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Small Business Marketing

Are You Advertising in the Yellow Pages?

Last week, I received a gift in the mail from Dex Media.  It was the printed business phone directory that they send out every year–i.e., the famous “yellow pages”.  I can only assume that they send it to me as a gift, knowing that I’m a marketing consultant and would appreciate having a list of local businesses who have a marketing budget, but are wasting that budget on ineffective advertising.  I’m not sure what else I would use it for–certainly not looking up the contact information for local businesses.  After all, that’s what the internet is for.

Now, as much as I appreciate Dex Media for sending me this excellent prospecting tool every year, the truth is that it makes me sad that the yellow pages still exists outside of a marketing museum.  The fact is that the businesses who pay decent money to advertise in the directory are, for the most part, not getting any results from it–and it’s not just because hardly anybody uses the yellow pages any more.  It’s also because most banner ads in the yellow pages are truly terrible, and make just about every mistake it’s possible to make when it comes to printed advertising.

In Episode 166 of my podcast, I explain the five essential ingredients of a terrible small business ad using real examples from the yellow pages.  Although I’m using yellow pages ads as examples, many other types of advertisements make the same mistakes (newspaper, radio, online ads, etc.).   The essential ingredients are:

  • The irrelevant headline
  • The bullet-point list of the same products and services sold by your competitors
  • An impossible and overused promise
  • A meaningless trust symbol
  • No method for tracking results

Listen to the episode using the player below to find out more about these common advertising mistakes and learn how to avoid them.