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Tracking Is Not Just For Big-Game Hunters

Yellow Pages or not Yellow Pages.  That’s the dilemma of most businesses today.  In my view, the one and only way to end the debate is to get a tracking number.  And, get one where they also record the calls.  Tracking phone numbers for online advertising and Yellow Pages will go a looonnnggg way to tell you what media is generating the most calls.  The recordings tell you what type of calls you are receiving.

Yellow Pages will tell you they can do tracking numbers but as of March, 2011, they can’t record the calls.  If you can’t record calls, you can’t listen to them.  When you can’t listen, you don’t know if the calls you’re getting are actually sales calls.  You have to be able to listen.

It’s a very expensive, one-year commitment to make to an iffy lead generator for many small business owners.  Increasingly Yellow Pages makes it hard to “quit them”.  They throw bonuses at you, increase your rates when you decrease your ad size.  And, any reasonable owner hears the urban legend that someone in their industry quit the Yellow Pages and couldn’t be happier.

Last year, I wanted to go to Benihana’s for my birthday dinner with my family.  It’s a place that pleases the majority especially my niece and nephews who see if they can get Grandpa to pay for lobster.  I was upstairs cozily in my bed, pre-Blackberry, and didn’t want to go fire up the computer.  I popped open my Yellow Pages to search for Benihana.  And, there it wasn’t in both the white and yellow pages.  Now, I have to fork over $1.25 to my phone company to get it from 411.  I was not happy but still chose lazy.

Now these guys have a national reputation but it was still pretty gutsy to drop out of the book completely…unless they had a glitch, and that’s a whole other conversation.  Based on their waiting area and the difficulty of getting a reservation, maybe dropping out wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Your lack of  national reputation makes it imperative that you have a tracking number for your Yellow Pages so you can effectively evaluate your marketing investment.  It’s inexpensive and will help you better analyze your spending instead of anecdotal guessing.

P.S. – Don’t forget to get tracking numbers for your website, too.