Fall is here, the leaves are turning colors and dropping from the trees, the nights are getting chilly and your online phone book company is sending their high-pressure sales people out to convince you to renew your over-priced and under-performing online advertising for another year. A very bad idea, indeed.

How do I know this to be true?

I talk to my clients.online phone book ads

One client who runs a local business has been advertising with a well-known paper phone book and online phone book ads provider told me a great story, this will make you smile.

Although my client has been getting few to no calls through a premium ad in the local phone book (honestly, there are so many now that I really can’t be sure which one it was, but we’d both recognize the name), he decided to dump that ad and just leave a minimum-sized ad in place. He did this because he knows where his calls come from – and they don’t come from the phone book.

But, the sales lady is persistent, and she pursues my client like a hound dog at a duck hunting contest. Many calls placed and several visits later, she still will not listen to my client as he explains that his business does not come from an $800/month phone book ad.

My client mentions that over half – way over half – of local businesses are searched, contacted and purchased through mobile devices. Smart phone searches, through the internet, wireless mobile internet searches and purchases. More than 50% – and growing.

He doesn’t need online phone book ads.

But, she is persistent – and clever. She whips out her iPad and pulls up statistics from her sales literature – wirelessly, of course. By way of a wireless internet connection, this super saleslady shows my client statistics that purportedly show that paper phone book advertising is alive and well – and he ought to actually upgrade to a much larger ad to capture more business.

Do you see the irony here?

I understand that my client base is a very small sample size – not mathematically reliable for any statistical relevance. But, I listen to my clients, and they all have very similar stories to tell. I can condense to a few bullet points.

  • Major International online advertising companies
  • Slick and very convincing super-salespeople
  • Annual contracts, often in excess of $1,500 monthly fees
  • Large paper phone book ads – $500/month plus
  • Always charged in advance, usually 2 – 3 months minimum
  • Promises of many clicks or phone calls
  • Absolutely no monthly monitoring
  • No customer support to modify/change campaigns or company-supplied websites
  • Locked in to annual contract – no hope of  breaking
  • Dismal performance

Do any of these sound familiar? Are you being hounded to renew a poorly-performing ad campaign with “one of the big guys?”

Resist this sales pitch and find a great local internet consultant in your own community who has great references, and offers expertise with personal attention.