Keep customers out of the Yellow Pages

Whatever your opinion is on the Yellow Pages as a way to get new customers, you probably want to keep existing customers away from the Yellow Pages and all of your competitors' ads. Here's eight simple ways to keep them out of the Yellow Pages.

Whatever your opinion is on the Yellow Pages as a way to get new customers, you probably want to keep existing customers away from the Yellow Pages and all of your competitors' ads. Here's eight simple ways to keep them out of the Yellow Pages.

  1. Stickers: Put stickers everywhere: sticker the water heater, the garbage disposal, the inside of the cabinet door under the kitchen sink and the Yellow Pages. Offer the homeowner a $5 discount if you can put a sticker on the front of their Yellow Page directory. Most people will accept the sticker to receive the discount. Make sure to increase the odds that all stickers will be used by printing all of the stickers for a house on a single sheet with each sticker scored, so it can be easily peeled off. Print placement instructions next to the stickers.

  2. Magnets: Everyone loves refrigerator magnets. If the kitchen is the center of the house, the refrigerator is the center of the kitchen. Refrigerator real estate is valuable. Increase the odds that your magnets will be retained and given prominence by making them more valuable than the basic white truck magnet that represents two-thirds of all magnets given out by contractors. Instead of the truck magnet, give homeowners coupon magnets, magnets with local emergency numbers, magnets with the poison control hotline, picture frame magnets that are just the right size for a kid's school picture, sports team schedule magnets, and so on. Because more and more refrigerators are nonmetallic (e.g., stainless steel, glass front, etc.), create a magnet with laundry tips for the washer or dryer.

  3. Valve tags: Get a name badge/luggage tag laminator from the office supply store to create valve tags to indicate emergency shut off valves, gas lines, hot and cold water valves, etc. The plumber uses a hole punch to indicate the valve type. If you use both sides of the valve tag, make sure the hole punch won't eliminate important information. Don't forget to use the laminator to create employee ID badges as well.

  4. Sink rings: Whenever you replace a disposal for a customer, replace the sink ring with one containing your company name, phone number and Web site. Why market for the disposal manufacturer?

  5. Faucets: Find a local company to tastefully silk screen your logo, number and Web site in light grey at the base of faucets and on any porcelain you install. This is an extra step and will require carrying inventory, but it's a permanent placement.

  6. Invoices: Most invoices are paperwork and forms. Make yours a marketing piece by printing a bounce back coupon on the invoice. While some homeowners will throw the invoice away, those who are diligent about filing copies of invoices will have a coupon the next time service is needed.

  7. Yellow Pages discount cards: Create a bookmark-sized card with a bounce back coupon to insert in the Yellow Pages under the plumbing listing. Either insert it when stickering the cover of the Yellow Pages or offer it to the homeowner with the invoice. This is the last line of defense. If, despite all of your efforts to prevent it, the homeowner still opens the Yellow Pages, she'll encounter the discount card.

  8. Schedule service online: More and more consumers seek companies that allow service to be scheduled online. The reason? Consumers can schedule the service at their convenience, which may be 10:00 p.m. Some plumbers even offer discounts for scheduling online because this reduces demands on call takers and keeps customers out of the Yellow Pages!

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, www.ServiceRoundtable.com. For more information about the Service Roundtable or for a free copy of the Success Strategies audio CD, contact Liz Patrick toll free at 877/262-3341 or by e-mail at Liz@ServiceRoundtable.com. Contact Matt by e-mail at Matt.Michel@ServiceRoundtable.com, or on his mobile at 214/995-888. Follow him on Twitter @ComancheMktg, or read his blog at www.ComancheMarketing.com.