Glenn Martin
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Is Yellow Pages Still Working for Small Practices

Is Yellow Pages Still Working for Small Practices


I am returning to practice in the new year setting up my own small firm.

Do people still think the Yellow Pages and generate any business's
Or can the money be better spent elsewhere.

At present I have a Small listing on and I get a few enquiries over the year
And was going to increase the add and take a small and in the book.

I notice the book is a lot smaller now. The saleswoman claims its now a 1 handed
Book, but I suspect the real reason is because less people use it.

With social media more main stream now is it better to put resources into that.

I look forward to your comments and value your opinions.

Thanks Glenn


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22nd Nov 2012 00:52

Just given up on mine

It's the only form of advertising I've done for the past 10 years and has been a waste of their data centre's electricity & my money.  I'd not use paper so have just been on .com for about 5 years, yes I get maybe 1-2 enquiries a year but they have been useless and I doubt doubling or trebling my expenditure would have made any difference.

Still the case that the best clients are from referrals although, if I was starting up then yes, I'd be more inclined to use social media.

Thanks (0)
22nd Nov 2012 01:31

Sales people!

"I notice the book is a lot smaller now. The saleswoman claims its now a 1 handed

Book, but I suspect the real reason is because less people use it."

I wonder what she'll say when it's a "no-handed book"!

I stopped my Yell and Thomson adverts a couple of years ago after I found that the only people who used them were people trying to sell me things.

I got a phone call from somebody yesterday who found me in QuickBooks Pro Advisers listings so maybe that still works. I think SEO would be useful.

Thanks (1)
22nd Nov 2012 06:58

My experience

I have never used them.  When I set up in 2009 they called me a few times.  I asked them to provide a reference, they gave me an existing accountancy practice 60 miles away, similar advertisement to the one I was being offered.  I rang the main guy there.

Me:  How have you found it?

Him : One enquiry in past 18 months.  To be honest, I am glad you rang as we'd meant to cancel it.

That was an excellent reference as it gave me confidence I was making the right decision.

Thanks (2)
By nutwood
22nd Nov 2012 08:15

Not going to renew mine

Having used Yell/Yellow Pages since the start of the practice I am determined to stop at the next renewal.  Yes it does drive traffic to the website but, with a virtual telephone number specific to Yell, the monthly call stats show a dwindling response and I'm convinced that a lot of sales calls originate with Yell.

It's also true that the peaks and troughs in calls/website traffic originating with Yell mirror the peaks and troughs in unsolicited job enquiries by phone, email and snail mail.


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22nd Nov 2012 09:15

Just take the free listing. I've had zero response but it cost me nothing

so my conscience is clear

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22nd Nov 2012 09:41

ACCA advert

I had an advert for a couple of years and received nothing but cold callers. Yell brought nothing as there is so much competition, although I keep the free entry.

I have always kept my small entry in the ACCA box, this has brought me one or two jobs each year and although they are not huge fees they have stayed with me and the cost of this advert is minimal.



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By zebaa
22nd Nov 2012 11:05

YP was good 20 or 30 years ago, but times have moved on and there are other - and better - ways to get good quality customers. Advertised with YP then, do not do now.

But don't just take my word for it, see this from the Guardian in September:


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By Lilac1
22nd Nov 2012 11:33

On a personal front, when I'm looking for something or someone new, I do still use but I generally type in google or other search engine with the post code to see whats nearby and see what their website says about them.

I have the yellow pages come through the door but it just gets stacked on the shelf and never touched again until the following year when the next one comes and then it gets replaced.

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22nd Nov 2012 13:20

My view ... waste of money

I am just coming to the end of paying for an ad with and am about to cancel ... waste of money.  Leads all come from referrals or local advertising. 

Good luck!

Thanks (1)
22nd Nov 2012 14:07

YP hasn't worked for years

I used to advertise, but stopped around 2003.  I got fed up with time wasters - whether they were people ringing around for the cheapest quote or other advertisers touting for business.  Around 2000/2001 I did get 1 or 2 new clients each year, but they were generally poor quality and didn't last long.

It's the same when advertising in local newspapers - I feel obliged to occasionally when a client is having a feature page and needs advertisers, but all it ever brings are other local newspapers and directories wanting me to advertise with them as well.

As for - another waste of space.  They conned me into a paid-for advert by promising it would be free when the sales rep visited, but then they started sending demands for money - when I called them, they said I had signed a purchase order and sent me a copy of it.  Luckily I had also kept my copy.  The cheeky sod of a salesman had added extra lines to the order after I'd signed it - I vowed never to do business with them again after that.

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22nd Nov 2012 14:24


We have a rule - if you can touch it, don't pay for it.  That includes newspapers, trade journals etc.  Try some free Google Adwords (plenty £50 vouchers around), hit the social networks, get some electronic newsletter software ( we use Mail list King ) so you can keep in touch with clients etc and DO NOT pay for expensive SEO consultants as there is little they can do that you can't. 

Thanks (1)
By Glennzy
22nd Nov 2012 22:16

Thanks for the comments that's a no then it would seem.


Thanks (0)
22nd Nov 2012 22:58

Is Yellow Pages Still Working for Small Practices?

Thanks (4)
22nd Nov 2012 22:59

Is Yellow Pages Still Working?

