"How To Create Yellow Page Ads
This chapter contains excellent
information about increasing the effectiveness of your yellow page
Using the information and strategies listed here could double the response to
your yellow page advertising, and we mean it. This is a big chapter, but
well worth the effort.
Yellow page advertising helps
consumers with awareness of choices, evaluation of choices, and the
selection of a buying location. When done right your yellow page ad gives consumers the information they need to
The Yellow Pages as
an Advertising Media
1. The yellow pages reach 76% of
American adults in the average month, 57% in the average week, and
17% daily. American adults refer to the yellow pages almost twice
per week, or approximately 19 billion times per year.
2. Eighty-eight percent
of these references result in contact with a purchase or an intent to
purchase. Eighty-eight percent.
3. Yellow page advertising closes the loop on the selling process.
The ads show
consumers where to buy the products or services that other marketing
activities have identified. Yellow page advertising also works
independently from other media
in creating awareness, allowing evaluation, and providing contact
the yellow pages are a reference medium [like classified ads in
newspapers], they provide a high percentage of new customers [over
of consumers either have no service provider in mind, or have
multiple names in mind when they reference your yellow page
consumers are still shopping when they turn to the yellow pages. For
many services and products, shopper rates increase above 80%.
The better your yellow page advertising, the more likely you will attract these
many categories the yellow pages are the primary marketing influence
on the consumer. Some of these categories include auto body repair
or painting, rental services, florists, attorneys, and contractors.
average business gets $6 in profit for every $1 invested in yellow
average national cost of a one-year, Ĺ page yellow page display ad is $17,100.
thousand, one hundred]. If you want to make your yellow page advertising
more effective, keep reading.
Go Slow With Your Yellow Page Advertising
No matter what kind of
business you are in, your yellow page publisher can tell you how many
people referenced your type of business last year.
Publishers can tell you what
customers were specifically shopping for, and whether or not they found
it. They have statistics on consumer satisfaction with the number and
the quality of advertisements for your category. They will show you how
ads influence purchases, what information is required, and more.
They can tell you about
category cross-referencing, business references versus at home
references, and on and on and on. Yellow page publishers know their
This kind of information can
be powerful, and you could use it to plan your yellow page advertising strategy. But go slow
here. Keep in mind that yellow page publishers collect all of this
information for a reason: They want to sell you an ad - or to sell you a
bigger ad - or to sell you multiple ads - or to sell you a color ad. You
get the idea.
It is a fact that on
average a bigger ad or a colored ad will get a higher response. But
response depends on several different factors. You may not need a bigger
ad at all. Or you may absolutely need it.
The yellow page advertising space you
buy should depend on your competition, your target audience, your type of
business, and your business goals. Other phone books and market coverage
should influence your ad. Your other marketing activities should influence your ad.
How repeat customers find you in the phone book is important. Many things other than what
the yellow page salesperson thinks are critically important.
For example, how many of your
repeat customers open the phone book every time to look you up? The
answer to this question should change how you use your yellow page
advertising. The yellow page salesperson is not qualified to help you
So donít rely on
the sales rep to direct your advertising budget. Know your customers,
your category, and what your competition is doing.
Know what you want to do before you ever talk to the yellow page
One more thing Ė donít use
the free graphic art services provided by the yellow page company. You
may not want to hire us, but you definitely want to hire an outside,
high quality design firm.
First, the yellow page company
uses the same photos and graphics over and over. Go ahead, open your
book and look. The absolutely last thing you want is to have your yellow
look like your competitor's yellow page advertising.
Second, the yellow page
graphic artists are required to output a lot of work in a short period
of time. Even the best artist cannot do a great ad in 30 minutes. You
honestly want an artist to spend the entire day working on your
advertisement, and you want to pay them for it.
Third. This is very important.
Graphic artists study art. They do not extensively study business, or copywriting,
or marketing, or business law. They do not know about your company, your
customers, your capabilities, or how you make money. If you really want
effective yellow page advertising, hire the best graphic artist and the best
advertising professional you can find. Do not leave it for a kid with a
Yellow Page Advertising Strategies
1. Which publisher's
phonebook contains the real residential white pages? That book will be
on the top of the phonebook pile in homes and businesses every time.
Thatís where you'll want to be. Think about it.
The first ad noticed is
the first ad called over 50% of the time. Make sure itís you. You must
have a strong visual presence to draw attention to your yellow page
advertising. Do it right
and you get more than half the phone calls.
3. Yellow page advertising placement is
hugely important, no matter what the publisher says. Purchase an ad that
wonít be printed on the inside fold, or placed alone away from your
heading, or that appears last in your section. If your quarter page ad
falls on the inside fold of the book, your readership will be decreased
by half. You lose 50% of your customers. A dollar bill size ad or a
3/8s page ad will never be printed on the fold.
