As a small business owner – you know you have to spend money to make money. One of the place you must spend money is advertising your business.
Accord to the SBA (Small Business Association) small business owners should be spending 5% of GROSS SALES for advertising. Of course, there are some industries which need to spend more – and a select few who can succeed even though they’re spending less.
One of the favorite places for small business owners to invest their advertising dollars is in yellow page advertising. It’s where most small business owners “over-spend” their advertising dollars.
In my work with small business owners – I’ve heard multiple “excuses” why yellow pages got the lion’s share of the advertising budget. I say “excuses” because in reality – most small business owners who devote the lion’s share of their advertising budget to the yellow pages for one simple reason: it’s easier to do it that way.
I get it. Advertising in the yellow pages is easy. It’s a once a year decision – and even if you decide to advertise your small business in every yellow page directory serving your area – you still only have to think about advertising a few times a year. Since the ads have to be “timeless” – merchants often stick with the same display ad for years – decades even.
Yellow page advertising is the “set it and forget it” option for most small business owners and in the days when every home had at least one yellow page directory – it was some where every local business owner needed to be listed.
But the yellow page directories are going the way of the buggy whip and the dodo bird. Smart phones and the internet are killing the traditional printed yellow page directories. Some states are passing laws which allow consumers to “opt out” of receiving them due to the massive environmental impact of the discarded outdated directories.
As yellow page usage rates decline – so should the overall percentage of your yearly advertising budget which you devote to yellow page directory advertising. If you’re spending the same on your yellow page advertising today as you were five years ago – chances are you are spending too much on your yellow page advertising.
Directory advertising is still an essential part of any advertising campaign. You shouldn’t stop spending the money you used to use on yellow page advertising – you should be shifting it to where the consumers are heading.
Where should you be investing those ad dollars instead?
The internet is the new “directory” for consumers – yet small business owners are lagging behind. Local search is becoming increasingly important to small business owners. The good news is – your yellow page advertising dollars can go a LOT further and work a LOT harder for your business when you take them out of the yellow pages and invest them into your online presence.
Sure – it’s not as “easy” – and using the internet is definitely anything but “set it and forget it” – but in the end, you’ll see the benefits of focusing on your online small business presence in your bottom line.