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Computer repair / IT services Advertisng in Yellow Book

I have had my own IT services / Computer repair shop for the past three years. I now would like to expand and have more clients. I have a repair shop that people can walk into for repairs. A lot of what we do is Small businesses  IT servers that happens onstie, but the shop is there for people to bring the things for repair.

I was acontacted   by the Yellow Book and was offered two half pages adds for $800 a month or two quarter size adds for $550 a month (about $600 per year).  Has any one done this the past year with yellow book.  What do you think?
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netcomp
Asked:
netcomp
1 Solution
 
Steven KirklandRetiredCommented:
That sounds pretty steep but then again, it is Yellow Book.  Names and Numbers has been taking over our area for the last few years and has pushed Yellow Pages to the back of the line.  Something else to consider is that most households have more older phonebooks that new ones so it may be a while before you see a return on your investment.
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KenAdneyCommented:
There are A LOT of companies selling ads in things that go by the name of yellow book, yellow pages, etc. but which are sometimes a) not local and b) not anything anyone uses.  I'm in Qwest country so their yellow pages is something I always maintain a small ad in and I've sometimes advertised in the regional phone book published by PDC but I know the latter is used far less frequently.  Although what sckirlan says is true, your audience is for folks whose computers aren't working right and may be MORE inclined to use a phone directory (because their computers aren't working right).  If it were me, I'd run something far more cheaply, but I'd run it.  Personally, I'd push for more small business repair.  I can get by a day without a computer at home, but never at my business.  And few small business owners can take the time to do the diagnosis & repairs themselves.  just my opinion...
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Matthew NguyenCommented:
From my experience, Yellow Book ads don't work unless you have a fairly known name and have a big ad.  I previously worked in sales for an IT consulting company and we found no physical ROI from Yellow Book ads.  When we asked our clients where they heard of us, none of them said Yellow Book, most said word of mouth, so that's where we focused our efforts.

We also found that the only time ads really work is if you are willing to put forth a lot of money.  The reason I say this is because the "one time" ad placement rarely ever works.  Fliers, ads, radio spots, etc., have to be long term/consistent, almost annoying so that someone can remember the name.

What I found that worked and has best bang for your buck are networking groups.  Most are free (or ask you to pay for your lunch), but the ones that cost money are still far less expensive than a major Yellow Book ad and your membership is annual.  It does take a bit more of your time because you have to regularly attend events to make it worth your while, but when you have a group of people selling your business regularly, I think you'll get more business then any ad you buy.  The other good caveat with networking groups is that most only allow one representative from each industry, so essentially, you'd be the primary referral for computer repair in that group.  There was gentleman in my networking group who did home/small business computer repair, by just joining, he gained 15 clients (members in the group) because they all needed computer help.  If you want further resources for networking, I'd take a look at your local Chamber of Commerce.

Good Luck!
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netcompAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your comments. I was hopeing to get soem responses from others who have placed adds in the yellow book. The sales rep told me we can do a dollar size add for $400. I am still not sure about that. There would be at least 10 other people in the computer pages like us.  Even if I know that I would make my money back and get even I would have done it. I would make the money back if I got 3 clients per month. ........
Thanks for your idea about the networking groups. Where could I find more of them beside the county chamber of commerce. I know there are a lot of IT/computer people in that one.


Thank you,
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Matthew NguyenCommented:
The most popular one is called Business Network International (BNI), they have groups all over, sometimes multiple per city.  Here's a link to the main site, you can look for a chapter in your city as well:  

http://www.bni.com/

As well, take a look at your local newpapers, most groups advertise there.  Something else I do is just ask my major clients that I have good relationships with, many have their own networking groups that they run independently.  

If you don't have any luck with the above, if you want to put forth the effort, start your own.  I've created one just among my major clients I work with and do it once every other week over lunch.  the criteria is normally to the affect of:

1. News
2. Inviting new members
3. One minute "commercials" from each member
4. One member does a 10-15 minute presentation
5. Passing of referrals and thank yous.

Hope this helps
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moorhouselondonCommented:
What is on *your* shelves?  When you go in to see clients what do *they* have on their shelves?  If they have a well-thumbed copy of the directory in a prominent position in their office then it will be worth giving it a go.  In UK I am visited by both Yell and Thomson annually - I have ads in both.  For a while Yell were trying to flog a product called Business Pages but my response to that was that I never saw it on customer's shelves.  Yell will "prove" to you that such and such an advertiser had x phone calls because they provided the advertiser with a special phone number which Yell monitors.  Yes, that proves they've had x calls, but how much of that is junk phone calls?  And if they ever offer you that "special number" "free of charge", ask what happens at the end of the advertising period.  Do you get to keep the number free of charge?  Or do you have to relinquish it (maybe to a competitor)?  Don't get me wrong, in UK Yell is worth advertising in, but there's no point taking the short term view - even if most of your customers are "word of mouth" that means that one successful job through the directory may lead to many fresh avenues.  With advertising I think that you have to allocate a certain annual budget to "speculate" with.  Over the years you end up knowing which are good propositions and which aren't.
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