so we’re even.)

1-Minute Yellow Page Spending Formula: Take the amount of your business mix that is “Service” volume (Example: 30%.) Multiply that by 110%. (Example: 30%x110%= 33%).

Do you spend less than this and still have good business growth? Great!

Check the next article for suggestions on how to allocate your marketing dollar.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. For a FREE critique of your Yellow Page Ad, just fax your Yellow Page ad to 334-262-1115. Also check out www.hudsonink.com on the web for free marketing tips or call 1-800-489-9099 for more info.

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