Stand Out in Ways that Matter to Directory UsersA Yellow Page directory presents a difficult challenge foradvertisers. All the competitors are packed together, withinthe space of a few pages. Each ad within the directorycategory screams "Notice me!" so insistently, they blendinto an muffled chorus. It's not easy for one to stand outwith a clear, distinctive voice - like a soloist above thechoir. That only happens when the business is clear aboutexpressing its unique "song," and understands what buyersmost want to hear.
It isn't surprising that most Yellow Page ads say prettymuch the same thing. They were all prepared by the samedirectory employees. What do they know about marketing?About copywriting? About what's unique and desirable aboutyour enterprise?
The people making the ads "grind them out," using the sametemplates and guidelines for every ad, in every category.Originality isn't in their job description. Following theformulas for how an ad "should look" is a formula for beingignored.
These quick fixes cut away the bland sameness afflictingmost ads. Disregard for now the related issues like the ad'ssize and placement. Such factors just amplify (or diminish)an ad's impact. A poor ad is still a poor ad, even if it'svery large. Coupled with fine-tuned copy (its own topic),these fixes will improve the impact of any size of ad, forany directory heading.
Try these Quick and Easy Fixes
You don't have to be a designer or copywriter to make yourad stand out. You just have to understand your customers'unstated wants, so you supply precisely the information thatthey're looking for. And you need to know how you'redifferent than your competitors. Set yourself apart, so youdon't fade into the background, as most ads do.
1. Shrink the business name. That is NOT the most importantpart of the ad in the reader's mind. And it crowds out thespace for information that that could sell them on you. Onceyou can get them to want you, they'll be able to find yourname and contact information OK.
2. Ditto, shrink the graphics. They may be helpful to catchthe eye initially, but add nothing to what directory userswant 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 (thecategory or business name isn't one, but most ads act likeit is). A strong, emotionally-charged headline pullsattention into the rest of the information. It makes peoplestop skimming and actually read. Provide a promise that hitstheir hot button in a way that applies only to you (but notevery other competitor in the category)
4. Make the location easy to find. Half of all directoryusers scan ads for the business location first, and thenonly consider those ads which are convenient. Location ofthe enterprise overrides an ad's size or placement in thedirectory.
5. Display your expertise, along with a reason for buyers toseek out your specialized knowledge. Offer a booklet, class,in-depth information on your Web site, etc. This alsoestablishes your credibility in customers' eyes, which iscrucial to building sufficient trust to complete a purchase.
6. Buyers are hunting for information that can assist inmaking a purchase. When they open the directory, they'rehoping to find a business that in some way communicates,"I'm the one you're looking for." Make it easy for them toknow it's you, by giving ample information directed at theirconcerns. Organize it in bulleted lists.
7. Add your Web site address (domain name) and/or emailaddress. Treat your Web site as a place to expand the sizeof your Yellow Page ad. Then state a reason why a personwants to check your site: www.mysite.com for 23 simple waysto keep your dog from over-eating Or www.myrestaurant.comfor recipes to our award-winning desserts.
8. Arrange it all so the information flows logically, and toplease 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 endup costing you too much.
The Ideal Yellow Page Ad
The very best ad is the intersection between what a buyer islooking for, and what a business provides. When a businessis attuned to its customers' priorities and needs, it cansay exactly what rings their bell. For example, a harriedmother will respond with relief to the phrase, "FreeChildcare Provided." That service carries no weight with abusiness person, who may consider "No extra charge forweekend service calls" the clincher.
What really makes an ad stand out is the specifics, not thegeneralities (which is what every other ad says). Visit www.yellowpagesage.com for advice from many expertsabout getting more mileage from your ad. Or obtain acustomized critique of your ad, that eliminates theguesswork about what needs fixing.
Directory users are ready to buy. Simplify their lives bymaking your products and services so "just right" thatchoosing 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 & YellowPage Smarts http://www.yellowpagesage.com Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450