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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 138
I started tracking all service calls, asking 'where did you get our number?' and got some surprising results.

Have any of you done that?

We spend at least 70% of the advertising budget on the phones books but get less than 10% of the calls from there. Have you had similar results? or something different?

I'll be making some major changes on the next go around.

Horizontal Ad
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 272
I track all calls.
The phone book reps like to tell you how great their phone books are and how you'll bring in all these calls.
It's not nearly as impressive as they say.

When I show them my results they claim all the other electrical contractors are happy with their ads.
I know the other electrical contractors in the book don't track their calls. They don't have tracking number listed and I have called them posing as a customer to see how they answer the phone. They don't ask where I heard about them from.

The only way to know what advertising is giving you the best return on your investment is to track the calls coming in, track how many of these calls get booked and track the revenue generated from these calls. Throwing money into advertising and not tracking the results is not a good thing to do but I beleive many do it.

Ad content and placement is important in phone book advertising. If you have a bad ad it's not going to do well. I changed my ad and went from a full page full color ad to a half page black and white ad in one phone book. The cost went from $2,500 a month to $1,000 a month and I still received the same call volume.

More and more people seem to be using the internet.
Internet advertising gives me a better return on my investment. You need to keep up on your SEO.

In my accounting software I can bring up reports and graphs that show each of my advertising expenses and how much revenue was generated from each of these. It also has reports showing where each customer heard about me from and how much revenue was generated by each customer.

Last edited by A-Line; 08/28/09 10:57 PM.
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 55
Out of all the money I have spent on advertising(phone books$2500, newspaper $2000, internet ad campaign $1000, website $500) only true method that works for me has been good `ol word of mouth. Luck sure does help sometimes too!

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,390
Likes: 7
I have to agree with UptoCode....
The 'yellow pages' ad netted basically zero dollars in revenue. Word of mouth referrals worked great for me for almost 25 years!

As to luck, yes that helps & I guess I was and am a lucky guy.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,462
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
I want to bring up what ought to be an obvious point, but one that was made to me recently by a man who started, and grew, a successful business.

In these hard times, I asked him to post what he had learned here. His response? "I got the information from ECN .... but everytime someone who knew what they were talking about said something, all the nay-sayers would chime in and drown them out!"

So ... here, more than in any other forum ... book learning and great ideas are fine - but actually successfully doing something is entirely different!

The same point was made by a customer of mine. Operator of several successful mini-marts - failing businesses that he turned around - he told me of one of his business school instructors. Seems the 'professor' actually took a sabattacal to grow a business - and failed miserably. That is, he was competent to 'teach,' but not to 'do.' Therer's a lesson in there, somewhere laugh

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,959
Likes: 34
Business school professors are generally the least capable businessmen around.
Most of them went to school when they were 5 and never left. They don't have a clue how the real world works.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
Originally Posted by gfretwell
Business school professors are generally the least capable businessmen around.
Most of them went to school when they were 5 and never left. They don't have a clue how the real world works.

Darned good point Reno and Greg,
It makes me wonder about some of these people, as you've said, they could be 50-60 years old, but they have "the plan" to make you rich.

OK then, if they have that plan, what on earth are they doing in a university, teaching others how to succeed?

Umm, I would be on an island with.... we really aren't going to go there are we? grin

Last edited by Trumpy; 09/08/09 03:58 AM. Reason: Typo
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,462
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
Mike ...I hate to tell you this, but you ARE on an island laugh

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 169
I've only been in business since 04 and am just a one man show but I have kept pretty busy through the recession.

I won't always be a one man show but I have watched guys that have ballooned out to big crews with a bunch of trucks and big shops downsize back into their garages the last couple of years so Ill stay where I'm at for now.

I don't have an ad in any phone book. I don't even have my name on my van.

I have cards I hand out usually 5 or 6 at a time and my wife insisted I get "uniforms", actually t shirts with my logo and number on them. That is all of my advertising other than word of mouth.

Interestingly enough, right after my name showed up on every yellow pages salesman's radar I was getting calls every week by guys trying to sell me an ad. At that time I was so busy I was turning away jobs every week, though I hated to do it.

I finally had to tell one of them "Look, right now I spend time I don't have telling people that if they can't wait a few weeks I won't be able to do their job and then spend more time I don't have trying to think of someone I would trust to refer them to. If I were to spend $70 a month on your ad I would only have to spend that much more time I don't have turning away work, much of it from people who are just shopping for rock bottom prices."

He got the idea. I haven't heard from any of them for some time.

When the economy tanked i considered an ad but the phone always seems to ring right when I need it to so far. (knocking on wood)

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 7
ESP Offline
New Member
I have been tracking my calls through 800 numbers. I have a different 800 number for each ad, so I know where they called from,their name, time of call etc. All the calls are forwarded to the office. I used to get most of my calls from word of mouth or Idearc (yellowbook in my area was terrible), but now its about 75% word of mouth and website and 25% Idearc (I dropped yellowbook). By using 800 numbers I don't have to ask anyone where they got the number and it is very inexpensive only $2 per month per line plus usage with the provider that I use.


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