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The yellow pages...

any luck?



12:17 am on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Do any web designers out there have any luck getting business from the yellow pages. Are there yellow pages in Britain?

Anywho... a yellow pages salesman just called and I told them NO WAY. It took me two years for my first ad to pay for itself and I was the biggest ad on top of the category.

I've got four calls so far, FOUR years later!

My sister-in-law keeps telling me to advertise in the newspaper. I'm afraid to waste my money! Personal selling is the only thing that's worked for me.

Does anyone else have a similar experience or any light to shed on the subject?


10:27 am on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes, mine has more than paid for itself (but it took a while). I have a semi-display ad with my logo, but no fancy artwork - so it's cheaper than their highest grade of ad. Over the years I've played around a bit with which areas to advertise in, and whether to pay for their "weblink" at yell.com or not.

I also advertised in the Thomson's directory for a while, but that got me zero leads so I dropped it. I keep getting calls from online business directories claiming that advertising in their directory will give me "x" amount of coverage. It can be surprisingly difficult to extract information from them on exactly how many people will see my ad.

My advice is to go with Yellow Pages (and their weblink) first. Then consider others if you have any advertising money left over.


8:30 pm on Jun 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

a yellow pages salesman just called and I told them NO WAY.

I ask any and all sales types to provide detailed info and pricing for reading at leisure.
If they decline I add them to the "shyster" list.
If they do I can take my time and research, etc. before deciding what I want.

Generally a yellow page ad provides another "proof of existance" to give customers greater confidence in you. They might also bring in the odd job here and there. Don't go too big and never too cluttered - look at the competition's ads and design to stand out from them.

My sister-in-law keeps telling me to advertise in the newspaper. I'm afraid to waste my money!

Get a price on the smallest display ad - something like 5-cm (2") square - repeated several times in the same issue. Simple and eye catching and appearing several times putting your name and contact info out there can be useful.

You should decide on a yearly "advertising" budget and then sit down and work up a "campaign" of putting your name in the public's face. The amount is not the critical part (although more money can offer more options) rather having a plan is.


1:32 pm on Jun 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The salesman had all sorts of info about how many people use the directory and for what topics. It all looked good. He told me why "Computers - Interenet Services" was better that "Web Designers". He pointed to an indirect competitor and told me how satisfied he was with his color two inch banner thingy. There were several block and display ads, some with full color. But I just couldn't go through with it.

So I look in this years book. EVERYONE in the computer related categories downgraded to a one line listing. What does that tell me?


2:15 pm on Jun 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Adwords with geotargetting to your keywords is probably 10X more effective than a yellow pages ad. If I want to spend that kind of money, I'll import a case of fine wine from Bordeaux, at least I'll get some use out of it :)


3:38 pm on Jun 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If I want to spend that kind of money, I'll import a case of fine wine from Bordeaux, at least I'll get some use out of it :)

I got a good chuckle out of this! Rock on!


4:21 am on Jun 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just this week I got a call from the Yellow Pages. Extremely expensive I thought. And do people go to Yellow Pages for web designers? (I don't know the answer to that, but I would be concerned.) They offered a guarantee of a certain number of calls, or a rebate would kick in. Of course, once I talked to people my skills would practically guarantee a high level of conversion:)) No thanks. (For that much money I could pay kickbacks and buy business directly.)


4:21 am on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There are many low-budget but effective tactics a web designer can do. Get creative! Start a networking group with others at a local cafe ...you never know.

I would never consider the Yellow Pages...not for this industry.


9:26 am on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Here it's even worse cos the yellow pages is organised firstly by town or village then by subject ...So if the person searching isn't in your town they wont ever look for you ..the upside is that a one line entry is free when you rent your line ...

Ps.On average Borgueil is better than Bordeaux which has gone down to $2.oo a bottle in some places here and I wont even cook with it ...


6:09 pm on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Aaah... wine. There is one I fell in love with while living in Paris. A bit pricey for a bottle, but at the time I was making more money than I ever have, and couldn't care less. Clos Beauregard 2001, AOC Pomerol... hopefully as good a year as their 1998. I found a webpage describing it, replete with numerous javascript errors.
(I wonder if I could offer a barter? :)

This morning at the farmer's market, I sampled all the local wines, and bought a rose which was suprisingly decent. All the local reds are hopelessly bitter, unstructured, watery and often putrid. This is, after all, a northern climate...

