- Parent Category: Retail Tips
Whether or Not to Buy a Yellow Pages Ad
Tip #450 - To Yellow Page or Not To Yellow Page?
Dear Tip of the Weeker,
Buying display ads in the yellow pages is an expensive proposition. Sometimes VERY expensive.
So do you buy, or not?
Well, there’s no "one size fits all" answer. But here are some guidelines that might help.
If you have little direct competition in your local market area, don’t bother paying for the big ad. It’s simply not necessary. For example, I owned the only kite and toy store in my area. If people were looking for kites or toys, chances are they were looking for my number already. I didn’t have to persuade them to choose me by buying a fancy yellow pages ad.
If you have lots of direct competition a display ad might make sense. Your potential customer might be making a decision about who to call among all the possible choices based on the yellow pages ad.
If you feel you must spend the gazillion dollars for a display ad, at least make the ad GOOD and DIFFERENT.
Have you ever noticed how many of the yellow pages ads for a particular service look exactly the same?
Go check out the ads for ‘duct cleaning’ in your book. Go ahead. I’ll wait while you find your phone book and look it up.
I’d bet that 95% - 100% of the duct cleaning display ads in your phone book say almost exactly the same thing: the name of their company, what they do, a short list of their other services (like furnace cleaning,) the address, and phone number.
Not one stands out from another.
And I’d bet that in every one of those ads the name of the company is the first thing in the ad box and that it takes up a minimum of a quarter of the (VERY EXPENSIVE) ad space!
Here’s the problem. Your company name means nothing to someone who is trying to decide which duct cleaning company to call. It doesn’t make any difference whether your company name is AAA Furnace & Air Duct Cleaning or Johnson’s Duct Cleaning.
What you need to put at the top of your yellow pages ad is a strong benefit statement about why the person looking in the phone book should choose you over everyone else on the page.
In other words, a headline.
In my phone book, one duct cleaning company got it at least kind of right. They have a white background ad (looks clean, just like my ducts will) and on the top of the ad they wrote in big letters, “Breathe Easier With Us.”
The other reason this particular ad stands out from the rest is because it’s well designed and laid out. No offense to the graphics people at your phone book company, but most of the ads they produce look simply awful.
They sit there and churn out hundreds, probably thousands of these ads every month. No wonder one looks just like the next!
Remember, your mission is to stand out and give your potential customer a reason to choose you over everyone else on the page. So if you’re going to pay big money for a display ad, invest the little bit extra to get it designed by a good graphic designer. It will pay you back big time.
Do these two things – use a benefit statement instead of your company name as a headline, and use a good graphic designer – and you’ll be further ahead than 95% of the others in the book.
If you're like most retailers we talk to, you've got lots more questions about yellow pages ads. Big, medium or small? Full color, one color, or black and white? This category, that category, or both? Which book? Display ad or text?
It’s way more than we can cover in the Tips!
But we want you to get your ad right and get a great return on your yellow pages investment. That’s why we recommend Alan Saltz’s e-book:
Legal Theft: How To Use Yellow Pages Advertising To Ethically ‘Steal Business’ From Your Competition
Alan is an expert in yellow pages marketing and his e-book is GREAT. It covers everything you need to do and it points out what you should avoid in order to create a profitable yellow pages ad.
Alan does yellow pages just the way we’d do it. He even covers my pet peeve in advertising – putting the company logo at the top of the ad as a headline.
If you are doing yellow pages advertising, or are considering doing yellow pages advertising it will be worth every penny!
Wishing you great sales and lots of fun,