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Yellow Pages Commando News by Dick Larkin
Yellow Pages for Crack Plumbers (and vice versa)

February 7, 2005

-- Yellow Pages for Crack Plumbers (and vice versa)
-- One Ringy-Dingy
-- Answer to Last Week's Brainteaser
-- Don't Look Down
-- World's Coolest Nuns
-- Bus Ad with Bite
-- First Car
-- He's no Crazy Eddie
-- Hubba, hubba
-- Whew! That was a close call.
-- This Week's Brainteaser
-- Quote of the Week

20% more photos this week.

Know someone who would like to receive this newsletter? Drop me a note, and I'll send it to them.

Yellow Pages for Crack Plumbers (and vice versa)
A plumber in Los Angeles called me and asked for my crackerjack advice on developing a successful Yellow Pages program for him. He said that he has mortgaged his home in the past to purchase Yellow Pages advertising, and he's reluctant to do it again.

For inspiration, I looked through half a dozen telephone directories that were loaded with plumbing contractor ads. Man did I find inspiration.

Here's what I noticed . . .

Not a single plumbing ad was designed to appeal to women.

These ads looked like they had been designed to appeal to, well for lack of a better word, plumbers.

The ads were were all macho and manly with big burly men holding pipe-wrenches standing next to their trucks. The pages were dripping with testosterone.


According to extensive Yellow Pages Association research, nearly all of the non-male shoppers referencing "plumbing contractors" are women. Additionally, 91% of people referencing this heading make a purchase. (See the link at the bottom of this article for the report).

Not in my House

In my house, I make all of the big decisions, and my wife makes all of the little decisions. This is a very successful arrangement for any couple seeking harmony. In fact, we've been married 12 years, and luckily we haven't encountered any big decisions.

What Women Want

Most women prefer plumbing to remain invisible. They want to use their sink, drain it, and end up with a clean sink when finished.

A dirty, plugged sink gives them an overwhelming desire for . . . you guessed it, a clean sink. They are not looking for for a pipe-wrench swinging Cro-Magnon with an impressive fleet of trucks.

Given a choice, they'll be drawn to a company promoting clean sinks, because that's what they're after.

Also, as crazy as it sounds, women form emotional bonds with companies who deliver cleanliness. Go figure.

Here are a few tips to make your plumbing contractor's display ad more appealing to female shoppers.

  1. 1/3 of the ad should be a "feel good" photograph evoking cleanliness, comfort, safety, family, happiness, and so on. For example, a baby in a bath covered with soap suds, a little boy shaving with a toy razor, a woman relaxing in a bath tub with a glass of wine surrounded by candles.

    It's critical that you use a photograph and not a line art drawing. Nobody believes that line art is real.

  2. The ad could list a "Woman's Bill of Rights" when it comes to having plumbing work done. For example,

    • The right to guaranteed on-time service.

    • The right to a completely cleaned work area after the project is complete.

    • The right to a written estimate before any cost is incurred.

    You get the picture.

  3. The ad could offer a free report titled "10 Questions You MUST ASK Before Hiring Any Plumber." The person answering the phone should be a good fact-finder and try to set an appointment for a plumber to drop the report by the house if there's an immediate need.

  4. The headline should focus on what a homemaker might want from the plumbing firm.

    • "The Cleanest Plumber on the Planet"

    • "Don't call ANY plumber . . . until you read this"

    • "You Deserve a Better Plumber"

    • "Your Plumber for Life"

And guess what. Everything that you do that works in the print Yellow pages will be just as effective online.

This would be a poor example of marketing to women.

Here is a report with some Yellow Pages information regarding Plumbing Contractors.

One Ringy-Dingy

Can you believe that there was a time when consumers needed to be trained on how to use a dial telephone?

AT&T introduced touch-tone telephones in 1963. Only a handful of Americans under the age of 25 have ever actually placed a call on a dial telephone.


The rise of the importance of social networking and local marketing was the hottest topic at the last Kelsey conference.

Recently I sat down with Stu MacFarlane and Andrew Shotland of (an idealab company).

