One of the clients I work with has only had a website for a couple of years now. When we first set his website up, he was just about to place ads in all the local phone books. Knowing this, the first thing we did was get him a domain, so he could go ahead and put it in the ads. Of course, the site was done in plenty of time for the actual release of the phone books.
Over time, this particular client has shifted more and more of his advertising towards his website. He used to put coupons in the phone book ad, and it definitely cost him. Now, for a fraction of the price, he puts his coupons online. And the great part is, he can change them at any time.
As I understand it, at least one of the phone books he advertises in charges extra for letting him put the website's address in. Still, it saves him money because he doesn't include the coupons anymore.
Not only that, but the website is, of course, much more flexible. Any ad you place is then out there forever. I would encourage you not to use specific prices in your advertising. Instead, direct potential customers to your website, where they can get up-to-date pricing information.
Of course, you can fit much more information on your website than you ever can in a phone book ad, or just any print ad. On the web, you're not limited by physical space. You can include enough information about yourself and your organization that people feel like they already know you by the time they contact you.
Naturally, you have to balance all this with a good-sized, eye catching phone book ad. Let's face it, people will still be using the phone book. You just need to get those people to your website.
So when it's time to place another ad in the phone book, take a small chance. Still make the ad eye catching, but direct people to your website for all the details. Then make sure you find out how new customers found out about you. If they say the phone book, ask them if they visited your website. Chances are, they did. If no one did, then go back to advertising the traditional way.
Tim is the owner and senior web designer at T&S Web Design . His company has developed and maintained website for dozens of small businesses and organizations. Tim also maintains a blog with free website advice for small business owners, GetASiteOnline.com .