View Full Version : Why Bob doesn't advertise in the phone book

11-16-2006, 05:49 PM
Bob Peccoralo won't advertise in the phone book because he says if he did, he would be spending 50% of his time doing estimates. Instead he relies on word of mouth.

What's your view on this? Is it worthwhile advertising in the phone book or does that only attract tire kickers?

<a href="http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkyOCZmZ2Jl bDdmN3ZxZWVFRXl5NzAxNDM0NCZ5cmlyeTdmNzE3Zjd2cWVlRU V5eT
I=%20" target="_blank"> Landscaper lets his skills advertise</a> - But like a lot of business owners, Peccoralo wasn't eager to take on every job. He turned down a large real estate company that contacted him directly as a result of the Cubby's job. Large commercial landscaping jobs can be a headache for the smaller outfit since they mean having to hire more people or buy special equipment.

In the aftermath of a difficult divorce 10 years ago, Peccoralo decided to keep his operation limited. He doesn't advertise, and his company isn't listed in the yellow pages (he'd spend half his time doing estimates, he says). Instead, Peck's Landscaping has existed for three decades entirely on word-of-mouth.

During the years since his divorce, he's built his business back up with five full-time seasonal employees and around 130 accounts split about evenly between residential and commercial.

11-16-2006, 06:54 PM
This is the first year in 6 years that I have not put an ad in the yellow pages. It just isn't worth the money. I do agree. When someone calls from the phone book they are usually price shopping.

11-17-2006, 04:34 PM
The thing about most telephone directory advertising is that it can be profitable IF you design your ad properly.

If you open up the yellow pages and go through all the companies listed, what you'll find is that most of them have spent big bucks to print a glorified business card. They don't give any reason to contact them and they don't do anything to weed out the tire kickers.

With a carefully designed ad, it is possible to pick up a considerable amount of QUALITY business, but again, you must create a process to filter out the tire kickers in order to get to the serious customers.

One last note, while the yellow pages can be a great place to get new business, I don't suggest any do it unless they have a considerable amount of $$$ to commit to it. Keep in mind, whether the ad gets the phone ringing or not you're on the hook for the next 12 months.

11-17-2006, 06:52 PM
Another thing to remember too would be, it may be easier for this business owner to pull this off when he has been in business for 30 years. I would think by then, plenty of people would have heard of your company in a specific area.

Quote[/b] ]They don't give any reason to contact them and they don't do anything to weed out the tire kickers.

Can you give us any examples of what you mean? What kind of reasons should be shown and how does one weed out tire kickers with an ad?

11-17-2006, 08:57 PM
All of the years that I did ads I have professionals design the ads. They ranged in size from 2" column ads, to 1/4 page ads. These are full color ads as well. Waste of money

11-21-2006, 05:05 AM
I'd be curious to know the credentials of the the 'professionals' designing the ads. If it's someone that works for the phone company themselves you can bet they're not direct marketing professionals.

Most directory companies are more than happy to help you design an ad, but they're the ones responsible for the huge mass of 'sameness' that most ads end up becoming. As much as people would love to believe these folks want to help them create a great ad, their biggest concern is getting your signature on the contract and that fat check each month. I've never heard of a directory company giving you a refund if your ad doesn't get the phone to ring. Have you?

So what can you do to give your prospect a reason to call?

Since marketing is a step-by-step process, the reason should be a baby step towards actually becoming a customer. And since at the stage where most prospect are when they're scanning the yellow pages (trying to decide which of all the choices would be best to call), give them something to help answer the questions in their mind.

Instead of just listing your services like all the other advertising lemmings, offer them some free information to help make their job easier. Put something like:

"Do you know the '5 Questions You Should Ask Any Lawn Care Provider Before Letting Them Care For Your Lawn'? Before calling any other company, listen to this FREE recorded message by calling XXX-XXX-XXXX 24 hours a day."

You would then set up a special voice mail where you list the 5 reasons on the message. At the end of the message, you could present them with another offer that encourages them to leave their contact information after the beep, thus allowing you to continue to educate them on your services. This next offer could also start the process of weeding out the tire kickers.

Finally, you could create a free report on any topic that answers any number of questions going through your prospects mind while searching the yellow pages, but that's the general idea - give them a non-intimidating reason to pick up the and find out more about you.

11-21-2006, 08:31 AM
You know Chestin, that would be a great idea to cover in a future GopherHaul show. Talking about phone book ads and how to write them.

11-22-2006, 09:18 PM
I am not bashing your ideas or thoughts Chestin, I just know what works around here. *Different areas have differet markets, and after doing this for so many years, spending so much money, and using TONS of marketing techniques I have finally come to realize what works around here. *I am not saying that will work some place else though.

For example, I know a lot of companies in bigger cities use newspaper ads. *But here, newspaper ads are a waste of money. *Even almost every type of direct mail marketing is a waste here; brochures, postcards, fliers, doorhangers, etc. *Just a waste. *

Yellow pages is a waste around here as well. *If you were count the number of companies around here that have yellow pages ads, and the number of companies, approximately only 1 out of 20 would have an ad. *And the ones that have the ads are the new companies. *The old and well established companies realize that yellow pages are a complete waste.

What has worked for me great is referrals or cross selling (up selling) to current customers. *Everything else is just a waste HERE.

11-22-2006, 09:32 PM
Do you have any thoughts as to why you feel certain geographic areas differ as to their responsiveness to different types of marketing?

11-22-2006, 09:39 PM
Anywhere from income level, type of neighborhood it is, urban or rural, number of companies in the area, age of customers, and many more. There are A LOT of factors in what works in what area. The same marketing ideas and techniques do not work the same in every area.

11-22-2006, 11:12 PM
Well I am glad we are discussing this because I feel marketing is something we always need to learn more about. I would venture to guess very few of us ever get any marketing consultation to help us improve in that manner.

11-23-2006, 12:47 AM

I agree completely that different techniques work differently in different areas. As you already stated, there are many factors that impact what works versus what doesn't.

As far as advertising in the yellow pages, the problem most businesses have is they listen to the ad rep that's selling them the space. The business owner fails to realize that the ad rep's primary concern is NOT designing a good ad to make sure you get lots of calls. Their biggest concern is getting your signature and fat check each month to pay for the space.

The reason these ads typically don't pay for themselves is because most potential prospects get lost in the fog of 'sameness'. Open up any yellow pages directory in any area of the country and I bet you'll find a dozen ads that you could easily swap names and contact information, and not see much of a difference. All the ads are the same! They're basically glorified business cards and do nothing to stand apart from the crowd, giving the prospect a reason to call.

As far as the other direct marketing methods, it's easy to get frustrated with them and think they don't work. However, there are some critical elements that often get left out. The three pillars of success in direct marketing is a clear message, to the right target market, via the proper media. Get any one of those wrong and you're shooting blanks. There is of course much more that goes into a successful campaign, but those are the foundation.

Congrats for recognizing that referrals and up-sells are a great way to grow your business. But to really take a business to the next level, it's important to implement systems for getting new customers as well.

11-23-2006, 10:09 AM
I agree with you Chestin about the yellow pages and the other areas as well. The ads are basically the same in the yellow pages. They do not grab your attention.