Why Yellow Pages Ads Don’t Work Anymore?

Bold claim? It’s true.

Many homeowners and contractors no longer flip through hundreds of “yellow pages” to find a reliable HVAC service provider. 

Instead, they (along with 5.3 billion internet users) turn to search engines and online directories to find and hire local businesses. 

And even though Yellow Pages is now online as yp.com, we can count at least three platforms that get millions more monthly visits than the site’s 36,400.

Yelp gets 123,600,000, for example, and Nextdoor gets 161,800,000. Ads on these sites and Google are far better alternatives to Yellow Pages ads.

You get more eyes on your ads — those who are ready to hire your services. 

Ads Views On Platforms

We’re not saying Yellow Pages hasn’t generated leads in the past — it certainly has. However, as market trends evolve, the platform has fallen way behind. 

But declined visits isn’t the only reason why you should skip Yellow Pages Ads. 

Why Yellow Pages Ads don’t work anymore

1. Yellow Pages Ads have high fees

Yellow Pages used to have a monopoly over local advertising. 

Because of this, they could charge rates as high as they wished for a single ad. 

For example, a business owner paid ~$90,000/year for full-page ads in multiple phone books and an extra $40/location/month to correct errors in their listings.

Yellow Pages Ads Have High Fees

That’s a lot of money to invest in one channel whether you’re new or a few years into running your own HVAC company. 

2. Yellow Pages Ads don’t generate impressive ROI for your business

Even with Yellow Pages going online and Thryv acquiring it in 2017, the service is still very expensive for the ROI it generates. 

Those who have used Thryv (or other platforms) to run Yellow Pages Ads say the channel isn’t worth investing in. 

More “younger” potential customers opt for the convenience of 

  • “Googling” businesses in their area 
  • Choosing one based on their services’ scope, reviews, and ratings 
  • Contacting them right away

The likelihood of changing their habits (getting them to quit googling and start using yp.com for the same purpose) is zero.

Spending thousands of dollars every year on Yellow Pages ads isn’t ideal. 

Especially when you compare the ROI to running Google Ads and investing in SEO, which is $8 for every $1 spent

Thryv also charges small businesses around $300/month for its all-in-one service, which includes Yellow Pages listings and ads. And people say they’ve gotten no service or terrible service from them.

Reddit Yellow Pages Post

3. Yellow Pages Ads make it hard for you to connect directly with customers 

Yellow Pages Ads, whether in print or online, have limited space for information. 

You can only add basic details such as business name, contact number, and company address. 

However, prospects cannot directly ask questions or express concerns. 

And existing customers can’t leave reviews and ratings like Google, Yelp, and Facebook.

No Reviews On Yellow Pages

The one-way communication makes it hard for your business to build trust with potential customers and strengthen your relationship with existing ones. 

The best way to advertise your HVAC business is to invest in local SEO or local ads and use customer reviews to win the trust of local prospects. 

Here are five Yellow Pages alternatives to add to your HVAC marketing stack.

5 Yellow Pages Alternatives that generate HVAC leads 

1. Use Google Local Service Ads to connect with local customers

Google Local Services Ads lets local customers contact you directly through phone calls and message requests, unlike Yellow Pages Ads. 

They usually appear above Google search ads and organic listings like this:

Google Search Ads Listings

Each listing displays the relevant information such as your:

  • Company name
  • Ratings and a link to read reviews
  • Number of years in business
  • Operating hours
  • Phone number

These details give prospects an idea of your business expertise and credibility. 

Google Local Services Ads receive up to 14% of all SERP clicks

This means when your ad appears for relevant local searches, you increase your chances of attracting qualified leads to your business. 

The best part? 

You only incur charges when someone contacts your business through the ad, making it a cost-effective strategy.

How to generate leads through Google Local Services Ads

1. Set up your Local Services account

If you haven’t already, sign up for your Local Services account.

Click the “Get Started” button to create an account.

Google Local Services Ads Get Started

If you need help getting set up, click the phone number displayed at the bottom right of the screen to have an expert walk you through the process.

2 Check your eligibility status

Clicking on the “Get Started” button leads to a page to confirm your eligibility

To check, select your country and state, then type your Zip Code. 

Click on the “Job category” dropdown and select the category that best describes your home service business. Then click on “Check eligibility.” 

