Monday, June 12, 2006

Can two thousand contractors all be wrong?

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Small Business Commando News
Can two thousand contractors all be wrong?
June 9, 2006
in this issue
-- Can two thousand contractors all be wrong?
-- Cool Local Online Marketing Tip
-- Answer to Last Redneck Riddle
-- Old family recipe
-- Papa's got a brand new bag
-- Just chalk and a sidewalk
-- Wow, that's really low!
-- Scientific Research
-- My kind of tax man
-- Feedback Hotline
-- This Week's Redneck Riddle
-- Quote of the Week

Some good photos this week. Don't miss 'em.

Can two thousand contractors all be wrong?
plumber Last Saturday, under the sweltering Los Angeles sun, an angry mob voiced their disgust with the Yellow Pages industry.

I was at the PHCC (Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling Contractors) show running a workshop on effective Yellow Pages advertising.

Now, I should probably tell you that my business is primarily ONLINE marketing, not PRINT Yellow Pages.

However, the convention organizers were not sure how much interest there would be in online marketing, so they asked if I would also run a workshop on print Yellow Pages.
Representing the print Yellow Pages industry at a plumbers' convention is like being a George Bush pinata at a Muslim birthday party.
It was not exactly a love-fest in the city of angels.

Throughout the day, I heard swarms of contractors recanting their distrust of print Yellow Pages publishers and cheering the growth of online advertising as a viable alternative.

I realized that the issue the contractors had was not with the Yellow Pages product itself, but with the business practices of the publishers.

One Big Scary Dude couldn't pass the opportunity to unleash on a real live representative of the evil Yellow Pages industry (me).

Big Scary Dude's shaved head glistened with sweat. Tattoos crept from under his company-issued uniform t-shirt, and his massive Popeye forearms sported an impressive array of scars that I imagine were mementos from his undergraduate studies at the University of Leavenworth.

As Big Scary Dude began his ranting, I was glad I was wearing dark slacks, if you catch my drift.

Despite his menacing appearance, Big Scary Dude became quite outgoing and friendly after he finished his tirade. He simply wanted someone to listen to his unpleasant Yellow Pages experience.

Out of professional courtesy, I won't identify the publisher earning Big Scary Dude's wrath. I'll only say that their name rhymes with A Tree and Tree. (But it really could have been any publisher with similar sales practices.)

Big Scary Dude felt that he had been sold a load of dog doo.

(It took some serious editing to make that last line family-friendly).

He felt bamboozled, railroaded and bum rushed into buying a substantial ad program.
"It's (expletive deleted) ink on paper, not rocket surgery." Big Scary Dude said.

"Why can't I get a (expletive deleted) price list that makes any (expletive deleted) sense?"

"What kind of (expletive deleted) company charges more if you want smaller ads?

How can a billion dollar company not know when a phreaking phone book will come out?"
Within a month of the directory's release, Big Scary Dude realized that the ad was a total bust financially. (In all fairness, this might not have been the publisher's fault.)

BSD took his lumps and vowed that it would be his first and last foray in phone book advertising.

The following year's edition of the directory was delayed, and the publisher billed Big Scary Dude for several additional months. He continued receiving bills, but scarcely any customer calls. He was furious, and was told that he would be sued if he didn't pay because it was on the contract he signed.

After getting that off his chest and onto mine, our conversation turned to Internet advertising.

Big Scary Dude lit up with excitement. He raved about the leads he was getting from CraigsList and ads in several local online directories.

I learned that Big Scary Dude had taught himself basic website design. He optimized his site for an array of plumbing and HVAC related terms. He was running pay-per-click campaigns on Google and Yahoo. He had even tested a pay-per-call campaign.

I was in the presence of a master local online marketer.

I told Big Scary Dude about the launch of our online marketing program, and he made me promise that he would be in the first group of advertisers.

Big Scary Dude's disenchantment with traditional print Yellow Pages was echoed by scores of other contractors. Only a few were seriously marketing on the Internet, but you can be sure that those numbers will grow.

If the print Yellow Pages industry expects to survive the online revolution, it will have to rethink its approach toward local advertisers and develop programs to deliver quality leads at a fair and sustainable price.

That's my opinion.

I'd love to hear your comments. Call my feedback hotline and leave me a message.


Cool Local Online Marketing Tip

If want your website to generate calls for your business . . .

Put your telephone number (with area code) in large numbers above the fold. It's even better to put a photo of an operator to reinforce that someone will answer the phone.

"Above the fold" is a newspaper term that means being visible without having to scroll down the page.

Make it easy for someone to call you, and you'll get more calls.

Web designers often mistakenly put the phone number on the bottom of the page or on a "contact us" page.

Put it on every page near the top.

For more great tips on getting pre-qualified customers from the Internet, send an email to

Your email will only be used for local online marketing tips and will never be shared or used for any other purpose.

Answer to Last Redneck Riddle
Redneck Riddles
Buford rode with Festus and Skeeter to Daytona Beach for biker week.

Festus brought 5 Slim-Jims (spicy sausage snacks) and Skeeter brought 3 Slim-Jims.

A few hours into the drive, the boys got hungry and decided to equally share 8 Slim-Jims.

Buford didn’t bring any food, but agreed to pay $8 for his share in the feast.

How should Festus and Skeeter fairly divide the $8?

The winner receives 15 minutes of uninterrupted fame and an autographed copy of my latest CD "Commando Secrets LIVE - How to Market Your Local Business Online."

Didn't win? You can still get the CD here.

See the answer and the Redneck Riddles celebrity winner

Old family recipe
10 commandments

Uh, let me guess . . .

bubbles and water?

Papa's got a brand new bag

I don't know what this bag is advertising, but I dang near wrecked my car trying to figure it out.

Just chalk and a sidewalk

This is just about the coolest piece of sidewalk art that I've seen.

Wow, that's really low!

Perhaps the greatest business slogan of all time.

Scientific Research

I find it really amusing that the Yellow Pages industry touted syndicated research as a valuable tool, and then left it up to the individual publishers to "spin" the results as necessary in self-serving press releases.

Am I the only one scratching my head over this practice?

My kind of tax man

I love my tax dude.

Hope he gets paroled before next April.

Feedback Hotline

What do you really think? Call my feedback hotline and leave a message.


This Week's Redneck Riddle
Redneck Riddles Logo Buford went to the bait shop and purchased four night crawlers and three crickets for a grand total of 90¢.

Festus purchased three night crawlers and four crickets and paid 85¢.

The bait was priced by the piece rather than by weight.

How much is one night crawler and one cricket?

Email your answer to

Every correct answer will receive a gift account allowing them to send five personalized greeting cards (including envelope and first class postage) compliments of

One lucky winner will receive 15 minutes of uninterrupted fame and an autographed copy of my latest CD "Commando Secrets LIVE - How to Market Your Local Business Online."

Stumped? You can get the CD here.

To improve your random chances of winning, please include your name, company name, and mailing address.

I draw the winner the day before I send the following newsletter, so keep voting until the polls close.

Quote of the Week
Albert Einstein Quotes:

"Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them."

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school."

"Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts."

"God does not play dice."

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

Got a good quote? Send it my way, and I'll give you 15 minutes of uninterrupted fame.

Contact Information
phone: (760) 579-1005

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