Yellow Pages Advertising Techniques

Update to this yellow pages advertising techniques article (this was written about 8 years ago, but most of the information is still viable today. However, in addition to yellow pages lead generation you should focus your attention on social media, YouTube, and more importantly mobile insurance marketing)...

Competition has never been greater and you are in struggle to survive. Your business either grows to prosper or it withers and dies away. There is no middle ground. You have to spend full time figuring out how to survive and prosper. You have to use every resource, every promotional dollar you have, as effectively a possible. Yellow Pages can be one of your most effective advertising tools.

The Yellow Pages. Yes, the Yellow Pages. And, here is why.

Effective Yellow Pages advertising can still be an effective direct marketing tool because competition is not as fierce, and people still look to the yellow pages. Especially older people, and of course those who can’t afford a cell phone or maybe their cell phone is dead.

Yellow Pages have been around for a long time now, and there is a reason. The potential of Yellow Pages advertising is quite good. Here is why.

1) Long term advertising.  When you go into the Yellow Pages, you ad lasts for a year. If you advertise in a daily newspaper, it lasts one day. When you advertise in a weekly paper, it lasts about one day. If you advertise in a monthly magazine, you ad is probably good for a day or two, maybe three. It is good only for as long as the subscriber will pick up the publication and find the ad. The Yellow Pages are different. Yellow Pages advertising will generate leads for you at any time during the year.

2) First place prospects look.  The Yellow Pages is often the first place someone looks when they need a product or service. This is particularly true for people that are new to the area and haven’t already chosen financial counseling or financial service providers. This would include people who have just come into large sums of money such as inheritances, pension plan payouts and severance payments.

3) Prospects are ‘live’.  People who pick up the Yellow Pages are primed to buy. The only time someone thumbs through the Yellow Pages is when they want or need to buy a product or service. By the time the prospect gets to your ad in the Yellow Pages, the decision to buy your service has already been made. At the least it is being given serious consideration. This simplifies your life. You can concentrate on creating additional desire and a call to action.

4) Effective ads can switch customers.  Your Yellow Pages can work for you even when the prospect is looking for one of your competitors. People looking for financial services often have a provider already in mind when they pick up the Yellow Pages. This may be someone with whom they have dealt in the past. It may be someone who has been referred to them by a friend or relative. It doesn’t make any difference. If your ad is distinctive and compelling, they will read it. If the body copy gives them a compelling benefit, they will call you. They may call to comparison shop. Or, they may call you as a first choice. Either way, you ad has switched them from their intended provider.

Remember, we said the potential of Yellow Pages is tremendous. Most Yellow Pages advertising doesn’t work well. You have got to understand why it doesn’t work.

There are two basic kinds of Yellow Pages ads. These are listings and display ads. Display ads are the ones with borders around them. Without the border, it would be a little difficult to tell them apart.

Thumbing through a local small town Yellow Pages, there are seven pages of listings for attorneys. Some are simply listings with the name of the attorney or firm, a street address and a phone number. The rest are display ads. The display ads are of two basic designs. One design lists a specialty such as “Injury, Accident Claims” in large bold type across the top of the ad. Below are a list of other services the firm handles and a list of the partners in the firm. Below that is a large bold type phone number with the address of the firm (missing in some cases) below. The other display ad design is identical to the first except the specialty is replaced by the name of the firm in bold type with the list of services and then a bold type phone number. That is followed by the apparently optional address. Other than some spot color or reverse type, the ads are basically indistinguishable.

Larger ads with reverse type or spot color draw your eye. The smaller display ads are lost in a sea of yellow and gray sameness. All of the ads, regardless of size, spot color or reverse type are really little more than enlarged business cards. They all provide the same information. They include a name, a listing of services, perhaps an address, and a phone number. The sameness of all of these ads is little short of mind numbing.

If you opted only for a business list, it will be practically invisible. If you only put a listing in the Yellow Pages, you had better have a great in-house lead referral system. People shopping for the product or service you offer will likely not find you. Their attention will be drawn elsewhere. Like water running downhill, people take the course of least resistance. The first ad they come across that looks like it will fill their need is the phone number called. Your number, buried in a list of other businesses, will not compel many people to dial your number.