They have made tremendous progress incorporating the concept of personal recommendations into their Internet Yellow Pages. Yahoo,, PremierGuide, Judy's Book and a few others are pushing user reviews as well.

Give a whirl.

Answer to Last Week's Brainteaser

Buford and Festus attended the Annual Hedgehog Toss at the county fair.

This popular event had six men competing.

Each man had six buckets.
Each bucket held six mama hedgehogs.
Each mama hedgehog had six baby hedgehogs (otherwise known as hedgehoglets).

How many legs are there in the competition?

This puzzler was a little more challenging than at first glance.

See the Answer & Our Celebrity Winners

Don't Look Down

These guys are real life SpiderMen. I think they're working on an antenna on the top of a skyscraper. Anybody know what city this is?


There's a new blog on local media by the analysts at the Kelsey Group It's a great way to keep up with the rapid developments in this space.

Kelsey's Local Media Blog

World's Coolest Nuns

These nuns have a great sense of humor . . . and a wicked set of barstools.


Ken Clark publishes a bi-monthly newsletter on the Yellow Pages industry that is always loaded with good information.

Bus Ad with Bite

Now this is what you call making the most of a medium.


Yahoo! Yellow Pages introduced a new feature that's really cool. You can send a business listing to your cell phone.

It makes it quick and easy to take the address and phone number with you.

More thoughts on Yahoo's new feature

First Car

Looks like somebody just got their first car.


So, anybody want to start a pool on when SBC announces that they've retained a strategic advisor to provide guidance on maximizing value from their directory business?

SBC Directories on the Block?

He's no Crazy Eddie

Yes he is, but he makes a great cup of coffee.


If you want to know what's really going on in the Yellow Pages world, check out the YPcommando blog.

The Yellow Pages Commando Blog

Hubba, hubba

Yo, check out those cats.


A Jan. 26 USA TODAY Snapshot cites a Harris Interactive survey that says 33% of those surveyed say the Web is no substitute for "Using the Phone Book."

Especially if you have small children sitting at your table.

Whew! That was a close call.

Just the thought that this sign is necessary makes me feel icky.


Interactive Voice Response Yellow Pages?

It's pretty cool, and live in Canada.

Here's the number to try it out.

This Week's Brainteaser

What word actually becomes longer when a letter is removed?

Email your answer to

The winner will receive 15 minutes of uninterrupted fame.

I'll also select one winner to receive "The Courage to Succeed" by three time Olympian, Ruben Gonzalez.

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

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

More about Ruben Gonzalez

Quote of the Week
"A man's true wealth is the good he does in the world."

- Mohammed

My favorite Yellow Pages advertising tip.

Contact Information

voice: 858-614-5425

I've been bragging about Kerry Randall's book on Yellow Pages Advertising for Lawyers as being simply the best book I've read for Yellow Pages advertisers. The problem was that it was targeted toward lawyers and didn't address other business types.

Wisely, Kerry updated the wonderful tips and marketing plans for any business that advertises in the Yellow Pages.

He sent me a copy for review, and I liked it so much that I bought the exclusive rights to market the electronic version.

His book is loaded with very specific examples and exercises that are easy to follow. I can honestly say that every advertiser (even a guy with a little in-column ad) will benefit by reading this book.

I've seen, and even promoted other very good YP books that sell for $50 - $150, but nothing cuts to the chase like Winning the Yellow Pages War. Kerry focuses on the critical issues that will have the biggest impact. He uses solid examples and shows ads created using his techniques.

I'm selling copies of Winning the Yellow Pages War for only $25.00. That price is far too little for the value the book contains.

However, my mission as the Yellow Pages Commando has always been to help more people be successful with their Yellow Pages advertising rather than to get rich off a few that can afford a higher price.
Make payments withPayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

I'll email the book to you as a PDF document that can be read and printed using the free Adobe Acrobat reader.

I offer a 100% money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with your investment. You have nothing to lose.

© 2005 Dick Larkin. All rights reserved.
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