Top 3 reasons phone book ads suck... and my new YouTube video series.
MY DOOR STOP HELPED ME FIND A PLUMBER
There I was, standing in a puddle of water from a leaking exterior hose bib and what to my dismay is laying on the ground? A phone book! After I proceeded to throw it into the trash can, I pulled out my iPhone and said, "Hey Siri... Can you find a plumber for me?" Siri, indeed, found a plumber. And I also watched a YouTube video on how to replace hose bibs.
INTRODUCING OUR NEW YOUTUBE VIDEO SERIES
It's called Marketers In Cars Making Money and you can find it exclusively on the BridgeHouse Marketing YouTube channel. Just like you, the busy business owner, I am always on the run from one thing to the next. So, I decided to have some fun with drive-time which is usually down-time. Not anymore.
Marketers In Cars Making Money is a fun platform to connect with other marketers, business owners, department managers, and people of interest to talk about the good, bad, and ugly of day-to-day business.
In Season 1 - Episode 1 we kick around the topic of, you guessed it, phone book ads. After hours of researching hundreds of websites and related phone book ads, I had a lot to tell you. I will explain more in detail below, but just in case you want to watch the video now...
TOP 3 REASONS PHONE BOOK ADS SUCK
1. TYPOS AND OTHER PERMANENT PROBLEMS
We all make mistakes. In fact, I bet some of you probably found a typo on this blog page. It happens (although it drives me nuts). But here's the beauty of modern technology. In a few seconds and from almost anywhere on almost any device, I can make the edit and save some face.
Now when it comes to something like a link to a website (URL), that can really be a problem. It's equally as bad as transposing a digit of your business phone number, and the results are the same - someone, usually a potential customer, doesn't get where they wanted to go. And, it is frustrating. Not only for the customer, but you too if and when you find the error!
During a recent research project, approximately 25% of the phone book ads I reviewed that listed website URL's were DEAD LINKS! That is 1 in 4 ads! Can you believe that? Here's the bigger problem, no edits. That is permanent ink on pages in a widely distributed book. Just have to wait until next season I guess??
2. ANCIENT MEDIUM IN DAYS OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY
Do you know when the first phone book was published? 1878. You know what else was new and exciting in 1878? The gramophone. Now, let's give credit where credit is due. The phone book publishers who provided us with valuable information for over a century must be applauded for lasting that long in business. But things have changed.
Technology is moving so fast since the turn of the century that what used to be decades is now a year or even less. Phone technologies changed minimally over the course of a hundred years. Sure there was switchboard operators, then rotary dial, then push button, then cordless, and you could throw answering machines in there somewhere.
But guess what? People don't even use landlines anymore! We live in the age of mobile communications, where smartphones dominate the space. The iPhone was launched only 10 years ago yet over 1 billion units have been sold in that time. When people search for businesses, they do it on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer. If your business isn't optimized for those spaces, then you are in trouble.
3. EXPENSIVE AND NO PERFORMANCE METRICS
Phone book ads are expensive. I can remember in the late 90's and early 00's budgeting as much as $1000 per month in phone book ads for some of my businesses. And that's cheap! Attorneys, HVAC companies, and insurance agents spend tens of thousands per year in the phone book!
I remember the day it changed for me. I was speaking to a phone book ad rep and he was breaking the costs down for me. I butted in and said, "What's my ROI going to look like on this?" Silence. Then some statistic about the amount of books that get delivered, to which I asked, "How many of those books end up in the trash?" Silence.
Because advertising revenue was, and still is, decreasing at a rapid pace, phone book publishers were actually raising rates! But when it comes down to it, there is no way to track the books performance. Most books get tossed in the garbage, so there goes the massive audience distribution. If they do make it into the house, they catch dust under an old portable phone or in a drawer, so there goes the ad impressions. And on the odd chance someone opens it up, what happens when that typo prevents the customer from reaching you? Insanity.
From that fateful phone call with the ad rep forward, I was able to spend a fraction of the ad revenue online and get 10 times as many leads, if not tons more. Now, that's where I can help you too.