You’re not alone. Every month, personal injury lawyers across America and around the world cut a big check for their directory ads — be they double trucks, back pages, full color process pages or even quarter page ads. And the same questions linger in every mind.
Is this a good investment? Can I afford to bail and let my competitor have my spot? Is there something better I could be doing with all this money? How many cases do I need to catch to justify this expense? How much time and bother do we go through to kiss all these frogs hoping for a prince or two?
First of all, you should know that it’s not likely that any of your competitors is getting much more response than you. Not because your ad is good, but because if you’ve been taking advice from your directory rep about your ad, it sucks like all the other ads.
The very design of the Yellow Pages directories practically guarantees mediocre response for everyone. The quick and dirty way to determine if anyone might be cleaning up is to count how many pages there are as big as your ad. If you are a double truck and there are ten double trucks, then you’re in a very competitive market. If you are one of five or ten top advertisers, simply take the number of calls you receive on average per month (please tell me you are tracking your response!) and multiply it by the number of major competitors there are. Now you have your number. If your ad is pretty much the same as all the others, then you know more or less how your competitors are faring.
They may be better at answering the phone. They may be not as good as you. If you have a weak receptionist, you are leaking cases. But, if any of your competitors’ ads is vastly different than all the others, you may need to put some thought in how to counter what they are doing, if you decide to stay in the directory for one more year.
To further compound your misery, take it as a given that the Yellow Pages will all but disappear. Twenty five year olds use Google. You know it. At best, the Yellow Pages directories are a shrinking rump of marketing. So, if you are taking only your share and nothing more, your ad sucks. The Yellow Pages is not a cooperative venture. It’s a trench war and you’ve allowed yourself to be disarmed by a directory rep who worked like blazes to ensure that your ad was like everyone else’s. Check back here in a day or two for a little known secret: the three words you must know to understand the mindset of your prospect and how they use the Yellow Pages.
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