Google Local Services Welcome Page

3. Create your profile

To do this, fill in your business details the way you want them to appear in the ads listing. 

Google Local Services Business Details

Make sure these details align with every other mention of your business to avoid any confusion. 

Some fields say “optional,” but you should fill them in if you have the details. The more info you provide, the higher the chances of Google approving your profile. 

Next, type and select all the service areas you cover.

Google Local Services Service Area

Next, select the services you offer from the list so Google can show your ads to people who search for those services. 

Google Local Services Offer

Check the box below to confirm you have all the necessary licenses for completing a job based on Google’s requirements.

Then add your business hours to show prospects when you’re available.

Google Local Business Hours

4. See what your ad will look like

After signing up, you’ll see a preview of how your ad will be displayed. 

Google Local Preview Ad

The Google Guaranteed badge at the top of your ad tells prospects that Google has vetted and verified your business. 

This trust badge gives prospects a reason to click to learn more about your business and contact you. 

Plus Google will likely reimburse any dissatisfied customers on your behalf (up to $2000 for U.S. businesses at zero cost to you).

But you only get the badge after you pass Google’s verification process. 

5. Verify your business details

After previewing your ad, click “Next” to start the business verification process. 

The process requires you to provide a list of details such as:

  • HVAC Pro license
  • Proof of insurance
  • Business owner and employee details for background checks
  • Reviews from real customers
  • Ad budget
  • Billing information

Pro Tip: If you have a complete Google My Business profile, Google will pull reviews and ratings from there. So ensure your profile is up-to-date. 

Also, ask customers to rate and leave reviews after completing a job. 

Google uses these ratings and reviews to compare your business’ trustworthiness with others and rank it on the search results page. 

6. Wait to get approved

Once setup is complete, you now have to wait for Google to review and approve your profile. 

The process usually takes anywhere from a few days to weeks. 

Check Google’s requirements for your home service category to see how you measure up. 

Click on “home services,” then review its screening and verification requirements.

Google Business Categories

Once approved, check the “Live Accounts” section within your dashboard to see your account.

To start running ads, click on “Account name > Edit Profile.” Then toggle the “Your ad is paused” switch button. 

Pro Tip: 

Google only displays three Local Service Ads on desktop and two on mobile. 

To increase your chances of getting in the top two to three spots, 

  • Set your bid mode to “Maximize Leads” to let Google set a bid on your behalf to get the most leads for your budget and avoid overspending.
  • Monitor your budget and find a range you’re comfortable with paying for leads (based on your previous ads’ performance). This way, you can identify which keywords and copy provide the best ROI.
  • Ask customers to rate and leave reviews after a successful job completion. Google uses positive reviews and ratings to rank local businesses higher. And prospects use them to decide if you’re the right fit for their needs.
  • Ensure your ad copy and landing page closely aligns with what users are searching for. This increases your quality score and your ad’s performance. 

2. Invest in Google Ads for targeted PPC campaigns

Google Ads Graphic

Google Search Ads appear at the top of the results page, just below the Local Service Ads. 

Unlike Local Service ads, you pay every time a prospect clicks on your ads. 

While this option seems pricey, it’s an effective strategy for immediate visibility.

For example, 65% of people who search using (high-intent) queries, such as “urgent AC repair,” click on a PPC ad.

But you could lose hundreds or thousands of dollars if you don’t know how to optimize your account and ads. 

How to generate leads through Google Search Ads 

Set up a Google Ads account to create and launch your first campaign if you don’t have one already. 

If you already have an account or run an ad that performed poorly, follow these tips to get more ROI from your advertising efforts. 

1. Target high-intent HVAC keywords

These search terms imply a searcher is actively looking for HVAC solutions. 

High-intent keywords fall into five primary categories:

Keyword CategorySearch Intent Examples of terms they use
Emergency servicesThe searcher needs immediate assistanceEmergency HVAC repair24/7 heater service
Specific servicesThe searcher needs specialized expertise in a particular HVAC areaHVAC installation servicesDuctless HVAC solutionsAir duct cleaning services
Affordable optionsThe searcher is looking for cost-effective solutionsAffordable heater repair Cheap AC installation
ReputationThe prospect is looking for high-quality servicesTop-rated HVAC companyTrusted HVAC contractor
Near MeThe searcher needs HVAC services in their local areaHVAC services near meLocal AC repairHVAC services [city]

Think about terms your potential customers will likely use to search for an HVAC company. 

