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Advertising in the Yellow Pages…

Good investment, or waste of money?

Brett,

If there’s one medium that all pool builders seem to hate, it would be the Yellow Pages. And while it’s really not a fair assessment, it’s easy to understand why most pool builders feel that way:

  • There are so many different directories in each city
  • And each rep tells you why their book is the best
  • It’s hard to know whether your ad is working
  • Meanwhile, the price goes up every year
  • Unless you keep buying bigger ads
  • And it’s awfully darn expensive
  • Month after month after month

If you’ve ever seen one of my presentations, you know that my “ideal goal” is for you to get so much business from referrals and the internet that you don’t need to do any other advertising.

where-business-should-come-from

But before you think I’ve written off Yellow Page advertising for good, let’s take a look at one simple reason why maybe you might be better off staying in the book. It comes down to Return On Investment. If you need the leads, and you make enough profit from those leads to cover the cost of the ad, then don’t kill it. For example:

Ad cost/month: $2350
Sales from the YP: 3
Cost per lead: $783

My rule of thumb for this industry is that if you can keep your advertising and marketing expenses below $1500 per sale, you’re probably in pretty good shape. In the example above, we should probably keep the ad, no matter how much we might despise the ad rep.

BOTTOM LINE: If the ad is paying for itself, and you need the leads, keep doing it.

On the other hand, if you have a lower cost source of leads (such as referrals, the internet, yard signs, etc.), and you’re already getting all the leads you need, then you may be well-positioned to tell your YP ad rep to take a hike.

Now suppose your results are borderline – Then what do you do? The problem may be an under-compelling, “me-too” ad. Take a look at the recent article in Pool & Spa News called “Yellow Fever” (Feb 29, 2008, pg15) for some quick tips to improve your yellow page ads. Or fax your ad to us for a quick “MYM” assessment, at 512-266-7455.

Another problem business owners run into is they don’t know where their leads are coming from. Well, this is one place where the YP folks can really help you. Most YP directories will offer you a custom tracking number that rings at your ofice, but tracks every single phone call that is generated from that directory.

Suppose you don’t want to wait a year to see those results? Ask your YP rep if any other pool builders are using a tracking number. They will usually share those statistics with you if you’re serious about buying an ad. If one of your competitors is getting 50 to 100 calls a month, (and presumably closing at least 10% of those leads), then this medium may be too important for you to ignore.

Are the Yellow Pages dying? Yes they are. Are they dead yet? Not by a long shot. Do a little homework, and you’ll discover whether you should stick with the yellow pages, or if it’s time to ‘let your fingers do the walking.’

Best regards,

Brett Abbott Signature

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