EMERGING STRATEGIES: A New Cure for Yellow Pages Addiction

© 2006 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2006
Author: W. David Hanson
Page 66

A New Cure for Yellow Pages Addiction

By W. David Hanson

One of the most common statements made by garage door dealers today is, “Yellow Pages advertising is a necessary evil.” To some, it’s now more evil than ever.

In many markets, the cost of maintaining priority ad placement has risen sharply due to aggressive companies seeking Yellow Pages domination by placing double-truck ads (two full pages) or even triple-truck ads (three full pages). Many of these companies have multiple offices and earn national rates with huge discounts, giving them a distinct advantage over the “Mom and Pop” dealer.

The garage door business has become increasingly competitive in recent years. From new franchises to tailgaters (who conduct business with no office and only a cell phone), the new millennium has spawned a whole new breed of garage door companies.

To make matters worse, most of the major Yellow Pages publishers are taking advantage of the increased competition by giving priority ad placement to the company that buys the largest ad first. This one factor alone has driven competitive Yellow Pages advertising costs out of sight.

What’s a Dealer to Do?

The question is: What alternative strategies will work in this changing environment?

Many dealers have relied almost solely upon the Yellow Pages to promote their businesses. This one-dimensional marketing approach leaves your company vulnerable. While it is certainly important to maintain a healthy presence in the Yellow Pages, a success-driven dealer must branch out into other forms of marketing.

The Emerging Competitor to the Yellow Pages

Fact: The number-one emerging marketing medium in the world is the Internet. Today, more customers are turning to the Internet to find what they are looking for. According to a report by the Kelsey Group, the use of the Yellow Pages is expected to decrease by more than 20 percent over the next three to four years due to customers’ increasing use of the Internet instead of the Yellow Pages.

However, will the cost of Yellow Pages advertising decrease as usage decreases? On the contrary, it will most likely continue to increase as it typically does every year.

The Internet is here to stay. The use of the Internet is only going to continue to increase. The question today is, not if, but when will you start promoting your business on the Internet.

Pay for Possible Leads or Real Leads?

One of the easiest and safest ways to begin reaping the benefits of the Internet is to purchase leads from an Internet lead-generation company. This approach requires no marketing expenditures or financial risks for the possibility of getting leads. Instead, a dealer pays only for confirmed leads.

Some Internet lead-generation companies will sell the same lead to multiple dealers in the same area. While this can bring in new business, it forces you to compete with other dealers for each lead.

Another approach is to use a lead-generation company that gives that lead exclusively to you and gives your contact phone number to the customer. Although the per-lead price is typically higher, you gain exclusive access to that lead.

Some say that Internet leads are somehow sub-standard or “just all estimate requests.” However, Garage Doors of America, an exclusive Internet lead-generation company, reports that 75 percent of all the leads they generate nationally are for immediate service and emergency repairs. The other 25 percent of leads are estimates for repairs, new doors, openers, etc.

How to Get Started

Here’s the important point to remember. The same customers who have been using the Yellow Pages are more and more turning to the Internet to find a garage door company. Is your company there to greet all these customers? Are you taking advantage of this vast new marketing medium?

The Internet can be the new cure for your addiction to Yellow Pages advertising. But do your homework. Get good advice from experts. Done properly, Internet marketing can save you thousands of dollars every year and generate excellent qualified leads for your door business.

W. David Hanson, a former door dealer, is now a partner in the exclusive Internet lead-generation service, www.garagedoorsofamerica.com.