Internet marketing, website design, email marketing, nj, new jerseyReceived this golden nugget from my Ebiz Marketing colleague, Nick Nichols today.  It’s a way to prospect efficiently using your local Yellow Pages.  While it was written specifically for Internet marketing firms like Samson Media, I think the lessons apply to most any business involved in B to B sales.  Enjoy:

Turn Yellow Into Gold

At the live training (we conduct in our Las Vegas offices) we discuss how using the Yellow Pages is a great way to identify businesses that are spending money on advertising on a regular basis. We suggest that you contact your Yellow Pages company to see how much the various display ads cost, so you will know how much money businesses are spending. We advise that you look at the full and half-page ads for potential prospects. 

However, we thought of a new twist to using the Yellow Pages: identify industry classes that are prone to spending money on promotion as a group.Here’s how it works:Pick up your Yellow Pages and turn to accountants. Count the number of all the display ads, large and small. Now count the number of text-only ads. Add the two numbers and compute the percentage of paid ads to total ads.

We did this in Las Vegas and the percentage for accountants was 35 display ads out of 377 total ads. That’s a pitiful 9%. Then we did it for carpet and rug cleaners. 47 out of 157 = 29%, or more than three times the percentage for accountants. And we counted several full and half-page ads in the carpet and rug cleaners’ section and zero large ads in the accountants’ section.  What does this mean? Accountants – as a group – don’t believe in spending money on advertising, whereas carpet and rug cleaners – as a group – DO believe in spending money on advertising. 

If you spend a couple of hours with your Yellow Pages you will know which industries to concentrate on. Remember what Willie Sutton the bank robber said when asked why he robbed banks, “Because that’s where the money is.” Take a lesson from Willie and turn your Yellow Pages into gold!


NOTE:  I sometimes prospect using the Yellow Pages but what I found, at least in my area of Essex County, New Jersey, is that the Yellow Page salespeople are real cagey about giving out rates.  They have nothing published — you have to call and speak with someone, which is fine, but even then they seemed reluctant to send information.  They’ll give you some general rates on the phone but won’t commit to specific numbers unless you specify a range of factors like length of time, size, etc.  BOTTOM LINE:  the worst you can hope for is a ballpark number you can use.  Best case:  you find a salesperson who’ll spill their guts.  Either way, it’s worth a try.  -Gene