What kind of services would they be looking for and what search terms would they use to find those services?

To find these keywords, use Google Keyword Planner

In the Keyword Planner, select the option to “Discover new keywords” or “Get search volume and forecasts.”

Enter general terms related to HVAC services; you can enter multiple keywords at once.

The tool will provide a list of keyword ideas, along with data on average monthly search volume and competition.

Google Keyword Planner

Pro Tip: Include city names or regional identifiers in your keyword strategy to capture users searching for HVAC services in specific areas.
For example, instead of using “24/7 heater repair,” add your location. It’s something like “24/7 heater repair in [location].”

2. Define your campaign budget

Assess your overall marketing budget and financial capacity. 

Then determine how much you can comfortably allocate to advertising without straining your resources.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner give you an estimated cost of your target keywords.

The “Top of page bid”(low and high range) values can give you an idea of the estimated cost-per-click (CPC) for each keyword.

Google Keyword Planner Estimated Cost Per Click

3. Structure your campaigns based on service categories

This method allows you to tailor your ads and keywords more precisely to user intent, making it easier to track performance.

Say your campaign is focused on “air conditioning services.” 

Create a minimum of two ad groups to ensure your ads are highly relevant to the user’s search intent. 

Use keywords your target audience will likely use to search.

This way, users are more likely to click on them, and search engines may reward you with a higher quality score.

For this example, our ad groups are ‘AC repair’ and ‘Air conditioning installation.’ 

Then generate long-tail keywords for each group:

  • AC repair keywords: AC repair services, Emergency air conditioner repair, and Fix my AC unit
  • Air conditioning installation keywords: AC installation, New air conditioner setup, and Professional AC installation

Pro tip: Use Ahrefs to find various keyword match types (broad match, phrase match, exact match). 
This ensures your ads are shown to the most relevant audience.

Also, create your list of negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing for irrelevant searches. And regularly review and update them. 

This will save your budget for more qualified leads.

4. Create HVAC ads that attract clicks

Once you have the keywords, create ad copies that include relevant keywords from your ad group and highlight your value proposition. 

For the AC repair ad group, your copy could look like this:

Headline: “Fast and Reliable AC Repair Services”

Description: “24/7 Emergency Air Conditioner Repair Services. Schedule a Quick Fix Today!”

HVAC Ad

This way, you can create ads that target the right audience and resonate with prospects looking for those specific services.

Other tips to keep in mind include:

  • Use phrases like “Call Now,” “Schedule Today,” or “Get a Free Estimate” to encourage people to take immediate action
  • Highlight why users should choose your services in your copy (is it 24/7 emergency services, certified technicians, or special discounts?)
  • Include ongoing promotions or special offers in your ad copy (optional)
  • Add location-specific info in your ad copy, such as the areas you serve

5. Build landing pages that convert

Landing Page Graphic On Gray

When a user clicks on your ad, they land on a dedicated page.

To avoid losing thousands of dollars in ROI, ensure that the content of your landing page aligns seamlessly with the ad that users clicked on. 

The messaging, keywords, and offers should be consistent, creating a smooth transition from the ad to the landing page.

Place a prominent and compelling CTA on the landing page. 

Whether it’s to schedule a service, request a quote, or contact your HVAC experts, make sure the CTA is visible and encourages immediate action.

Display your contact information prominently, including phone numbers, email addresses, and a contact form. 

This allows users to easily reach out for inquiries or appointments.

Also, 

  • Ensure your ads are optimized for mobile devices, as many users search using their phones
  • Optimize your landing page for fast loading times. Users are more likely to bounce if a page takes too long to load.
  • Feature positive testimonials or reviews from satisfied customers
  • Display any relevant certifications, awards, or industry affiliations to reassure visitors that your HVAC services meet industry standards
  • Keep your forms simple and easy to fill out

Pro tip: Regularly review your ad’s performance. What worked last month might not work this month. 

Are certain keywords draining money without actually bringing more revenue? Is one ad outperforming another? 

Use these insights to optimize your PPC strategy.

Need help creating PPC campaigns that generate quote requests and bookings for business?

3. Run Facebook Ads to reach and engage with a targeted audience

More than 240 million people use Facebook in the United States. 

And many of these users are homeowners or contractors who are likely searching for HVAC services now (or will do so in the near future). 

