Denver Bar Association
September 2001
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Yellow Pages Advertising is Better

by Tim Bauer


Move over Trey Ryder . . . this is the real way to advertise.
By Tim Bauer

An article in the May 2001 Docket titled, "Move Over Jake Jabs," by Trey Ryder, advises lawyers, "to consider another way of reaching prospects, newspaper ads." Essentially Mr. Ryder believes newspapers offer lawyers a better advertising value over what can be achieved through the Yellow Pages.

Now, while I don’t mean to question Mr. Ryder’s expertise in marketing, I do find his logic perplexing, contradictory and frankly, biased. For example, Mr. Ryder’s article claimed the Yellow Pages offer attorneys only one advantage and seven disadvantages. On the other hand, he stated newspaper advertising provides 11 advantages and only two disadvantages. Sounds biased to me. So with that said, lets compare the actual value story the Yellow Pages truly offers. These values are based on the following five factors:

Availability—In metro Denver, the QwestDex Yellow Pages is delivered to 95 percent of all homes and businesses; 1.5 million directories in all. By contrast, The Denver Post reported on May 1, that newspaper subscriptions have fallen since the JOA took effect, citing the Rocky Mountain News circulation dropped 17.9 percent and The Denver Post circulation dropped 11.9 percent. And, even though The Denver Post claims a Sunday circulation figure of 67 percent, it still does not stack up to the reach achieved by the QwestDex Yellow Pages. You be the judge: 67 percent verses Qwest Dex’s 95 percent availability. The point here is that the QwestDex Yellow Pages is delivered to more metro consumers than that of newspapers.

Retention—What do you do with a newspaper after you’re finished reading it? Most people will toss the paper into the recycling bin. What do you do with the Yellow Pages after you’ve finished referencing it? Typically, it’s placed back by the telephone so it may be used again as needed. Consumers don’t keep newspapers once they are read. Only the Yellow Pages offer attorneys assurance that their advertising will be retained 24/7 by their prospective clients’ telephones.

Convenience—Newspapers offer only three basic types of advertising: inserts, display ads and classified ads. Newspaper insert and display ads can be placed anywhere within the paper while the classified ads are placed within the specific classified section. The problem here is if an attorney chooses to advertise using an insert or a display ad, the advertisement will only be noticed if the reader happens, by chance, to turn to that specific page. In the case of classified newspaper advertising, the format is limited to a few lines of copy in standardized types with no allowance for creativity or illustrations. Those ads will be lost among the other classifieds selling used cars, pets and antiques.

Not a convenient or dignified place for a law firm’s ad to be located. Yet, the Yellow Pages is designed to feature your firm prestigiously among its peers. The Yellow Pages also allows flexibility so attorneys may design their ads to fit the needs of their practice and not the needs of the publication. A Yellow Pages user can find an attorney’s ad quickly and efficiently over one placed in a newspaper.

Completeness—How many of your peers advertise in the local newspaper? Now how many of your peers advertise in the Yellow Pages? Just about every law firm can be found in the Yellow Pages. Sure, newspaper advertising will not have as many competitors positioned around your ad; however, those seeking legal services usually want to view and compare all of their available options. Only the Yellow Pages carries the complete listings and advertisements for the entire legal community, making it the place potential clients will go to help them choose a legal professional.

Price—Mr. Ryder’s article expressed concern over the $4,815 monthly charge for a full-page ad in the QwestDex Yellow Pages. He failed to compare Yellow Pages costs to that of the local newspapers. According to the Denver Newspaper Agency, a full-page advertisement in The Denver Post would be approximately $86,666 a month. (The rate provided was calculated on an annual 7-day-a-week contract for a full year.) Obviously, on face value, the QwestDex advertising rates are much lower that those of The Denver Post. Of course advertising value should never be based solely on cost, but on what presents the best return on investment. For attorneys, not only will the Yellow Pages win on price, but it also wins on value. Factoring in the previously stated points of availability, retention, convenience and completeness, the QwestDex Yellow Pages surpasses newspapers in giving the best return on an advertising investment for legal professionals.

When the pros and cons between the Yellow Pages and newspapers are weighed side by side, I must strongly disagree with Mr. Ryder’s counsel. The Yellow Pages value story speaks for itself. It is not a viable alternative for advertising, but an integral part in building one’s practice.

Tim Bauer is the Senior Manager of Legal Affairs, Public Policy & Compliance for QwestDex in Denver.

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