Thanks (3)
22nd Nov 2012 22:58

When was the last time YOU used Yellow Pages?

Thanks (3)
23rd Nov 2012 09:03

The OP's question is one I was going to ask next year (in 'catch-up February').

It seems others view is like mine. YP used to be a no-brainer for me ... five to ten years ago, when it easily paid for itself. Now, I've pretty well decided to ditch Yell and invest the saving in a new, professional website; that (along with a healthy level of referrals) is where the work is coming from these days.

Perhaps the most telling moment was when we discovered the 'special' phone number they had allocated us (for the call stats monitoring) had never been connected to our own number so (the evidently few) prospects calling it thought it was out of order or that we were out of business. The point is, we barely noticed any drop off in enquiries!

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to lionofludesch
23rd Nov 2012 09:10

YP did you get your money back?

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to Paul Scholes
23rd Nov 2012 09:47

Oh yes, after a few months of to-ing and fro-ing. Muppets.

Thanks (0)
By Glennzy
23rd Nov 2012 20:19

To be honest I use a lot in my current role

But it's about 10 years since I have had any major dealings with them.

I loved the one handed book line best excuse ever for a shrinking business.
Thomson local has always been terrible even 10 years ago.


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27th Nov 2012 11:07

Simple question....
Do YOU use YP or to source any suppliers? Assuming you don't, what sort of people do you think DO still use these resources rather than search online, ask their friends or on social media?

I would imagine that the main users of YP are the very old who are either unable or unwilling to use the internet. If these are the sort of people you want as clients, try YP. Otherwise don't waste your money.


Thanks (1)
27th Nov 2012 11:29

@Mouse 007

what he said....



and how did you get those icons...I want them for xmas please

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27th Nov 2012 11:46

Yellow Pages

We had a big dispute with YP some years ago because they had not delivered to the Lymington area. We had apid for an extra cost advert.  It transpired, after considerable enquiries by us,  that Lymington is at the south west corner of the Southampton YP area and 10 miles across the New Forest from the next town. The distributor for YP had a contract requiring delivery to 90% of businesses and 70% of residential addresses within the coverage area. They simply excluded Lymington which enabled them to still meet their obligations. They refused point balck to deliver although we did receive 30 copies at our office! After much unpleasantness YP agreed to cancel our advert contract after about 50% had been paid.

Needless to say we have not paid for extra charge advertising on YP since.

Peter Lashmar


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27th Nov 2012 11:56

Which begs the question

I agree with Mark Lee.  Whilst the usual advice for any marketing activity is to try it in a small way and see if you can make it work for you, you can only try new variants every 12 months in Yellow Pages, plus you have this huge body of opinion saying it doesn't work any more.

Which begs the question ... how else are you going to attract new clients?  How will you embrace those ready to buy today? How will you keep in touch with those who might buy tomorrow?  And if you have any 'existing' clients remaining, how are you going to do the same for them?

My advice would be an integrated online and offline marketing strategy, with many activities such that it doesn't really matter which it is that actually precipitates each enquiry.  This way the whole will be much greater than the sum of its individual parts.

And when it comes to how much to charge, setting a fixed price, based on the value the Client will derive from your work, is far better than time-based charging - from both the Clients' and the Accountants' perspectives.


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By Glennzy
to Cheshire
27th Nov 2012 19:27

My main use of it is not the book.

I use it myself to find many businesses around the country

Don't even think I have a book at home for the last few years.

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27th Nov 2012 12:01

The way to get new fees...

Ask someone whose already doing it ;o) ( as long as they are not on your doorstep)

Any advance on the £107k of new ones I signed up last year?

Come on chaps cards on the table


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27th Nov 2012 13:06

I dropped Yellow Pages about five years ago.

Like most others, I found its response rate had dwindled, and was no longer worth it. It was the same with Thomson and The Phone Book.

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27th Nov 2012 13:39

Yellow Pages are now doing BOGOF

I just had them hassling me as well - they are even offering BOGOF's ! They must be getting desperate.

I do pick up the odd bit of business from - but not currently paying to advert in their either. 

Word of Mouth Referrals are still the best form though. Removes half your sales pitch before you even start. Good testimionals really help as well


Catherine, Catherine

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27th Nov 2012 13:59

I used yell when I first started, initially a free ad and then an ad costing about £36pm and I got zero except for receiving numerous illegal sales calls.

I tried BNI who were dreadful and were themselves illegally using Yell to get information to pester people.

I tried SEO, and many other types of advertising, but now apart from referals the main way I get more business is from a Local sponsored Yell add.  I get several calls a week, it paid for itself on the first job I received.


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By Glennzy
27th Nov 2012 17:54

Funnily enough yellow pages have just called today wanting to review my advert. I wonder if they read this. I take on board the comments anout existing referrals but as most of my work is,split over only a few clients the referrals may also be few in numbers. I was wanting some base work just to supplement this work. I think I will keep the advert for this year and put a small amount of money into a few areas, google Adwords, SEO, mail chimp, mail shotting etc to see which works best then switch funding into areas that return best results. Most of the work I have signed up is part time FD / management accountant type roles which will cover 50% of work I need so not starting off in a bad position. I am confident that once out of current role things will open up once I am doing things full time.

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