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  • Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

    Hi everyone, long time listener, first time talker - Lenny

    I own a one man shop, drain cleaning specialty / plumbing repair business in the New Orleans area, which I started 3 years ago, after Katrina. I've done well in a short time and I'm experiencing slow but steady growth. Mostly because of word of mouth and a small ad in the local newspaper. I wish I could give more credit to my AT&T yellow page print ad which I'm currently paying 946.00 per month for.

    I ask each customer how they heard about me and I record that on my invoice. At the end of the month I record the results. Recently I added up 27 months worth and found that I only made $14,000 from the $20,000 I spent on the ads. I guess I can make myself feel better by saying that IF half of those customers call me again I'll make up the $20,000 but, I'm thinking it's time to pull out next year.

    Some businesses must be making money on these ads? right?

    Why would they stay in? Are they just not tracking the referrals and assuming the ads are working?

    Are only the large ads making money? I have a dollar bill size ad 19 pages back (yes, 19). It's a large market with over 900 plumbing companies advertising.

    How can i justify paying for a bigger ad when the ad I have can't even pay for itself?

    Please share your print yellow page experiences positive and negative - Thanks.

    Lenny

    Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

    I know, it doesn't make sense.


    http://www.hebertdraincare.com

  • #2
    Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

    spend the 20k on yourself and go after repeat business and referrals.

    in all the years i've worked, i spent about $300. on a magnetic business card.

    word of mouth is not only free, but the best form of advertising.

    rick.

    p.s, welcome and join the fun
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

      I use the phonebooks for advertising and they work well. The secret is to have an eye-catching ad. Some naive business owners think that by having an ad space, they will automatically get calls...wrong! There are other ads competing for the caller! If I open my local phonebook, there are many plumbers to choose from. The secret is to create an ad that will STAND OUT ABOVE THE REST. I have a half-page ad with my picture and large eye-catching headline, and large bold print displaying my 24 hour service and the services I offer.
      I also do bulk mailings of a coupon-postcard with the same information (my picture and bold print of my services) and I have generated enormous business with that. You have to have the right design and the right mailing list, or it fail. It is working well, I have only been in business for a little over a year and a half and I am swamped with calls.
      If I followed Rick's marketing advice I would be bankrupt right now and I wouldn't have any business at all. You can't build clientele based on referrals unless you are already established. If you only have small amount of customers to begin with, their referrals can't possibly keep you busy. Its simple math. You have to generate new customers from somewhere.
      It sounds like you are throwing a lot money at advertising, but not focusing on quality advertising. A smaller advertising budget that is used effectively will easily get better results than a large budget that is wasted.
      As an extreme example:
      I could buy a two-page ad in the phonebook and just put my company name and phone number, but it probably wouldn't get a decent response if there was nothing else there!!! Or I could send out 20,000 postcards, but if the postcard sucks or I send it to the wrong type of people...it won't work. So quality beats quantity when it comes to effective marketing.
      Last edited by Service Guy; 12-10-2008, 01:16 PM.
      Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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      • #4
        Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

        in 2008 i spent under $1,800 on yellow pages and got more that that back in the 1st quarter form the ads alone.

        i have a small (2 1/2 x 2 1/2) black & yellow under Plumbing Drain & Sewer Cleaning, plus a name & number one line, and a one line listing in the white pages.

        we qre a small captive market (being on an island in the sea ) and it works for me.

        in a larger market it may not be viable to do, but in our small market it's good for me

        steve
        In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

          I have a one line ad...name and phone number. $120 for the year. I have had 4 calls that originated from that ad. $180 being the average of the four. Now I am spending several hundred dollars in our local phone book (my town only 14,000 pop.) and the towns Chamber of Commerce ad as well. We are new, so I want to get the word out to the area that we are here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

            I know a lady that does online advertising. It is unique in that you pay to have your business pull up first in a certain geographic location through google searches. It is a company owned by google. They also record each call so you can listen back to hear how a conversation went if you want. There is a disclaimer that says each is recorded for monitoring/business purposes or something to that effect.

            If you are interested in talking to her send me a pm and I will give you her contact info.
            I love my plumber

            "My Hero"

            Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

              Thanks everyone

              I think my ad is nice compared to the surrounding ads. I've attached a copy.

              What do you think? Constructive criticism welcome.

              Maybe just too small and too far to the back of the plumbing section.

              I also recently had a logo made that will go into future advertising. Not on the ad in the attachment.

              Plumber Rick - I like your idea, and could survive on what i make just with my current repeat customers and word of mouth, but I'd like to grow to a 2 - 3 truck company. I'm willing to accept the headaches that come with it.

              Service Guy - I agree with you on the the advertising, but I'm not getting results that I'd like.

              Any online advertising that I've tried has done nothing.

              my logo can be seen at http://www.hebertdraincare.com
              Attached Files

              Lenny

              Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

              I know, it doesn't make sense.


              http://www.hebertdraincare.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                Honestly I think the ad is not good. Why would I call your company over the competition based on anything this ad displays? It is not eye-catching, and nothing about it makes you stand out from any other company. Its just another boring phonebook ad, it is no wonder you are not getting any results.
                I did some yellow pages marketing research and I was amazed on how important certain design elements are.

                Hire an ad desigenr and you'd be amazed at the difference. Here is one and some free tips too:http://www.adrevamp.com/Yellow-Page-Advertising.html
                Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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                • #9
                  Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                  I really think you should talk to my girl before you put money into a yellow page ad.
                  I love my plumber

                  "My Hero"

                  Welcome, Phoebe Jacqueline!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                    Originally posted by Service Guy View Post
                    No offense, but you are not the type of client that I am looking for, and you are in a completely different area of the country. People here use the phonebook. I get about 40-50 calls/month through the phonebook. I get about 1 call every 2 months through the internet. I tried servicemagic and it sucked. All the cheapskate bargain-hunters use it and thats about it here.
                    ABOVE FROM ANOTHER THREAD

                    SG I'm curious to know what your ad placement (page) and size is compared to your competition in the YP, if you dont mind sharing. 40-50 calls is fantastic.

                    I'm dealing with the devil (At&T ad rep) right now and I'm talking to a professional yellow page ad designer to increase size and improve ad quality.

                    My current ad is a failure and I'm trying one more year with a bigger size and pro designer, then I'm out.

                    Anybody else out there having YP success?

                    Lenny

                    Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

                    I know, it doesn't make sense.


                    http://www.hebertdraincare.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                      Posting pictures of yourself and family works well too. If you're ugly like me,


                      DON'T DO IT!
                      Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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                      • #12
                        Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                        Originally posted by DUNBAR View Post
                        Posting pictures of yourself and family works well too. If you're ugly like me,


                        DON'T DO IT!

                        Old Ad

                        New ad not done yet
                        Attached Files

                        Lenny

                        Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

                        I know, it doesn't make sense.


                        http://www.hebertdraincare.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                          "success and yellow page ad"

                          Hear the silence so loud.

                          Lenny

                          Pronounced A-Bear Drain Care

                          I know, it doesn't make sense.


                          http://www.hebertdraincare.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                            I mentioned on another site that I'm pulling all my YP ads out...but the two I landed today for tomorrow are YP leads.


                            I'm cornfused. Don't want to cut off the hand that feeds me.
                            Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Successful yellow pages print ad? Anyone?

                              Originally posted by HebertDrainCare View Post
                              Old Ad

                              New ad not done yet

                              That ad looks nice....but it's not thwarting a message.


                              If you're competition doesn't belong to the BBB, you having that logo is a huge plus.
                              Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

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