Yellow Page Advertising Advice From an Expert Consultant

I was a Directory Consultant for 25 years and spoke to thousands of businesses like yours. They all had one thing in common: the need to attract customers. Therefore, they considered placing an ad in the local Yellow Pages. They were mostly locally-owned, smaller businesses, that might have had one or a few locations. They were either service-oriented or sold goods, but they had limited budgets and had already realized that TV ads or newspapers were far too expensive. So we met and I described how the Yellow Pages worked. I would tell them the YP story as follows.

Because consumers go to the YP when they have a need, we are considered more of a directory or listing of businesses, arranged by categories such as a reference library. We make it easy to use and are delivered to the doorstep. Most other media are creative and simply place ads according to where they paid to be or totally randomly. So, if the water heater breaks, why would I turn on the television hoping to see a plumbing commercial? It makes no sense. So emergency service businesses are ideal for advertising in the YP, even before going to the Internet. Why? Because the Internet is global and on a screen. Trying writing down a quote on the monitor or seeing multiple ads at the same time. It’s far easier in a book.

In addition, small retail stores can still place an ad in the YP and mention a link to their Internet site where they have many pictures of their products. It all works together. Finally, you can target your market in the local YP without having to be everywhere. As I said, the Internet is global, so, if you place an ad there, what good is it reaching someone in China or across the country if they can’t get to your store? Okay, now I’ve outlined the benefits, what about you ad? How large should it be, how much should you spend and what should it say? Here are the basics.

Budget based on the ROI, or return on investment. So, if the ad costs $200 a month, how many jobs or sales would it take to pay for it after expenses? Say you are a florist and you make $10 per bunch of roses, 20 orders would bring you even for that ad. After that, it’s all profit for that month. It’s a simple rule of thumb but it works. Of course the ad’s pulling power depends on just two things: visibility and content. Therefore, it is the size/color and the information that will determine the amount of return on your investment. The only true way to figure out how the ad should look and where it should go is to look at the competition.

Once you have surveyed all the other ads in your heading, design an ad that will not be overlooked and has the information needed to make you stand out. Concentrate on your positive attributes, i.e., features and benefits of your products and services. Link to your website if needed, tell your story and give the reader a reason to act, by phone or visit. Keep it simple, direct, and logical. Chose an intriguing headline and add a photo, only if it helps your cause, Finally, if you need any more expert advice, consider my best-selling book, “Inside the Yellow Pages” on amazon. Good luck in your business.

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