Anyhow, once established, I would like to give a good bottle to every client :)

[edited by: stuntdubl at 6:27 pm (utc) on June 26, 2004]
[edit reason] No urls, thanks. See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]

Total Paranoia

6:29 pm on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Glad I found this thread.

I am not bothering with yellow pages any longer. Pushy sales people on good commisions using old but effective sales tactics. Two years spending around 1400 and absolutley zilch! Sorry Yellow Pages but its goodbye this year! If they call me again this year and I will point them to this thread. Overpriced with zero ROI. Web designers should steer clear. Offline directories are old news anyway. (Unless you are a plumber).

Yell.com seems a little better. 2 leads this year they didn't convert but hey that is my business. 350 for a web link is still too high though IMO. Unsure if I will even renew that this september.


6:38 pm on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

350 for 2 leads sounds outreagous... for that kind of money you can probably join your local chamber of commerce, and get many more leads.


6:40 pm on Jun 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Our yellow page ad brought nothing but countless phone calls from people looking for a job.


Total Paranoia

12:32 pm on Jun 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Our yellow page ad brought nothing but countless phone calls from people looking for a job

Same thing happens here. Not forgetting the countless letters it brings from people looking for work and the number of cold calls it generates.

I moved premises a while back and the only people I told at the time (It was a "virtual" move) were yellow pages. Nothing was advertised anywhere of the move, not even in the yellow pages as it was purley an admin change.

Within 7-14 days I was getting a call almost every day from gas and electricity suppliers asking me how the move went and if I had would consider their company as my new energy supplier. It was plain then that yellow pages had sold my details.

Has anyone else had any similar experiences with yellow pages?


11:32 pm on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I got a call from a Yellow Pages rep last week. He's trying to sell me on a half inch box (same width as all other listings) for about $36 a month.

I have been in a smaller, local phone book for the last year, it yielded only one phone call to date. And that call was from someone who purchased an expensive templated site and wanted to know if I would buy it since their business folded (blah).

Tuesday morning I'm supposed to meet with this guy to determine the whole phone book thing, the name of my business would put me in about 6th place of the 18 design firms listed. But $400+ over the course of a year, that doesn't seem so bad.


3:32 am on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

$400 for one miserable LEAD? That's a terrible deal!

Use that budget to be #1 for your keywords. Narrow by location... for that money you should be getting at least 100 leads. Dead tres with yellow pigment make a pitiful advertising medium.


4:14 am on Jul 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

DXL ..do you reply to spammail too?


11:55 pm on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I tried it for 2 years. Only got 3 very small (all under $500) jobs from it as a result of my $99/month investment.

I consider the yellow pages a waste of money.


11:39 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yellow Pages is very expensive (for even an established firm like them), the thing to consider is this:

Will your business be targeted to the right group of buyers?

You will never really know this information as Yellow will safeguard this info to protect who they use, and not disclose how much they pay. Also they advertise on TV, and this is targeted at 'Domestic Prospects', remember the ad for 'Fly Fishing' by JR Hartley?

This was an old age pensioner, who wanted a book he had written, but the advice in his book would be targeted at fly fishing enthusiasts. But the ad was saying that they helped this old guy find what he was desperate to find, and that was the idea behind it.

He searched everywhere, but once he used Yellow Pages, he won, and found what he was after.

But has anyone ever seen an advert from YP on TV, that was advertising a web business? I haven't. This goes to prove that their directory isn't really targeted that way, even though they provide categories that suggest that they can market such businesses in that way.

It's very good for domestic needs, like a new bathroom cabinet, or a plumber, or Dental Surgeons etc.

It's not really a technical nor an industrial kind of directory. For that you would seek out a Industrial directory, as it would target you at a Industrial user base.

Now do you understand why people get confused. Firms that use Yell etc, have cash to burn, and expect to lose the 335, as they only use YP and Yell as a image/brand promoter.

It's very different for the smaller guy, where ad budgets really matter.




1:14 am on Jul 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A web development company I worked for bought a 1/4 page add in the local yellow pages.

The add was totally blank except for their domain name in big bold letters in the middle of the page.

I don't think the sales person was too happy with that!


2:57 am on Jul 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is a vast difference between the paper directory and the online version.

Yellow Pages will charge 500 per year, and I think that covers a 'whatever you want' service. But Yell.com is 335 for an Enhanced entry with weblink.

Which is just the same as a basic entry, if you really want the truth.

YP is trying to put the book onto the web, but don't seem to realise that they need to lower prices a bit first. But they are a brand, so they get away with it, I mean obviously businesses pay, so it works for them, but they could do with inventing some new ad services to try and win new business.

