Continuing my look at different methods of growing your small business, today I’m talking about Phone Books.

I know what your first reaction was when I said Phone Books….why? Phone books are ancient history! No one uses them. Everyone just googles what they need to find on their phone.

And this is true to a large extent, but it depends on your target demographic. This is where knowing your business, knowing your product or service, and who your target demographic is invaluable. Phone books are still used by one segment of the population…and it’s also the largest and wealthiest segment of the population – people 55 years of age and up.

(And those that try to resist the onslaught of technology into every aspect of their lives, namely me, but that’s a topic for a different time).

If your product or service is targeting an older generation, then advertising in the phone book may be a great option for you. It’s a generation that doesn’t have smartphones as much as millennials and younger. If they do have one, they need their son or daughter to show them how to get to the Contacts (forget about web searching). So where do they go to search for a new dentist, doctor, plumber, electrician, lawyer, A/C repair, or to look up the phone number and address of a restaurant? The phone book.

If the bulk of your services target home repair, whether it be A/C repair, plumbing, electrical, etc., the majority of homeowners are of the older generation. Therefore, the majority of your customers are probably going to be of the older generation and if you’re not advertising in the phone book, you’re missing out on a huge market.

If you decide to advertise in the phone, I would recommend taking out an actual ad and not just being listed in text with your name and number in bold. The value of the 1/8th page ad in a phone book is worth the cost because it allows you to list a few specialties you might have as well as place a logo or a picture in the ad. People are much more likely to call someone that they can see and evaluate as opposed to just a text ad. In my opinion, the full page ads are a complete waste of money…I would recommend anywhere between a 1/8th page ad to a 1/2 page ad.

I have no hard data to back this up, but phone book salespeople place a big emphasis on the more you pay (ie. The larger the ad) the closer your ad will be placed to the front of the section. So for instance, if you are a plumber and you buy a full page ad, your ad will be on one of the first pages of the Plumber section in the phone book. Now on search results in Google, being on the first page or higher up on the results is extremely important; however, in a phone book, I would disagree. People tend to flip to the section, flip through all the picture ads in that section, whether they are at the beginning or end, and then make their decision. So in my opinion, paying more to have my ad two pages to the left doesn’t really make sense. But if you have hard data to the contrary I’d love to hear it.

Phone Book salespeople also like to push advertisements on either the outside cover of the phone book, on the spine of the book, or as magnets that are attached to the front of the book when it gets delivered. I have never taken them up on their offers, which can be fairly expensive, so I can’t say if the costs are justified or not for those types of ads.

Last point I’ll make is this: keep in mind if you are planning on moving locations or getting a new phone number, the phone book goes out once a year and there is no changing it once it is out. So either wait until you’ve moved or changed your number. If you do move make sure you keep your old phone number forwarding to your new number and mail at your old address forwarding to your new one.

If your business is targeting millennials or a younger generation, then don’t waste your money on phone book advertising. But, the phone book can be a great tool to reach a demographic that can be otherwise unreachable through social media, internet ad campaigns, and website search results (because they aren’t using those methods). If your business would benefit from a larger customer or client base of Baby Boomers then the Phone Book may be a great choice for you.

Goodluck!

-Blaise Regan

Blaise Regan is a Partner at Regan & Frisbie, PLLC, a law firm focusing on Wills, Trusts, Probate, Contracts, Business Formations (LLC, Corporation, S-Corp Designation), Business Disputes, DTPA claims, and Consumer Litigation.

Regan & Frisbie, PLLC is located at 7160 Preston Road, Suite 100, Plano, Texas 75024.

Comments or questions, feel free to email him at Blaise@RFPlawfirm.com or call him at 469.200.4737.

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