The seasonal marketing mega drama continues. This time of year we have many clients and potential clients call and ask, “Do I need to advertise in the phone book?”  Now we all know that the physical book is becoming harder and harder to throw our marketing dollars into.  People are turning to online sources to make their buying decisions.  But the institution has been around for so long that businesses are very reluctant, sometimes even scared to pull the plug on their phone book ads.

How do you decide if you’re one of the rebels ready to nix the book?

Once again we’re going back to marketing 101, look at your audience because it all depends.  Keep your ad if:

  • Your target market is over the age of 60 and not very Internet savvy.
  • Your audience lives in a rural area with limited Internet connectivity.
  • You expect buyers be making a purchasing decision as they’re moving and don’t yet have Internet access. (However smart phones are fairly common in urban areas, which may negate this statement if your market is likely to have a smart phone.)
  • All your major competitors have ads.
  • You have zero online presence. (In which case please call us or at least list your company on Google Places.)
  • You want to increase your marketing budget, who knows maybe you need a write off.  (If that’s the case I know some great designers who want to spiff up your current marketing materials!)

Should you keep your listing on the phone book website?

If you don’t have any online presence it’s better than nothing, however for the prices they charge you can build a website for the price of your listing after a year or two.

You have a listing on the phone book website now and are not sure if you should continue.

Consult your Google Analytics report.  Check the referring sites under traffic.  This report does not lie.  Look to see how many visitors have found your site by clicking on a link from the phone book site.

What are we doing?

Well we’ve got an interesting mix  of individuals in our target market.  Tranquility, our sister company often receives calls from individuals when they’re moving homes or offices, they are of an older demographic who needs a bit more technical support.  Tranquility’s competitors both have phone book ads so we decided we still need one too.  They threw in an ad for MayeCreate for another $10 a month so we agreed to one for our web division as well.

As for the online listings we visited our Google Analytics reports.  Tranquility only had 88 visitors referred from the phone book site in the last 12 months.  MayeCreate had zero.  (The phone book’s numbers said otherwise but we know our web stuff, you can’t fool us!)  We decided to nix our online listing, with our monthly rate we paid over $20 per visitor last year.  So this year we’re going to gamble and allocate that money to another form on online advertising for the next six months to see how it goes.  Stay tuned for the results of our phone book dilemma/decision and journey.

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