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 those claims.

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 Yellow Pages?

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 by.

or

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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