Dental Advertising in Yellow Pages Is Dwindling

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Some dentists would not hire a male dental hygienistIt looks like dentists are pulling out of the phone book! In this survey, one-third of those with ads said they were dropping them, and another third said they were reducing their yellow pages marketing.

“What a waste!” said one dentist. “At one point I spent approximately $24,000 in one year in yellow pages advertising and got $3,000 in revenue. How’s that for ROI? It’s all on the net now.”

Of the dentists in our survey who do advertise in the yellow pages (and 7% of respondents said they never have)…

  • 5% are increasing ad size or listings
  • 27% have made no change
  • 36% are reducing ad size or listings
  • 32% are dropping yellow pages marketing completely

The future is online

  • “I added a dental website and online yellow pages ad with phone book ad.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “Moved some of the budget to online YP.” (Canada dentist)
  • “My ads direct readers to my dental practice websites.” (Texas dentist)
  • “I will drop it altogether next year. It’s an internet world!” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Thinking about dropping due to the fact that everyone goes to the web instead of the yellow pages these days.” (New York dentist)

The ROI is negative

  • “What a waste! I used to have a full page…then half….then they tried to sell me color. At one point I spent approximately $24,000 in one year in YP advertising and got $3,000 in revenue. How’s that for ROI??? It’s all on the net now.”
  • “The ROI is too low. Ineffective marketing due to the number of competing yellow page type books and other marketing media.” (General dentist)

The ROI is positive

  • “Great ROI for our area!!!” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “I told my rep the ROI wasn’t there and I wanted to drop my display ad and just do some in-columns. He came back in a week and offered me the same advertising as last year at a cost of 20% less.” (California dentist)

Internal marketing is where the money is

  • “It attracts less desirable patients. Since dropping phone book ads, my drug-seeking patients are almost nonexistent. I rely on internal marketing almost exclusively.” (Utah dentist)
  • “It is not very effective. Most of our patients are referred by dentists.” (Orthodontist)

Dental websites and satisfied patients are better

  • “The cost of advertising in the plethora of Yellow Pages telephone books is increasing and year after year fewer people are using them. We track our new patients and how they found out about our office. Most are finding us through word-of-mouth from current patients and our website which costs us much less than any display ad in the Yellow Pages!” (Ohio prosthodontist)

Overdosing on options

  • “There are too many yellow books to list in everyone.” (California periodontist)
  • “Yellow pages is rapidly becoming a dinosaur in marketing – soon becoming irrelevant. Also, more books dilute the effective marketing of any one book.”

Who uses the phone book these days?

  • “Outdated, poor quality referrals, emergency cases, for people with no computer. Patients can go to my website a lot quicker than thumbing through the phone book. If I’m dropping YP print adverts, I’ll certainly be looking to increase my YP web presence.”
  • “The internet has completely changed marketing. Just look at how small the classified ads are in your local paper. People rarely use newspaper or yellow pages for advertising anymore.”
  • “I would look for plumber in the YP.” (New York dentist)

Bail out now

  • “Everyone should drop this.” (California orthodontist)
  • “A waste of money.” (California dentist)

Let’s talk numbers

  • “1 New Patient from the YP this year. 10 per month from Internet Dental Alliance site!” (Canada dentist)
  • “I’ve used special tracking phone numbers thru both Verizon and Yellow Book. I get about 5 responses per month from Verizon and about 30 per month from Yellow Book. My Verizon ad is much larger and in color. I am in the process of cutting my Verizon ad way down in size because it isn’t working. Also, I cut out my SuperPages ad with Verizon out entirely; that did not work at all.” (Maryland dentist)

It’s not the future

  • “It does not work as well as in the past.” (California dentist)
  • “It doesn’t work at all. The only reason I keep a small listing is to have some presence in the book. In ten years, they won’t even print a book. Everything is the internet now.” (Florida dentist)

It’s a lot of money

  • “Unless you put in a large ad, it doesn’t work.” (California dentist)
  • “Too expensive for a solo practice.” (Virginia dentist)

Let’s talk specifics

  • “Older people might access the yellow pages phone book for a dentist in the area… But why pay the cost when you can advertise in the online yellow pages for free? Your listing can link directly to your dental practice website. The Yellow Pages online or City Search or Superpages are great ways to list your practice and also promote your website for free!” (California dental marketing consultant)
  • “Our yellow page ad is very productive. It  has always done well for us because we offer something FREE.” (General dentist)

Part of an overall program

  • “The Yellow Pages is one part of my comprehensive external marketing program. With all of the pieces working together, we have maintained a very busy schedule.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “It is part of our overall marketing program.” (California dentist)

Unanswered questions

  • “Does it really work??” (Iowa dentist)
  • “Is it still viable?? Because it sure is expensive.”


Note: Survey sample included 120 respondents.

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