The first thing to do when sitting down with your Yellow Pages account rep is to ignore everything the rep tells you about how to construct your ad. The rep doesn’t know. The rep is not trying to help you generate more leads and sales. The rep is simply trying to sell you a bigger ad. That is why the eye-catching reverse type and spot color are options for the larger size Yellow Pages ads.

Besides, the rep doesn’t know anything about marketing. If the rep did, he or she wouldn’t be going around trying to sell Yellow Pages advertising.

Here is how you are going to turn your Yellow Pages into an effective marketing tool.

People scanning the Yellow Pages are wanting to buy something. They are looking for a solution to some want or need. Independent research has determined that these people will be five times more likely to read an editorial that offers news than they will an obvious advertisement.

Let me repeat that.

People scanning the Yellow Pages are wanting to buy something. They are looking for a solution to some want or need. Independent research has determined that these people will be five times more likely to read an editorial that offers news than they will an obvious advertisement.

What this means is, when people are looking for a financial services representative, they need answers to their money questions. They really do not care how impressive your logo is. They could care less whether or not your company has been in business since Columbus beached his ship in 1492. They don’t care whether you are a CLU, P.A. or a CPA. All they want to know is whether or not you can provide a solution to their financial need.

Solutions. Immediately. With no hassle.

Now, imagine that you had an ad that stood out in this sea of virtual sameness. An ad that will stand out is an editorial ad. Your ad, with a compelling headline, appears to offer answers. Yours is the only one. It will be the only one. It will stand out.  It will draw attention. It will be like a rose in a sea of dandelions. Because of it, you will beat your competition and lift commissions right out of their pockets.

Here is how you will do it.

1) Develop a compelling headline. Most Yellow Pages ads do not have a headline. Many list the name of the firm. Some list a product or service. Put a headline in your ad and you’ve already made it stand out from the crowd. Make the headline compelling and you will attract most of the people scanning the Yellow Pages. This is the first role of the ad — attract attention. You have done it in two ways. First, the overall appearance of the ad is different than anything else in the Yellow Pages.  With an editorial look, the ad will draw attention. In our example our headline is ‘Warning! Grandparents Are Unwittingly Putting Their Grandchildren At Risk”. Grandchildren mean more to grandparents that almost anything else on earth. The last thing a grandparent wants to do is put a grandchild at risk. Every grandparent will want to know what this risk is so that he or she does not do it.

2) Look newsworthy. The next step is to make your ad look like an editorial. Make it two columns of type. Design it with two columns and multiple paragraphs. Make it look like a news story. Make it look newsworthy. By looking newsworthy, it will create interest. People will view it as a source of information. People will want to know what information is being presented. It will be more highly read than any other ad. It will create interest in what you are saying. By and large, people believe the news. It has credibility. By looking newsworthy, you message will be more credible and you will be perceived as an expert. In this case the news is about how grandparents are unwitting putting their grandchildren at risk.

3) Offer a compelling reason.  Offer a compelling reason to call you. FREE is compelling. Offer a FREE gift. Make sure the word FREE is capitalized. The gift must have perceived value, but may be inexpensive to you. The compelling reason may include a FREE one-hour introductory consultation. The gift may be a brochure or fact sheet about some important financial topic such as retirement savings, wealth management or estate planning. This part of the ad is designed to make the prospect want to find out more about what you are saying. We have the prospect’s attention and interest. Now, we want to create a desire to find out more. By offering a free report we a creating a desire to find out what the report says and making it easy by offering it for free.

4) Call to action.  Your ad will be virtually the only ad in the Yellow Pages that will include a call to action. Your ad will be different because it asks the reader to call, today, to receive the free gift. This ad asks the reader to contact you. Only interested prospects will go to the trouble of calling your phone number.

Here is an example (this ad can also be used as a stand alone display ad or postcard for lead generation):

yellow pages advertisement

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