Yes, and we certainly recommend increasing your ad size to a double page spread to further increase your YP ad return on investment. Does that sound familiar?

Some business owners have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a local YP ad rep that pushed bigger is always better. A long-standing rule of thumb in phone book advertising is to look at your competition, then go one size bigger for your ad. Ipso facto, more local customers that found your business in the phone book!

Sometimes, and sometimes it’s a waste of time and money. How can you be sure?

You need to be sure, before you increase ad size or before you cancel the ad altogether. If you’ve tracked your YP ad performance since inception, this should be easy to determine.

First you need to design the ad content; text, copy, images, logos, calls to action…etc. This can be a significant investment, but one important to overall ad performance. It makes no sense to pay up to several thousand dollars a year to place a substandard ad. After you nail down the design, call to action, and benefit points, you then you need to buy the space in the particular phone book that is most popular in your area, and most often it makes sense to look at several books in your area. Some key things to think about are readership or circulation, and where your competition is represented within the particular publication.

This all sounds like a lot, and we know for sure that your local phone book ad rep can certainly help your business advertise in their book, from soup to nuts. They’ll design the ad, place it, give you online options, connect your website, and everything else involved with initiating a phone book ad for your small business – just ask them…

But that doesn’t answer the question of phone book advertising performance in the digital world. In our experience, having a phone book ad for your small business is a good thing – if only to confirm your important business information for the digital environments out there that are sure to become more popular in local searches for products and services. To be clear, this means maintaining at least a cursory listing of business name, address, and contact info (website, email, phone number) within one(or more) phone books in your local area.

Having this most basic phone book listing allows other internet-based search environments to confirm your actual place of business, contact info, and sometimes even products and services offered. In the digital world, these connections to your business info are citations – and the search engines love citations. Just like citing correct sources for your PhD dissertation research, your business citations give the search engines a place to confirm your business information. The more listings out there with correct, verified, and owner-controlled business information, the better for online small business visibility.

But guess what?

An offline phone book ad can be a great place for search engines and other online directories to confirm and connect with your local small business.

Here’s a list of 25 other online places to build your citations – in no particular order or rank. There are hundreds more, and we’re working on compiling a ranked list for you, check back soon and let us know if you have any suggestions:

  1. http://citysearch.com   
  2. http://cityvoter.com
  3. http://insiderpages.com
  4. http://localbiznow.com
  5. http://hotfrog.com
  6. http://merchantcircle.com
  7. http://angieslist.com
  8. http://yelp.com
  9. http://kudzu.com
  10. http://bbb.org
  11. http://superpages.com
  12. http://yellowpages.com
  13. http://local.yahoo.com
  14. http://dexknows.com
  15. http://judysbook.com
  16. http://showmelocal.com
  17. http://chamberofcommerce.com
  18. http://local.yodle.com
  19. http://switchboard.com
  20. http://magicyellow.com
  21. http://facebook.com
  22. http://twitter.com
  23. http://topix.com
  24. http://allpages.com
  25. http://manta.com

Just like with traditional search engine optimization, a slow and steady approach will serve you best when compiling citations for your small business. Don’t sit down with 196oz of coffee and expect to knock out 300 citation listings for your San Diego small business in one marathon session. Visit these sites and determine the relevance to your products, services, and location. Some will choose to list themselves everywhere and some will be more selective, and as rankings change we can begin to identify only the most advantageous connections by constantly monitoring the environment.

Besides that fact, some of these places cost money to list your business and some don’t. Then if you do list, be prepared for the sales calls that result from some of these sites. They’ll certainly invite you to spend a little bit of money for listing prominence, profile enhancement, connectivity, and overall return on investment – at least that’s the promise. Take your time, be selective, and learn more before you burn cash investing in something you don’t know how to maximize.

Also, be sure to check out this cool tool from our neighbors in the Great White North: http://www.whitespark.ca/local-citation-finder/#

And having a business listing with the large data aggregators like InfoUSA are good too – http://www.expressupdateusa.com/home.aspx