Saturday, August 26, 2023

Published August 26, 2023 by with 0 comment

Where Have All The Lawyers Gone Who Advertised In The Yellow Pages?

Where Have All The Calls Gone From Lawyers' Yellow Page Advertising?

Every week, lawyers phone me to complain that their calls from yellow page advertising have stopped. They've done pretty well in the past and are reluctant to stop the advertising. They are curious about the situation and what should be done.

It seems that attorneys are not the only ones. Chiropractic practice management, print advertising, and yellow pages consultant Peter Fernandez, D.C., provides an answer to the query, "Why has advertising in the Yellow Pages changed from one of the best ways to advertise to one of the worst in just a few years" in his article, "Quit wasting money on Yellow Page advertising." (See 1, below.)

Where all the calls went will be attempted to explain in this post. The expense, the reluctance of most lawyers to become early adopters of TV advertising, and the fact that yellow page salespeople were more interested in lawyers than TV salespeople led me to assume that lawyers started advertising in the Yellow Pages considerably earlier than on TV. The Yellow Pages and classified newspaper ads were essentially the only places a potential client could discover a lawyer advertising from 1976 until the middle of the 1980s. Due to the lack of competition, lawyers advertising in the Yellow Pages saw highly positive outcomes.

The Yellow Pages saw an increase in the number of lawyers, which caused it to becoming quite crowded. Many of the lawyers advertising in the Yellow Pages only recently realized what every other industry has known for years: that TV is by far the most efficient and economical form of advertising. From January 2004 through September 2004, lawyers spent $287.3 million on TV, compared to just $71.3 million on print media, $11.4 million on radio, and $4.1 million on online advertising, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. The Television Bureau of Advertising's research indicates that the public considers television to be the most authoritative and exciting medium. TV dominates other media among adults 18+ in both the influential and persuasive categories by a significant margin. Newspapers come in a distant second at 8.5% in the category of Most Influential, trailing TV by 81.8%. Newspapers come in a distant second at 14.2%, with TV coming in first with a score of 66.8%.

When you purchase media that reaches more people, your cost per person reached from advertising is decreased, much like when you purchase something in bulk or in huge amounts. A county-wide yellow pages book doesn't reach nearly as many people as broadcast TV, and as a result, it is far more affordable per person reached. There are 29 counties that are reached by television in the New York DMA (broadcast TV market). To reach the same geographic region as television, you would need to advertise in 29 yellow pages if there was just one in each county. Each county has a lot of yellow pages, which is unfortunate. Because they reach fewer people, smaller community yellow pages produce an even lower return on investment. Many lawyers have discovered that you can advertise on TV with a respectable budget and reach the population of an entire DMA for the price of a full-page advertisement in just two county-wide yellow page books.

Today, a lot of lawyers advertise on television, which is causing potential clients to stop using yellow pages. The issue is more complicated in the personal injury sector. Most seriously injured persons are either at home watching TV or in bed in a hospital. Potential accident clients see lawyer TV ads before they even look in phone books or yellow pages.

In the beginning, there was just one yellow pages book for lawyers to advertise in. There are currently multiple village, community, or neighborhood yellow page books in addition to three, four, or even five county-wide yellow page books. Because they signed a contract with another yellow page book without realizing it was a different publication and couldn't afford two books, some advertisers have even lost their positions in the Yellow Pages. The issue an advertiser has is whether to advertise in one yellow page book or all of them because a consumer will normally keep one yellow page book and discard the others. Will your ad appear in a yellow pages directory that is discarded? I only maintain one book, and it is rarely opened. It is kept in the closet. I no longer consult a yellow pages book; instead, I utilize the Internet.

While there used to be just one Yellow Pages book in the area that received 100% of the money from yellow page advertising, they are currently losing a sizable portion of that money to multiple rival Yellow Pages books, but their running costs are fixed. The equal number of yellow page books must be printed and distributed by each company. If no advertisers place ads in any of the three yellow page books, the publishing businesses are forced to raise advertising rates, raising the cost of contacting yellow page readers. Yellow page books have even started to create new real estate to sell, such as advertising on the covers, spine, tabbed pages, and even Post-it Notes style adverts, in an effort to boost sales. These prominent advertisements also draw customers away from full-page ads in the yellow pages.

Simply expressed, there used to be only one yellow pages directory in the area; advertising in them was less expensive; fewer lawyers advertised in the directory and on television; the Internet was not as developed as it is now; and more individuals used the Yellow Pages than there are now.

So what does yellow page advertising have to do with lawyers? Consider placing ads in all of the yellow pages if you are one of the top three or four advertisers in your market and have a marketing budget sufficient for a significant TV advertising campaign that includes billboards and radio. My advice is to stop placing ads in yellow pages and start spending your money on television if you're not one of the biggest advertisers in your market. You should also promote on billboards and the radio if you have a 1-800 vanity number and extra funds in your budget.


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