4. List every product or
service that represents five percent or more of your business in your
ad. List any product or service that you believe has the potential to
become five percent or more of your business. If you do
not specifically list a product or service in your yellow page
people will assume you do not offer it. They will call someone else that
does list it. Think about how you use the book Ė you call the ad
that lists the items you want.
5. Take part in creating your
yellow page advertising. Only you can answer the tough questions that should be asked about
your business environment and your customers. If your graphic artist
doesnít ask about your business or your customers Ė fire them.
6. A bigger ad makes you look
substantial, reliable, permanent, and able to handle large commercial
accounts. If you want commercial business, create the very best ad in
your section of the phonebook.
7. Your yellow page
advertising is the first
impression your business makes. It should make you look honest,
reliable, smart, and professional.
8. Customers looking at yellow
page advertising are already sold. You want to give them the benefits and
the facts they need so that they will contact you to make their purchase.
9. Budget to purchase your
main listing in the main phonebook first. Purchase the correct size ad
space. Do not try to save money here so that you can run an extra ad
10. Buy a big enough ad space.
Yellow page advertising must contain all of the information the consumer
requires to make a contact decision. Donít skimp on content.
11. Consumers often start
their search in the special guide sections of the yellow pages. If you
are a restaurant, and your book offers a guide section [normally broken
down by type of food], then that is where you want to be. The same goes
for other types of businesses.
12. Track your ad's response
rate, and understand your return on investment. Read Testing
and Tracking Ads for more.
13. Watch for publishers who
advertise their directories to increase usage. Is the publisher really
committed to the book, or just to selling space? Does the book contain
consumer friendly information on parks, events, community services,
transportation, shopping, directions, etc? What book is the most helpful
to the consumer? That book will be on the top of the pile in your
customersí home or business.
14. Be careful if you buy
yellow page advertising on the Internet. Most consumers are not yet using the
Internet for accessing local business information Ė
they still use the physical phone book. If you do advertise, donít pay
too much for it until you can track your return on investment.
15. Make sure that your
listings in the white pages and with directory assistance are correct. A
lot of your customers are calling directory assistance to find you. A
lot of your repeat customers that know you by name are looking up
your phone number in the white pages every time they call.
16. Donít rush. Great
yellow page advertising takes time to plan and create.
Questions to Ask About Your Specific Phone Book:
it the old phone company book [better], or a newer copycat? Is it the
dominant book in the area?
widely is it used? Who says so, and can they prove it?
Is it distributed to every home and business?
Is the book a small local book, a regional book, or a cross-over
book? Look at these reference figures:
38% of people use the small, local directory
62% of people use the large, regional directory
8% reference two or more directories
you are a local business, then maybe you just need to be in the small
Where are your customers coming from?
market coverage does the book offer? Is it too big? Would you do better to
choose a few small, local directories instead of the big regional book for
your yellow page advertising?
discounts do they offer? Every publisher Ė especially for the first year
you run your yellow page advertising Ė should offer discounts. Many books will sell you an ad space
for half price the first year. This is a great way to try a new directory.
Insist on a substantial discount if you are a new advertiser, and track
the effectiveness of the ad to see if you want to pay full price next
Your publisher should make recommendations about where your type of
business appears in their book. What headings do they recommend? Why? What
guide sections do they offer? What discounts do they offer on multiple
Lots More Yellow Page Advertising Facts
Letís get a better idea of
how people actually use the yellow pages.
63% of references are to display ads, with an average of 5.2
ads being considered. People with no company in mind review additional
ads. Even people with a specific company in mind still review more than
four additional ads. These numbers strongly indicate that the quality of
your yellow page advertising will make a huge difference in the number of calls you
2. 81% of consumers start at the beginning of the heading when
they do not have a business name in mind.
66% of consumers believe that a larger display ad indicates
that the business has an established reputation. 70% look at the larger
ads when they are not sure where to buy.
On average, 69% of people think headings have just the right
number of ads. 11% think there are not enough ads, and 20% think there are
too many ads.
20% of consumers want more information in yellow page
advertising. They want
additional information on hours, services, location, and price.
79% of yellow page advertising references are made for personal use. 21% are made for
81% of phone book users will make contact with an advertiser.
34% will contact a company they had never contacted before. [How good are
your phone answering skills? This will make a huge difference if your
customers come from your yellow page advertising.]
42% of people will contact two or more businesses. [Are your
phone answering skills better than your competition's? Call them and find out.]
For people with both small and large directories in their
home, 38% will use the small book, 62% will use the large book, and 8%
will reference multiple books. Maybe the lower cost of the small, local
book is a good deal after all.
