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Great Yellow Page Ads

Seriously Effective Print Advertising

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How To Create Yellow Page Ads That Work      

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 contact YOU.

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. Adults refer to the yellow pages almost twice per week, or approximately 19 billion times per year.

 2. Eighty-eight percent [88%!] of these references result in contact with a purchase or an intent to purchase.

 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 information.

 4. Because the yellow pages are a reference medium [like classified ads in newspapers], they provide a high percentage of new customers [over 50%].

 5. 52% of consumers either have no service provider in mind, or have multiple names in mind when they reference your yellow page advertising. These 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 shoppers.

 6. In 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.

 7. The average business gets $6 in profit for every $1 invested in yellow page advertising.

 8. The average national cost of a one-year, Ĺ page yellow page display ad is $17,100. [Seventeen 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're 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 markets.

 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 here.

 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 advertising sales representative.

One More Thing

 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 page advertising 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 computer.

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 want to be. Think about it.

2. 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 of all 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 advertising, 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 someplace else.

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.

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:

1. Is it the old phone company book [better], or a newer copycat? Is it the dominant book in the area?

2. How widely is it used? Who says so, and can they prove it?

3.   Is it distributed to every home and business?

4.      Is the book a small local book, a regional book, or a cross-over book? Look at these reference figures:

a.     38% of people use the small, local directory

b.     62% of people use the large, regional directory

c.      8% reference two or more directories

If you are a local business, then maybe you just need to be in the small directory. Where are your customers coming from?

5. What 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?

6. What 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 year.

7. 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 listings?  

Lots More Yellow Page Advertising Facts

 Letís get a better idea of how people actually use the yellow pages.

 1.   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 get.

 2. 81% of consumers start at the beginning of the heading when they do not have a business name in mind.

 3. 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.

 4. 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.

 5. 20% of consumers want more information in yellow page advertising. They want additional information on hours, services, location, and price.

 6. 79% of yellow page advertising references are made for personal use. 21% are made for business use.

 7. 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.]

 8. 42% of people will contact two or more businesses. [Are your phone answering skills better than your competition's? Call them and find out.]

 9. 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.

10. 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 going there?

11. 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 consider it.

12. There are about 6000 directories in the United States, and over 200 publishers.

13. There are over 4200 active headings in the yellow pages. And your publisher can add a heading for you if needed.

14. 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.

15. 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. [Great Yellow Page Ads offers these same services to you.]

16. 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 competition's book.

17. 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.

18. 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

 1. 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. Your ad must be distinctive, unusual, and it should contrast with the other ads on the page. Be different.

 2. Paste your ad into the yellow page book to get an idea of whether or not it will stand out.

 3. 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.

 4. Use only serif typeface font for your yellow page advertising.  It boosts reading speed, and can increase comprehension by up to 300% over other fonts.

 5. Your 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.

 6. Use #12 font for copy. Use #14 font if your customers are senior citizens.

 7. Donít use technical jargon in your yellow page advertising. You will lose way too many readers.

 8. Reversed copy gets attention, but it is hard to read. If you use it, keep the copy very short, and the font very big.

 9. Make sure photos face into your ad, not toward a competitor's ad.

10. Make sure your ad looks different from your competitors'. Donít advertise for them.

11. A smaller ad should have a single focus Ė one solution for one problem.

12. Busy layouts often work better than clean, balanced ads because they keep the reader involved.

13. Word 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.

14. Coupons 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.

15. Make sure your headline makes a bold statement or asks a provocative question. Lead with your biggest benefit or your unique selling position.

16. Your yellow page advertising copy should be short, clear, and easy to read. Make sure to sell with benefits, not features.

17. List all of your contact and operational information as needed; Location, phone numbers, map/directions, hours of operation, credit cards, handicap accessibility, etc.

18. Your ad should keeps the reader's eye moving through your list of benefits and toward the telephone number.

19. Reproduction 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.


The Top 25 Yellow Page Advertising References

1.      Restaurants                          1,217,500,000

2.      Physicians & Surgeons       1,128,800,000

3.      Auto Parts New/Used          1,251,000,000

4.      Auto Repair                             487,900,000

5.      Pizza                                         438,700,000

6.      Auto Dealers New/Used        274,000,000

7.      Attorneys                                  270,900,000

8.      Dentists                                    250,000,000

9.      Insurance                                  246,700,000

10. Beauty Salon                            241,100,000

11. Hospitals                                   227,800,000

12. Department Stores                  219,900,000

13. Plumbing                                   204,000,000

14. Banks                                        179,100,000

15. Florists                                      173,100,000

16. Theaters                                    172,700,000

17. Veterinarians                            162,600,000

18. Hotels                                        158,000,000

19. Airlines                                      152,800,000

20. Hardware Ė Retail                    141,200,000

21. Auto Rent/Lease                       118,300,000

22. Pharmacies                               110,600,000

23. Real Estate                                  97,200,000

24. Tire Dealers                                 95,000,000

25. Grocers Ė Retail                          93.300.000


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