Attention-grabbing fixes that make your yellow page ad jump off the page

Stand out in ways that interest directory users

A yellow pages directory presents a difficult challenge for advertisers. All the competitors are packed together, in the space of a few pages. Every ad within the directory category screams “Look at me!” with such insistence, they melt into a stifled chorus. It is not easy for one to stand out with a clear and distinctive voice, like a soloist over choir. That only happens when the company is clear about how to express its unique “song” and understands what buyers want to hear the most.

Not surprisingly, most yellow pages ads say more or less the same thing. All were prepared by the same board of directors. What do they know about marketing? About copywriting? What is the unique and desirable thing about your company?

The people who make the ads “grind them up”, using the same templates and guidelines for each ad, in each category. Originality is not in your job description. Following the formulas for how an ad “should look” is a formula for being ignored.

These quick fixes remove the insipid monotony that plagues most ads. Ignore issues like ad size and placement for now. These factors only amplify (or lessen) the impact of an ad. A poor ad is still a poor ad, even if it is very large. Along with a tight copy (your own theme), these fixes will improve the impact of any ad size, for any directory header.

Try these quick and easy solutions

You don’t have to be a designer or copywriter to make your ad stand out. You just have to understand the undeclared wishes of your customers, so that you provide precisely the information they are looking for. And you need to know how it differs from your competitors. Stand out, so you don’t fade into the background like most ads do.

1. Reduce the name of the company. That is NOT the most important part of the ad in the mind of the reader. And scroll the space for information that could sell you. Once you get loved, they can find your name and contact information correctly.

2. The same goes for graphics. They can be useful for getting attention initially, but they don’t add anything to what directory users want to know. Images often distract from the ad’s message, wasting your attention span on trivia.

3. Provide a title that attracts readers’ interest (category or company name is not one, but most ads act like one). A strong and emotional headline draws attention to the rest of the information. It makes people stop browsing and actually read. Provide a promise that you click your hot button in a way that applies only to you (but not to all other competitors in the category)

4. Make the location easy to find. Half of all directory users scan ads for business location first and then only consider ads that are convenient. Business location overrides the size or location of a directory listing.

5. Showcase your expertise, along with a reason for buyers to seek your specialized knowledge. Offer a brochure, class, detailed information on your website, etc. This also establishes your credibility in the eyes of customers, which is crucial to building enough trust to complete a purchase.

6. Buyers are looking for information that can help them make a purchase. When they open the directory, they hope to find a company that somehow communicates: “I am the one you are looking for.” Make it easy for them to know who you are by providing them with extensive information addressing their concerns. Organize it into bulleted lists.

7. Add your website address (domain name) and / or email address. Treat your website as a place to expand the size of your yellow page ad. Then state a reason why someone wants to review your site: [http://www.mysite.comfor] 23 Simple Ways To Prevent Your Dog From Overeating Or visit for recipes of our award-winning desserts.

8. Arrange everything so that information flows logically and pleases the eye.

9. Remove images or sentences that appear in the other ads. Find a different and more interesting way to express it.

10. Don’t let the directory run your ad for free. It will end up costing you too much.

The ideal yellow page ad

The best ad is the intersection between what a buyer is looking for and what a business offers. When a company is in tune with the priorities and needs of its customers, it can say exactly what sounds like to them. For example, a distraught mother will respond with relief to the phrase “Free child care is provided.” That service is of no importance to a business person, who may consider “No Additional Charge for Weekend Service Calls” as the deciding factor.

What really makes an ad stand out is the details, not the generalities (which is what all other ads say). Visit for tips from many experts on how to get more out of your ad. Or, get a personalized review of your ad, taking the guesswork out of what needs to be fixed.

Directory users are ready to buy. Simplify their lives by making your products and services so “perfect” that choosing you is your only delicate option.

(c) Lynella Scholarship 2007

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