Four States Small Business Blog

The 2017 State of the Yellow Pages: Are Your Legal Clients Using Them?

Posted by Chad Elliot on April 27, 2017 at 9:00 AM
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law firm marketingYellow Pages advertising is relatively inexpensive, and for many lawyers, it’s their go-to advertising medium. But the Yellow Pages has its limitations. Many people use the Yellow Pages as a doorstop or booster seat, but it never occurs to them to use it to find a business. For that, they turn to Google. So, while the Yellow Pages remains an effective way to reach a certain segment of your law firm’s target market, it’s important to understand its limitations and explore advertising alternatives that can provide a wider reach.

Who uses the Yellow Pages?

For most of us, when we are in need of a product or service, we think of one thing: Google. But it’s not the case for everyone. People who live in rural areas with limited internet access, as well as some older consumers, rely on the Yellow Pages as their main resource for finding a business. The Wall Street Journal reports that 40% of Americans consult the Yellow Pages at least once a year, and in New York City, 13% turn to the Yellow Pages at least once a week. Many service providers — not just law firms, but electricians and pest-control services, for example — believe the Yellow Pages is the best way to reach consumers who are looking for a particular service.

Some Legal clients are still using the Yellow Pages

For legal marketing, one of the main benefits of using the Yellow Pages is it can be an effective way to reach your target market. If your clients are using the Yellow Pages, you should consider advertising in the Yellow Pages. Some publishers of print directories have adapted their business to the changes that have taken place in the advertising industry by bundling print ads with digital marketing services and online listings. For some businesses, this provides a way to reach different segments of their target market, although businesses with limited marketing budgets may consider it pricey. However, the unique targeting features that advertising in the Yellow Pages can provide make it worthy of consideration when planning your advertising strategy. For example, a personal injury lawyer may want to advertise in the “back pain” section of the directory.

For law firm marketing, it’s important to consider the demographics of the clients who typically need legal services. Some older people rely mostly on the Yellow Pages for finding a service provider, so if your practice involves estate planning, for example, it can be a good choice. Another market segment that relies on the Yellow Pages is people who are incarcerated. For a criminal defense practice, including DUI and domestic violence, the Yellow Pages may be the only resource available to your potential clients.

Things the Yellow Pages doesn’t offer

When it comes to branding, the Yellow Pages is not the best choice. That’s because the Yellow Pages is a resource people turn to when they’re at the bottom of the sales funnel and are ready to buy. Branding involves familiarizing clients with your law firm before they need your service. Unlike other advertising formats, such as radio or TV, Yellow Pages advertising reaches only the people who take the time open the book, flip through the pages, and look for the type of service you offer. Furthermore, when someone does open the Yellow Pages, there is little to differentiate your firm’s ad from your competitor’s ad which is listed right next to yours. When only using Yellow Pages advertising, a law firm is limiting its reach, its branding, and its ability to tell its unique story. By utilizing radio or TV, a law firm can reach a larger audience and begin the branding process.

Explore opportunities and alternatives

To effectively reach your target client, consider other advertising opportunities and alternatives to the Yellow Pages, including radio, targeted digital ads, and social media ads. Think of the Yellow Pages as a way to augment the advertising you do through other channels. A potential client who is familiar with your name because of your radio or digital advertising may turn to the Yellow Pages to look up your number when they need you. The most effective way to reach your specific client is to use cross-channel marketing that targets them across all channels.

Some legal clients still turn to the Yellow Pages, but it’s important to understand that advertising in a print directory works best for targeting a limited, specific type of client who is at the bottom of the sales funnel. Recognizing both the advantages and disadvantages of Yellow Pages advertising can help you make good decisions about how to allocate your advertising dollars.

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Topics: Small Business Resources, Marketing Strategy, Radio Advertising, Legal

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