But getting their attention doesn’t come easy. 

Sure, consistent organic posts can help your business become more visible, but the process takes time to see tangible results.

Pairing them with paid ads increases your business’

That’s because Facebook lets you directly target people in your service areas based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors. 

How do you run HVAC Facebook Ads that generate massive ROI for your business?

How to run Facebook Ads that generate HVAC leads

hvac Facebook Ad

1. Define your target audience

Identify your ideal customers based on demographics, location, interests, and behaviors. This will help you tailor your ads to a specific audience that is more likely to convert into HVAC leads.

2. Use video ads to grab prospects’ attention and connect with them

Videos have a proven track record of helping marketers 

Create engaging videos that showcase your HVAC services and address common problems or questions your target audience may have. 

To increase your video’s conversion potential,

  • Keep videos concise: Aim for 15-30 seconds to maintain viewer interest.
  • Showcase before-and-after scenarios or testimonials for credibility.
  • Clearly communicate the value and benefits of your HVAC services.

Pro tip: Consider using animated content to appear fun and less salesy
For example, Blind & Sons, an Ohio-based HVAC company, features a mascot and other whimsical characters to appear light-natured and less promotional.

https://web.facebook.com/blindandsons/videos/230896989878075/?ref=embed_video&t=0

Other Facebook advertising ideas to try include:

  • Use limited-time offers to inspire prospects to take action right away
  • Use CTAs that require low commitment such as a like or follow button to get more people to engage)
  • Incentivize service requests or bookings with discounts, especially during peak seasons

3. Use Facebook Audience targeting options

Facebook’s audience targeting options allow you to define your audience with a high level of precision. 

This helps you reach people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

Use this guide from Meta to learn how to find people most likely to respond to your ad.

Pro Tip: Choose a schedule that aligns with when your target audience is most active on Facebook. This ensures they see your ads in those times. 

4. List your business on Google My Business, if you haven’t already

List Your Business On Google

Your Google business profile tells the search engine what your business is about. 

As a result, when customers search for services like yours, your business will likely show up and rank higher on the results page (if it is well-optimized). 

Done well, the profile makes potential customers 70% more likely to visit your site and 50% more likely to request a quote or book an appointment. 

How to optimize your Google Business profile to show up in the search results

Make sure these critical details are accurate and consistent with other online listings:

  • Business name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Service categories 
  • Business hours and special hours (if applicable)

Any inconsistencies can hurt your organic rankings and confuse prospects. . 

3. Select your service categories to show your area of expertise

For example, Reupert Heating & Air Conditioning chose categories that tells prospects the kind of services they offer.

Primary Secondary Categories

Choose the primary category as “HVAC Contractor,” as this helps Google understand your business’ value proposition. 

For secondary categories, outline the complementary services you offer. This way, visitors can tell the specific solutions you provide.

Do these other things to optimize your Google Business profile:

  • Write a business description that highlights your value proposition
  • Always add high-quality photos and videos of your team, completed jobs, equipment, and gear
  • Share updates, special promotions, seasonal HVAC tips, and announcements to keep prospects and customers engaged
  • Keep your profile up-to-date. For example, if there’s a change in business hours, let it reflect on your profile as well as your website
  • Provide answers and support to questions and concerns customers have 
  • Turn on messaging so prospects can contact you directly 
  • Ask customers to leave reviews on your profile and respond to all, both positive and negative.

5. Use Yelp advertising to reach users looking for HVAC services

Millions of people use Yelp to actively search for local businesses and services. 

Although more people use Google than Yelp, those who do often have a high intent to hire a service. 

At least 83% of customers hire or buy from a business they found on Yelp, making it a valuable platform for advertising.

Hire Buy From A Business On Yelp

When you use Yelp Ads, your business page gets featured in key sections on both the Yelp website and app. 

This includes appearing above relevant search results in the “Sponsored Results” section and even on the pages of your competitors. 

The placement gives you more visibility and increases your chances of generating at least  2.5x more leads. 

How to use Yelp Ads to generate more leads for your business 

1. If you don’t already have one, create a business account on Yelp. 

Ensure that your business information, including contact details, services offered, and business hours, is complete and accurate. 

(Follow these instructions to set up your account) 

2. Claim your business page on Yelp if you haven’t done so already. 

This gives you control over the information presented on your profile. You can add, delete, or update your details at any time. 

