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Is Yellow Page Advertising Worth The Cost To Your Medspa?

Simple answer: Not for me. I have pulled the Yellow Page ads for all of our Medspas. Over the last seven years, I have found that the money that is spent or should I say gouged on Yellow Page ads is better spent elsewhere.

Yellow Pages were at one time popular before the Internet and competition. In Surface's current Utah markets, there are currently six Yellow Page competitors who are all publishing books. In order to run a full-page, full-color ad in all of them, I would be looking at about $20,000 a month, which I think is absolutely ridiculous.

Yellow Page salespeople will tell you that 50% or 40% or some other percentage of people who are looking for your type of business are going to be able to find you in the Yellow Pages. That is true... kind of.

What really happens is people hear about your business and then they will search for you in order to find out your telephone number, which is a vastly different value proposition as opposed to what Yellow Pages are really sold to you as which is direct advertising. The Internet has made it so easy to find any amount of information that Yellow Pages for the most part I feel are irrelevant.

Now, we have tried individual phone numbers and a number of other things in order to track our ROI, but what we find out when we actually talk to our patients (every patient that comes into one of our clinics is given a questionnaire in which case they fill out where they heard about us and also if they have heard about us before) the vast majority are just using Yellow Pages in order to look up our phone number. (I think probably 100% of people who fill out that they called us from the Yellow Pages also fill out that they have heard of us someplace before) Of those same patients only about 3% do not have Internet access. As more and more people switch to the Internet for their information needs, the Yellow Pages become less and less relevant, and the opportunity cost for that money becomes greater and greater.

So, this year I decided to pull all of our Yellow Page ads, and we have seen no decrease in the growth of our business.

I would be interested in hearing what other people what their thoughts are on the Yellow Page ads that they run.

Reader Comments (2)

Jeff, couple of things about the Yellow Pages:

Yes, if you try to compete on the same playing field with everybody else in the Yellow Pages - ie, price for price, service for service etc - then yes, YP can be a tough gig, hard to justify. In other words, all the ads are trying to 'sell off the page', doing it the same way everybody else does it.

For most businesses, the only way to compete in the Yellow Pages is to buy a BIGGER ad.

But what IF...

Instead of trying to sell off the page, use your Yellow Pages advertising as a LEAD GENERATOR. Eg, "Don't you DARE Call a Medspa until you read this FREE 16-page Report/Get this FREE $87 DVD Which reveals "The 12 Must Have Answers Before...' etc etc.
And then a call to action to call a 1800 number and/or visit a website to download free report/order DVD - in exchange for their address and other contact details so you can market to them by direct mail/email/text message and anything else you can think of.

Of course, the DVD/Free report is a well-crafted sales message for you spa, including an OFFER etc etc.

See, for every person who actually picks up the phone to answer a Yellow Pages ad, there are 20, or 50, or 100 who ALMOST pick up the phone but don't...and your advertising dollar is completely wasted without some kind of name capture process.

Plus, it gets your prospect AWAY from the damn yellow pages...where all your competitors are!

To say that Yellow Pages per se is a bad medium is to say that newspapers are a bad medium, or TV is a 'bad' medium. Not so. You gotta work out what your 'most wanted response' to any advertising is...and I believe almost all 'broadcast' advertising, eg Yellow Pages, should be first and foremost a lead generator. Because very few people are going to sign up for a high-priced service 'off the page' . Selling spa treatments is a multi-step process, but you're dead in the water if you can't first capture the mailing details of those who put their hands up and say 'I'm interested."

Regards, Greg Milner.

Thanks for the tip (Greg). The idea to used YP as a lead generator is great.

I thought I’d share my view on YP advertising. We use to run an ad that was larger than our competitors so that people would identify us as the leader. However, this was about 4 to 6 years ago since then the competition in our city has grown, so for us to justify spending $16K a year on YP ad space especially in this current economy would be downright stupid. Early this year we did some analysis of our business and found that 44% of our repeat clients spend 74% more. Our yearly marketing budget is around $30K which includes running local radio ads during peak holiday seasons, SEO, and direct mail. Mid-summer we started using our database of client’s emails to specifically market to them and have been able to increase the 44% to 57%. It has made a world of difference because we can clearly measure how our marketing dollars are being spent.

In the past we only used direct mail/flyer and in store display marketing to promote our specials on new products and services. I look at it this way, we got our customer interested with flyers and we continue to keep them coming back regularly with email marketing – it’s a whole lot cheaper. We now only run a simple line-listing and a smaller 1 inch ad in YP. Now days “everyone” uses the internet to look up business so our SEO has helped as well. We converted the marketing dollars we spent on YP to Google ads which we can measure with Google Analytics.

Being able to send emails and track them just makes more sense to us and any new visitors to our website can sign-up to our Newsletter if they want to receive any of our monthly coupon specials. Just like Google Analytics we use SpaWebmailer which has great metric email tracking of open and click-through rates plus tons of other features.

I am not saying to eliminate YP advertising from any spa/salon/medi-spas marketing, but down-sizing in certain areas and up-sizing in others to maximize marketing dollars just makes sense. I hope that my insight is helpful.

Cheers, Jack

12.13 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Green

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