If you’re like most health care professionals, you cringe every year at the sight of the Yellow Page/Book contract renewal form. Ads of any substance are expensive, and this kind of elective expenditure, naturally, leads you to question why you would let the Yellow sales rep dig her fangs into your checkbook. But when you have the right information and the right strategic approach, you may find that the Yellow Page/Book could be one of the most efficient advertising options available.
Begin Your Analysis With Two Kinds Of Key Information
First, are your patients and prospects using the yellow pages to find a physical therapist? Here’s what we know; In 2007, the Physical Therapy heading attracted 8.8 million references.* That means a community of 100,000 people would have 2,500-3000 people looking in the physical therapy section during the year; the 2500 people who go to the section are not simply curious, they are looking for a provider to choose now. Each visitor looks at an average of 4.6 ads, and makes an average of 2.1 calls. In our small market example, that’s 5,250 phone calls! Those stats are pretty impressive, agreed? So it stands to reason that the Yellow Pages in your area deserve serious consideration. But be careful, because deciding to invest in a display ad is just the beginning of a successful placement. If your ad isn’t written and designed properly, chances are you will not get your share of calls.
Second, see who else advertises in the section, what kind of ad they run (size, color, position), and find out how long have they been advertising. If you see the same advertisers running bigger and bigger ads every year, what conclusion can you draw from that? If you assume it’s because “they can afford it, so it’s no big deal for them,” we would say maybe, but this is probably the wrong answer. To find out for sure, you may find it worthwhile to do some business intelligence (to get tips on how to do this visit www.PTreferralMachine.com/AdTips ).
Implement The Right Strategy And Get More Than Your Share Of Calls – Guaranteed
What does your competition say in their ads? What do the ads do to educate readers about what they need to know when choosing a therapist? Typically, most YP advertisers use the same strategy. They all headline the company name, insert a cute tag line, list a menu board of services, and offer contact information. This is the traditional approach that has been recommended by Yellow Page sales representatives and layout people since the beginning of the directory. To see what we mean, open up your local Yellow Pages. Can you see how the strategy is almost identical with each advertiser? From the reader’s standpoint, they all seem to say the same thing; “We are a physical therapy provider, located at [fill in the blank], we do back pain and sports injuries and other-stuff-with-names-that-mean-something-to-us-but-not-to-you, we accept all insurance, we have professionally trained/licensed staff, flexible hours, and, oh, by the way, just in case you forgot what they look like, here’s some little pictures of the credit cards we accept. And, if space permits, you’ll even get to see some pictures of smiling patients. Well, aren’t all those things you would expect from every professional physical therapy clinic? How in the world are readers supposed to learn why you are any different than the next clinic with that “me too” strategy?
Is it any wonder why consumers using the Yellow Pages tend to select an ad based on size, color, and clinic location? Is it any wonder why most physical therapists tell us they think investing in the Yellow Pages is a waste of money? To get this right, you need to understand the numbers, set up strict tracking procedures, and provide content that educates the reader on the important and relevant issues pertaining to choosing a physical therapy provider (see www.PTreferralMachine.com/AdTips).
Until physical therapists begin applying strategic advertising principles more effectively, they will remain destined to underperform their market potential. The advertisers that recognize the significance of this and how to effectively act on it will enjoy a strategic advantage that will pay big dividends, guaranteed.
*Yellow Pages Association Top 300 Headings 2007