Phone book listings: How can people find your chapter?By Reed Sampson, SOCIETY PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER
List your chapter under the "Clubs" heading in the yellow pages. The listing should read something like: Barbershop Harmony Society, (chapter name). The number should be one that will be answered at any hour of the day or evening. If you have extra money, another listing under "Entertainment" might be in order.
If your chapter secretary is retired, for instance, and is home most of the time, or if his wife is usually home, or if someone else knowledgeable about your chapter is, then his phone number would be ideal. Or, if someone in your chapter has his own business and doesn't mind answering calls about barbershop, that might be a good bet.
If there is no one who can, or is willing to, take these calls, then the next best thing is an answering machine. Callers can then leave a number at which they can be called back. Many chapters have an answering machine.
Other options:* Get a low-cost wireless service phone that includes voice mail, and you'll have an instantly transportable chapter phone - need someone else to cover it? Give him the phone.
* Investigate using a forwarding service (including freebies from Web portals such as Yahoo).
In some metropolitan areas, a designated individual has a "hotline" answering machine that takes messages for a number of nearby chapters. Some include Sweet Adelines or Harmony, Inc. chapters. The machine may include taped messages that list shows that are upcoming in the area, and provide the caller with an opportunity to leave a message. The cost is shared by all participating chapters.
It's a good idea to have a white pages listing, as well. This, too, should be under "Barbershop Harmony Society (chapter name)."
A regular listing in the local newspaper is worthwhile, too. This should run weekly on the day that your chapter meets. It should include time, place and phone number.
If anyone has further ideas or experiences regarding telephone directory listings that they would like to share with other chapters, please call Reed Sampson at the headquarters office, 800-876-7464 x8592.
Phone lines cost money, but might be cheaper than you think. Check with your phone company to see if you can get metered service on a business line. This is normally the least expensive, because you are charged a lower base rate plus a per-call rate for the calls you actually make. The trick is to hook up an answering machine to catch inquiries, but return the calls on your own home (residential) line, thus keeping the business line charges to a minimum.
White pages listing:Most phone companies will not give you a residential rate for any phone listed with a "non-human" name, but you might see if you can negotiate a second listing for a residential customer.
"Barbershop Harmony" is probably your best bet for the white pages listing, although you check the phone book publisher's policy regarding "see also" pointers. Here in Kenosha, we're listed as "Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc.," but also have "Harmony Hall" listed with "see also Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America." Obviously, if they don't charge for that kind of cross-reference, you'll get more bang for the buck.
(By the way, the sheer length of our name is an advantage here: it takes up more than three lines in the column, which really makes it stand out. It's like getting a free display ad in the white pages. Yet, because it's our legally registered business name, we are not charged extra for it. Great deal!)
Yellow pages listing:The "main" yellow pages, published by your area's Baby Bell, is your best bet. This is generally the one that has the widest distribution. All residences, businesses, hotels, and phone booths in your city and its suburbs receive this one. Other independent publishers (Donnelley et al.) have attractive deals, but generally not the same distribution.
Your yellow pages ad placement depends on your goal. If the object is getting bookings, then it belongs under "Entertainment," "Music" and the like. If the goal is membership, then "Clubs," "Fraternal Organizations," or even "Music Instruction" seems more appropriate. Talk with your ad rep about deals on multiple listings. In Milwaukee, for example, the chapter was given a second listing free when they chose bold face for the first listing. Total cost was $19/month, or $228/year.
What number?Many phone companies will let you choose your own number if it is available. Some charge for this, others will be accommodating. Have several letter/number combinations worked out in advance, and then find out which exchanges your line would have to be on. You might be able to splice together a memorable phone number. Try fun combinations such as: SING (7464), SINGOUT (746-4688), SINGERS (746-4377, 4TET (4838), QTET (7838), HARMONY (427-6669), BRBRSHP (272-2247), PERFORM.