Stand Out in Ways that Matter to Directory Users
A Yellow Page directory presents a difficult challenge for
advertisers. All the competitors are packed together, within
the space of a few pages. Each ad within the directory
category screams "Notice me!" so insistently, they blend
into an muffled chorus. It's not easy for one to stand out
with a clear, distinctive voice - like a soloist above the
choir. That only happens when the business is clear about
expressing its unique "song," and understands what buyers
most want to hear.
It isn't surprising that most Yellow Page ads say pretty
much the same thing. They were all prepared by the same
directory employees. What do they know about marketing?
About copywriting? About what's unique and desirable about
The people making the ads "grind them out," using the same
templates and guidelines for every ad, in every category.
Originality isn't in their job description. Following the
formulas for how an ad "should look" is a formula for being
These quick fixes cut away the bland sameness afflicting
most ads. Disregard for now the related issues like the ad's
size and placement. Such factors just amplify (or diminish)
an ad's impact. A poor ad is still a poor ad, even if it's
very large. Coupled with fine-tuned copy (its own topic),
these fixes will improve the impact of any size of ad, for
any directory heading.
Try these Quick and Easy Fixes
You don't have to be a designer or copywriter to make your
ad stand out. You just have to understand your customers'
unstated wants, so you supply precisely the information that
they're looking for. And you need to know how you're
different than your competitors. Set yourself apart, so you
don't fade into the background, as most ads do.
1. Shrink the business name. That is NOT the most important
part of the ad in the reader's mind. And it crowds out the
space for information that that could sell them on you. Once
you can get them to want you, they'll be able to find your
name and contact information OK.
2. Ditto, shrink the graphics. They may be helpful to catch
the eye initially, but add nothing to what directory users
want to know. Images often distract from the ad's message,
wasting its moment of attention on trivialities.
3. Provide a headline that hooks the readers' interest (the
category or business name isn't one, but most ads act like
it is). A strong, emotionally-charged headline pulls
attention into the rest of the information. It makes people
stop skimming and actually read. Provide a promise that hits
their hot button in a way that applies only to you (but not
every other competitor in the category)
4. Make the location easy to find. Half of all directory
users scan ads for the business location first, and then
only consider those ads which are convenient. Location of
the enterprise overrides an ad's size or placement in the
5. Display your expertise, along with a reason for buyers to
seek out your specialized knowledge. Offer a booklet, class,
in-depth information on your Web site, etc. This also
establishes your credibility in customers' eyes, which is
crucial to building sufficient trust to complete a purchase.
6. Buyers are hunting for information that can assist in
making a purchase. When they open the directory, they're
hoping to find a business that in some way communicates,
"I'm the one you're looking for." Make it easy for them to
know it's you, by giving ample information directed at their
concerns. Organize it in bulleted lists.
7. Add your Web site address (domain name) and/or email
address. Treat your Web site as a place to expand the size
of your Yellow Page ad. Then state a reason why a person
wants to check your site: www.mysite.com for 23 simple ways
to keep your dog from over-eating Or www.myrestaurant.com
for recipes to our award-winning desserts.
8. Arrange it all so the information flows logically, and to
please the eye.
9. Eliminate images or phrases that appear in the other ads.
Find a different, more interesting way to express it.
10. Don't let the directory do your ad for free. It will end
up costing you too much.
The Ideal Yellow Page Ad
The very best ad is the intersection between what a buyer is
looking for, and what a business provides. When a business
is attuned to its customers' priorities and needs, it can
say exactly what rings their bell. For example, a harried
mother will respond with relief to the phrase, "Free
Childcare Provided." That service carries no weight with a
business person, who may consider "No extra charge for
weekend service calls" the clincher.
What really makes an ad stand out is the specifics, not the
generalities (which is what every other ad says). Visit www.yellowpagesage.com for advice from many experts
about getting more mileage from your ad. Or obtain a
customized critique of your ad, that eliminates the
guesswork about what needs fixing.
Directory users are ready to buy. Simplify their lives by
making your products and services so "just right" that
choosing you is their only sensible choice.
--Dr. Lynella Grant, an expert in visual communication.
How printed materials send signals that strengthen or undo
the words. Author, The Business Card Book & Yellow
Page Smarts http://www.yellowpagesage.com
Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450