The yellow pages support and reinforce your other marketing
programs. They can work to close the loop on your marketing. If you have
generated interest with your other advertising, can customers easily find
you in the yellow pages? And conversely, if you competitors have strong yellow
page advertising, how can your other marketing keep your customers from
Only about $18 billion of the available $30 billion in
cooperative yellow page advertising dollars are used annually. Are you missing some?
Many manufacturers offer cooperative yellow page advertising money. We donít
necessarily recommend that you advertise the manufacturer and not your own
company, but if it will help you to buy the best ad in the book, then
There are about 6000 directories in the United States, and
over 200 publishers.
There are over 4200 active headings in the yellow pages. And
publisher can add a heading for you if needed.
86% of the publisher's advertising revenues come from local
businesses. The yellow page advertising business is a local business, and you are important. Ask as many
questions as you need to feel comfortable working with them.
Certified Marketing Representatives (CMRís) handle large,
national yellow page advertising accounts on a publisher paid commission basis. They act as free
advertising agencies for national accounts. They provide assistance with
creative strategy, design, audience targeting, market and advertising
research and evaluation, and media selection. [Professional
Advertising offers these same services to you.]
Publishers carefully monitor phonebook circulation and usage
data. They know exactly how much their book is being used and by whom. If
they are not volunteering that information, be extra careful.
Alternatively, publishers should also be able to give you information
about their competitors. Ask how their book compares to their
Your yellow page advertising is open for your customers to get
information 24 hours per day. Give it to them. This is the one advertisement that
they will not throw away.
There are fraudulent companies that send false billings from
shady yellow page advertising companies. Protect yourself by double-checking the bill
and the publisher.
Yellow Page Advertising: Design Tips
Your ad has a zero percent chance of succeeding if your prospect doesnít
notice it. Attention is everything in yellow page advertising. You need visual impact [photos], white
space, a distinctive border, font, angles, or whatever it takes to stand
out on the page. You ad must be distinctive, unusual, and it should
contrast with the other ads on the page. Be different. Read The
Elements of Advertising Design
your ad into the yellow page book to get an idea of whether or not it will
Where your ad is placed absolutely matters. If your quarter-page ad falls
against the fold of the book, readership will be cut by half. Poor
placement just cost you one half of your customers. Buy a different shape
ad that will guarantee you an outside placement.
Use only serif typeface font for your yellow page advertising. It
boosts reading speed, and can increase comprehension by up to 300% over
ad should be easy to look at and easy to read. Poor use of capitalization,
bolding, or italics will decrease reading comprehension by 50%. Bad
sentence structure will also reduce comprehension.
#12 font for copy. Use #14 font if your customers are senior citizens.
use technical jargon in your yellow page advertising. You will lose way too many readers.
copy gets attention, but it is hard to read. If you use it, keep the copy
very short, and the font very big.
sure photos face into your ad, not toward a competitor's ad.
sure your ad looks different from your competitors'. Donít advertise for
smaller ad should have a single focus Ė one problem for one solution.
layouts often work better than clean, balanced ads because they keep the
your offer carefully and clearly. Your offer is a promise about the level
of service you will deliver to your customers. Your offer will set your
customers expectations, so you want to be very clear.
get the highest response rate for all printed marketing materials.
However, with yellow page advertising, this is not always the case. If
your publisher offers you a space in their coupon section, ask for a big
discount the first year. Also, call other advertisers to see if they have
been happy with the returns on their coupons.
sure your headline makes a bold statement or asks a provocative question.
Lead with your biggest benefit or your unique selling position.
yellow page advertising copy should be short, clear, and easy to read. Make sure to sell with
benefits, not features.
all of your contact and operational information as needed; Location, phone numbers,
map/directions, hours of operation, credit cards, handicap accessibility, etc.
ad should keeps the reader's eye moving through your list of benefits
and toward the telephone number.
quality is especially important with yellow page advertising. Just open your book
and look at the extreme differences in the quality of the photos. Your
graphic designer should know what kind of press your publisher uses, and
how to get the best reproduction results out of it.
Top 25 Yellow Page Advertising References
Physicians & Surgeons
Auto Parts New/Used
Auto Dealers New/Used
Beauty Salon 241,100,000
Hardware Ė Retail
Grocers Ė Retail
Advertising: Ask For Help
As always, we
strongly recommend that you hire a quality graphic designer to help design
your ad, and ask a
marketing professional to help plan and review the work.
the marketing professional review your current advertising and
your advertising strategy. Itís a cheap investment for something as
critically important as your yellow page advertisement. And it is
absolutely the best investment you can make for increasing the
effectiveness of your yellow page advertising. Please contact
Professional Advertising for these services and additional assistance.
Advertisements - Brochures - Direct Mail - Logos
& Marketing Consulting Services
Writing & Communication Design
with Professional Advertising
for more information.
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