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Yellow Pages Advertising For Attorneys
Don’t Blame The Yellow Pages……
Blame Your Ad and Your Market

If you hop online and do a quick search on “attorney yellow pages advertising” you’ll see numerous sites catering to attorneys that highlight a web page published by Peter Fernandez, D.C., of the World Chiropractic Alliance.  His article essentially states that yellow page (and yellow book) advertising is a complete waste of money (he references attorneys – that’s why it’s been picked up by attorney related sites).


Well, I don’t agree, because even today, with 211 million Americans having Internet access at home or work….people still regularly grab the yellowpages and look for the service provider they need.  Heck, I’m as proficient as one can get with the Internet, and I still pull the yellowpages out of my desk drawer sometimes to get the help I need.

However, I do agree with part of his assessment – and that is, not every business needs to use the yellow pages. So listen up.  I’m going to detail which attorneys should never use yellowpage ads, which attorneys should….and how those that should can get phenomenal returns using yellow page advertising.

Attorneys That Should NOT Use The Yellow Pages:

  • Attorneys whose practice areas cater to the wealthy – wealthy clients use referral systems.  If this is you, and you’re advertising in the yellow pages, cancel it when your contract is up.  Look into strengthening your referral system.
  • Attorneys whose practice area focuses on personal injury clients – many times your potential client is laid-up in bed watching TV – perhaps you should investigate TV Advertising….and cancel your contract when you can.
  • Attorneys whose practice areas focus on Businesses – you might consider ramping up your referral system or investing in Internet Marketing.  You know that more than 90% of your business comes from those two sources so don’t renew your yellow page contract either.


Attorneys That SHOULD Use The Yellow Pages:

  • All Other Practice Areas whose clients are typically middle income and low income.

Now that we’ve covered who should and should not use yellow page advertising, let’s take a look at what you’re doing now, and how to fix it.

The first step is determining if the ads you’re running now are working.  And the only way to do that is by tracking where your contacts are coming from.  In a very short time, you’ll know if your investment in yellow page advertising is working.  Only then can you make a decision on what you should do.

Take a look at tracking attorney marketing and advertising if you have not yet done that – it’s brain-dead simple.

If you’ve determined your ad is not working, you have two choices.  One, cancel the contract.  Or two, change the ad.

For most attorneys, the initial reaction is to cancel the yellowpage account because it’s not working.  But in almost 100% of those instances, it’s not the yellow pages fault.

It’s the ad itself.

Think about the ad you have in the yellow book right now.  It’s probably a plain ol’ space ad.  Troy White, one of the best marketing guys in North America, calls them “name, rank, and serial number ads” that give nothing but a name, address, and phone number.  Less than 1 in 1000 people letting their fingers do the walking will even glance at that type of ad.  Business people use this type of ad space in the yellow pages because it’s cheaper.  My advice – if this is all you plan on doing, don’t renew the contract.  If you can afford the next offering the yellow pages have, read on.

If you’re not using a space ad, you’re using a boxed ad – you know the type – a 1/4 page, 1/2 page or full page ad.  This type of ad is expensive and to make it worse….I’ve never dealt with a business owner who had a boxed ad that worked.

Why is that?  Because in almost every case, the business owner gets their advice on what the ad should look like, and what it should say, from the yellow page rep – an individual who knows nothing about effective advertising.  In fact, their advertising training is a whole 2 days, and they’re told to just copy existing ads in the section they’re selling.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard business owners tell me that yellow page advertising doesn’t work.  The reality is….the ad just sucks.  They’re taking advice from people with no experience, no track record, and no working knowledge of successful advertising principles.

Most importantly, these people have no stake in your business, so at the end of the day, they could care less if your advertising doesn’t work.

To remedy this, all you need to do is make a simple change to the ad and you’ll see your yellow page ROI skyrocket.

Just below, you’ll see two examples of yellow page box ads.  They’re from an Auto Dealership I did some work for in 2003 – and they are excellent example of what to do, and what not to do.

First, click here to see how a boxed yellowpage ad should not be done (a small window will appear – please leave it up for a few seconds and read on before closing)

When you look through the yellow pages, almost every ad in the book is exactly like this – it has the Company name at the top, and the services they offer.

This is a prime example of “what not to do” – for three reasons.  One, they all say the thing. Two, it doesn’t grab anyones attention….it’s boring and potential customers will blow right by it.  And three, there is no benefit to the potential client.  In other words, the potential client cannotinstantly determine “what’s in it for them” or “how can it help them.”  And no benefit = No Business.

If you’re ad is similar to this, you now know why it doesn’t work.

I have to give this dealership some credit.  They did track their advertising ROI and knew that this ad didn’t work.  For the two years it ran prior to my involvement, it generated 15 clients and had a negative ROI.

To get your yellow page ad to work, just do the opposite of what everyone else is doing….make your ad Stand Out.

Click here to see what a boxed yellow page ad should look like (a small window will appear again – please leave it up for a few seconds and read on before closing)

Let’s run through the differences with this ad:

  • If you’re looking through the auto repair section of the yellow pages, have a Honda, and see this ad amidst all the other ads, you’re going to read it.  Why? Because it’s different….it stands out and almost looks like an article.  And articles get read!
  • It has no company name – it has a headline – “Do You Own A Honda”.  It grabs their attention and begins the process of telling them what you might be able to do for them.
  • And then it provides the answers (benefits) that most people have when getting their car worked on – it’s a pain in the ass getting work done and they don’t know who to trust.
  • Here’s the time related benefits – “Open 15 hours a day 6 days a week”, “Free Shuttle”, “Honda Certified Technicians” and “30 Minute Oil Change or it’s Free.”
  • And the trust benefit – “What Has Your Mechanic Not Been Telling You; Get This Free Report.”  This repair shop is actually going to let their potential clients know about some of the unethical practices mechanics engage in on a regular basis. This instantly builds the trust this business needs.

If a potential client is wandering through the yellow pages and sees your ad – the only one that looks like it, and says what it does – your ad is going to get the lions-share of those calls.  It’s as simple as that.

By the way, the new ad for the dealership – did it work?

The last time I checked, 877 new customers over an 18 month period – you do the math.

If you have the time and enough “creative juices”, you can do a new yellow page ad all by yourself.  Click here for a step-by step, Yellow Pages DIY guide for you to use.

Or, if you’d like to have a professionally designed yellow book ad that brings new clients to your practice, month after month, and get low, unpublished rates when you renew, see our Attorney Yellow Pages Advertising Services.