What Color is Your Yellow Pages Ad?
In the beginning, Yellow Pages ads were, well,
yellow. With black type. Then, in an effort to
jump start sales, the clever people who invented
Yellow Pages in 1886, the Reuben H. Donnelly
Corporation, figured an inexpensive way to add red
to the ads. Red borders, red type. Higher rates.
With the monopoly broken all over the country
there are now Yellow Books, Yellow Pages,
McLeodUSA Books and a whole bunch of smaller start
ups. Some use new printing techniques making 4-
color ads available, in some books. The Yellow
Book, the fastest growing independent, does not
have any color as a selling point (cheaper). All
black, like the old days.
Does color work? Who's to say. The research by the
yellow pages people says, yes, worth the money.
Competitive media can show numbers that contradict
What is boils down to is the same question you
have to ask about all of your advertising. Do you
have a plan and is this part of it. McDonald's
does not have an ad in the Yellow Pages. People
just don't let their fingers to the walking to
Mickey Dees. Does your business belong in the
Everyone with a business telephone is listed in
there for free, alphabetically. Maybe that is
enough. Research shows the Yellow Pages are used
primarily as a reference tool.
The majority of Yellow Pages use is because people
have an immediate problem and need to fix it. The
fattest part of the book is where the ads are for
emergency services, like plumbers.
Let's face it, if you have a plumbing project on
the horizon (maybe a new bathroom), you do a lot
of looking and talking and get a lot of referrals,
you don't go to the yellow pages and throw a dart.
On the other hand, if an emergency in your home
forces you to shut off the water to save the
carpet, the water in the tanks is good for only
one flush. You're gonna need help, quick. NOW you
go to the yellow pages because:
A: you have no idea what plumber to call and you
look at the ads and make a decision. In this case
the big colorful ad might suggest expensive
service, so you look for someone smaller or close
B: you can't remember the name of the plumber Aunt
Helen said to call next time and maybe the book
will jog a response. Color is again, not a factor,
nor is size.
If you are plumber, consider the reason people
will look for your ad. Maybe you don't need color
or size, but an attention grabbing headline "We
will show up on time, smell good and fix your leak
or we pay you!" Got your attention? You bet.
Yellow Pages advertising decisions should be based
on overall adverting plan and selling your
benefits. What can you do for them? Properly done,
you don't need size or color to pull it off.
Take your own survey to see which of the three or
four books in your community most people use and
spend your bucks there. No need to buy them all.
Spend the dough you save on classy graphics for
your plumber's truck.
For more about business advertising, get my
article "Do Your Radio Ads Work?" send a blank
eMail to MailTo:RadioAds@BigIdeasGroup.com
©2005 BIG Mike McDaniel, All Rights Reserved
BIG Mike is a Business Consultant and Professional
Speaker. His BIG Ideas Group helps business grow
with promotions, special reports, mastermind
groups and seminars. http://BigIdeasGroup.com
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