Whether they challenge the SE's - who knows, they already do what Google cannot, which is local search.

They've even put up the charge to buy their paper directories from 5.00 to 7.50 each!

How many will buy this contact information? More sales companies I expect.


The reason everyone gets hassled by telesales staff, is that ALL sales staff use yellow pages as a contact list builder - Yellow Pages is very accessible as most Offices have got one somewhere.

It's about revenue with them, last time I checked, think they were worth 400m. Oh yeah, don't forget Business Pages and their 118 247!

It's just really a contact info resource now, Yell.com is different, but not advanced enough to generate new customers. It's been the same old stuff for 15 years and counting so............

I can't believe that YP, shows such little regard for it's advertisers, this is insane! I tell you what - if I had 400m sloshing about, I know what I'd do.

Lower prices, do market research and build more functionality for starters. For a company that's hell bent on generating revenue, I wonder why they haven't considered doing this before Yahoo came along. If they had, they could have had Market Share!

See Insane.


9:37 am on Jul 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

YP just about pays for itself....which is a lousy return in this market.

If you invest in YP today some should do a tad above breaking even, which also means some of you won't.

I personally wouldn't ever pay YP as the ROI isn't there. But if you are desperate then you could do worse!

There are Golden nuggets in those hills, they are harder to find than YP, but they are also where the big players want to be!


11:00 am on Jul 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think YP lies too, as I just checked their paper directory and it says:

"Yellow Pages is used 1.2 billion times per year"

The only way you could measure a paper directory's usage is by how many copies have been distributed.

But even if YP has distributed 1.2 billion copies (UK), doesn't mean that 1.2 billion are going to use it.

*Source Saville Rossiter - Base 03

You can't measure something like that, online is different as users can be measured 1 by 1, but offline?

It's probably more like a couple of million users.

Anyway, there's about 35 million people in the UK, and I can't see 35 million users using YP even 20 times each per year.

The stats are probably taken from their online version Yell.com, that would be more believable.

335 per time is outrageous, Yahoo doesn't even charge that, personally I don't think that Yell UK should be at No. 6. more like no 20 or something.



1:40 am on Jul 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Once the ability to find local businesses with a local search function became available, I stopped using the phone book. I HATE the telephone, first of all - far as I'm concerned the only reason to HAVE a phone line is for dialup - assuming you can't get broadband.

Even in the really small town (less than 60k people) 40 miles away one way, there's a decent local search option. Matter of fact now that I think about it, one of the (FOUR!) local phone books has a section listing not only website addys for businesses, but fax numbers too....


2:53 am on Jul 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Local search is tough to get right. This is one thing that YP has got right, but they have to as their directories use it as a major selling point.

Their distribution of directories is their main strength, and they sell this like their life depends on it - and it does!

But now that we have online directories - even with their own Yell.com - they are panicking. They realise they are no longer No 1, and are their clients now realise there are cheaper/better options in abundance.

You can tell by the amount of cash they've put into recruiting sales staff, that something might be wrong.

Why recruit 1000's of staff to bombard people with calls if everything is fine?


I think there are 20 directories that could give them a run for their money. (not including Yahoo, Google Mirago).

Yell needs to spend more cash into advertising for the customer, it ain't rocket science.

They would do well to scrap the paper directory too.


7:59 am on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Just had a mailing from Yell. Apparently there were 2,214 search results pages delivered for our widgets in our local area in just one month. On the surface this seems like quite a few, but I am not sure if I trust the figures.

Also, they claim 66 million page impressions for yell.com during March.


9:25 am on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's not accurate mate. It can't be. It's too easy to work out.

Is that the for the UK alone or were they talking just YP and adding Yell.coms search as well?

See this is what annoys me about these figures. I don't doubt that a few million use them - but they must be massaging the stats.

In any event - they need to lower their charges by over 100. I asked to be taken out, as the sales calls were getting too much too handle. And that was just yell.com ringing up!


9:40 am on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

The mailing says that is just for the UK. I can't believe that there were 2,000+ searches in our area for our product every month. Overture UK shows 3,250 searches for the most closely related keyword for last month and that is for Yahoo, MSN, Altavista, etc. nationwide!


10:50 am on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

What's your product?


11:58 am on Jul 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Please, let's not go into individual specifics.

Yellow Pages directory is a well established brand and is unbeatable as a printed directory. I've found it especially good for local services such as pubs and restaurants, plumbers, electricians, etc.

The online version is, relatively speaking, too expensive compared to other forms of marketing.

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