How to think about
yellow page advertising
and the internet

In the recent past, spending money on yellow page advertising was often a love-hate argument among owners of many small businesses. One said "I got results", and another felt the money was wasted.

Just remember, we are in the middle of an information transition and the role of the yellow pages is certainly changing.

The information they already have about your business is adapted for all sorts of internet directories.

Today's marketers know the internet is the new yellow pages. Users are doing more and more specific searches.

And businesses should put themselves on the net as well. The most logical (and free) entry is on Google My Business (formerly  Google Places) where all the details of your enterprise can be listed if you know how to do it properly.

Depending on the category, perhaps your ad should still be "in the book", but much smaller than in the past! Different mediums appeal to different age groups.

Good results for an ad often depend on how it is written and in what category it appears.

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Two BIG points here!

1. Consider the special way yellow page ads do their work. While yellow pages do certain things very well, the ads have to be written for action (Call ME!) in order to pay off. Like those paid PPC ads we all see.

Start by asking yourself what you want people to do when they see your ad. It should be obvious – Pick up the phone and call you. Or contact you directly. Apply this reasoning to your website as well.

Even better, picture yourself as the caller.

• What you could tell them in the ad that would make them call you?

• And when they do call, how will the call be answered: in person, by a machine, by an answering service?

• Will the caller get the answer to their question or will they get frustrated, hang up and call someone else?

Consider these caller reactions before you do anything else. It sets the tone of your ad.

2. Ad Sizes for your category. Certain categories have lots of big ads, while others have mixed sizes. Examine your category in your main phone book and others that people use in your community. Perhaps the phone book (or another directory) is not appropriate to your business category.

If you can, compare phone books from year to year… see who is advertising more, who is advertising less, who was there with a big ad this year and just has a listing this year.

SBC Yellow Page advertising, like any other local directory, has geographical boundaries.

Just remember, the yellow page advertising salespeople – online or off – would like to have you "dominate" your category by buying a bigger or more colorful ad than your competitors. But perhaps you don't need all of that extra size or color.

What you do need is an ad size big enough to get your company on the reader's list of quick list of businesses to consider and then call. So you need a stimulating headline that shows your company can solve the caller's problem immediately.

Our section on creative ad ideas has some great ways to proceed.

Follow these suggestions for effective yellow page advertising and their info about your business because the results will keep your phone ringing.

For local markets, you may also consider billboard advertising as a possibility.

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