Taking out an advertisement in a directory such as the Yellow Pages or a local business directory is relatively inexpensive, but their effectiveness may depend on the type of business.
While the internet has staked a huge claim to the throne formerly owned by print media, there's one area where print is still king. That's business directory listings. People still rely on listings in the Yellow Pages and local circulars when they're looking for certain products and services, and in these uncertain economic times, more people are cutting coupons and reading the weekly local circular for the best deals.
People look to the Yellow Pages and similar business directory listings for services and products such as auto repair, locksmiths, attorneys, florists, plumbers, etc. Particularly if you're in one of these industries, you should at least be listed and may want to consider taking out a larger ad than your competitors. You should also investigate other business directory listings that cater toward a specific market, such as senior citizens and people of different ethnicities.
The Yellow Pages is still a very effective method of advertising. The obvious drawback of advertising here is that you're paying to be placed next to your competition. So you'll have to project a message that differentiates you from your competitors. Don't sound just like the next business or you'll risk being lost in the shuffle. For example, if you're a lawyer and you're willing to make yourself available 24 hours a day or on weekends and evenings, you should announce that fact. People want to contact businesses that cater to their needs and schedules.
If you have the budget, you should consider investing in other forms of advertising in addition to a business listing. Most people will do business with a company that they are familiar with. If a person sees your company through several different outlets they will naturally feel more at ease using your business.
Because of the economic climate, more people are looking at business directory listings in free weekly circulars to find deals on food, clothing, products for the home, haircuts, and anything else where they can cut a few corners. By listing your business, you can catch the eyes of new customers and retain their future business by providing great service once they're in the door.
Mysteriously, internet listings are not as popular as a print directory such as The Yellow Pages. Whether it's because you don't see the huge number of listings you do in a print version, or that people are still more comfortable flipping pages to look for certain services, the bottom line for your business is that internet directory advertising may not be right for you yet. You will have to take a look at the promotional material for an internet directory and ask tough questions about the results for businesses.
For a small investment, advertising in local directories such as newsletters, circulars, and business directories can provide a targeted audience for your business, and provide bang for your buck.