3. Optimize your Yelp business profile 

To do this:

  • Write a description that shows your value proposition to prospects
  • Include high-quality images that showcase your team and work
  • Include your accurate address, phone number, business hours, and the range of services you offer
  • Mention any certifications you have to make your business stand out

Pro Tip: Add relevant keywords related to HVAC services in your business description. 
This helps your HVAC SEO efforts,  improving your profile’s visibility when users search for specific services in your area.

Other tips to keep in mind include:

  • Choose a goal for the advertising campaign (phone calls, website visitors, messages…)
  • A/B test various ad photos on Yelp and use the best-performing one
  • Highlight what makes your brand unique when writing a description
  • Choose the keywords that your ad will appear for and include negative keywords as well
  • Determine how far around your location you want ads to be served (say a 10 – 50 KM radius)
  • Choose a daily budget for your ads that’s within your budget

6. Use Nextdoor to reach users in specific neighborhoods

Nextdoor Stats

1 in 3 households use Nextdoor in the U.S.

Since a significant portion of U.S. households actively use Nextdoor, you can use this platform to target and engage with local residents.

With a positive reputation on the platform, satisfied customers will likely sing your praises to other people, who will, in turn, hire your services. 

That’s because people rely on the recommendations from those closest to them or strangers who can relate to their situation to make decisions. 

How to use Nextdoor to generate more leads

  1. Create a profile, then start actively participating in conversations. 

Provide helpful tips and answer questions related to HVAC to offer value and showcase your expertise. 

This helps to build credibility and keeps you at the top of your potential customer’s minds when they are ready to convert.

  1. Create special promotions or discounts 

For example, offer seasonal discounts to show prospects you care about making their lives easier and better. 

Also, promote these exclusive offers on your business page to incentivize residents to choose your HVAC services. 

  1. Run Targeted Ads

There are three types of ads you can run on Nextdoor: 

  • Awareness ads: to make homeowners in your area aware of your brand
  • Consideration ads: to get more users to engage with your content, visit your website, and make inquiries 
  • Conversion ads: to drive people to request a quote or schedule a service

Since your goal is to generate more leads, consider running consideration or conversion ads. 

Once you select the ad type, choose where you want your ad to appear. 

There are three places where your ad can appear:

  • The newsfeed
  • The local marketplace
  • The right side of the scrolling feed

Once you’ve selected where you want it to appear, add location and demographic targeting.

Nextdoor’s location targeting lets you target customers based on their states, cities/regions, DMA, and postal codes. 

Demographic targeting, on the other hand, uses gender, age, household income, homeownership, interests, and hobbies. 

If you have a documented customer persona, you can use the info to accurately define your customer’s demographics. But if you don’t, learn how to create one in our HVAC marketing guide.

Use these Yellow Pages alternatives to generate ROI for your business

Nextdoor and Google Ads

The ultimate goal of ads is to get HVAC leads that become customers. 

To achieve it, you need to be where your customers are, and Yellow Pages isn’t the place anymore. 

Compared to Google and other alternatives, the platform has seen a decline in visits over the years and lost its appeal due to its high pricing and low ROI. 

So you should invest your money elsewhere, not on Yellow Pages Ads. 

Use alternatives like Google Local Ads and Nextdoor to 

  • Attract customers who need to hire a service like yours
  • Connect with them directly
  • Schedule a service

If you need help creating or revising your HVAC advertising strategy to generate more leads for your business, it’s what we do. 

FAQs about Yellow Pages ads 

How effective is Yellow Pages advertising?

Yellow pages Ads are not as effective as they used to be in the past.

These days, millennials and Gen Zs, who make up a significant portion of homeowners, prefer “Googling” businesses rather than flipping through printed pages. 

As a result, many people have switched to other alternatives because of its expensive pricing and limited functionality. 

What are the disadvantages of Yellow Pages?

Some disadvantages of the Yellow Pages are:

– There is a steady decline in the total number of monthly organic visits 
– The platform has high fees
– They don’t generate impressive ROI for your business
– They make it hard for you to connect directly with customers

Which online advertising is best for home service businesses?

The online HVAC advertising platforms to consider are:

– Google Local Ads
– Google Paid Ads
– Facebook Ads
– Yelp Ads
– Nextdoor Ads

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