Most businesses that use Yellow Page advertising fail to understand that these ads reach a very different audience than ads you see in newspapers or other media.

Other ads must first convince readers that they need a particular product or service before it can convince them to do business with a certain company.

In contrast, Yellow Page readers are already planning to buy. They only need a reason to buy from your business rather than the other guys. But you wouldn’t know this is a different audience by looking at most Yellow Page ads.

Look at the headlines you see splashed all over the books. Let’s say you are looking for an accounting firm to help you plan for and prepare your company’s taxes. The first ad you see says, “Smith and Johnson, Certified Public Accountants. We’ve been in business for 25 years.”

The next ad says, “Williams and Jones, Certified Public Accountants. We all went to Harvard,”

OK, it’s good to have 25 years experience and, all other things being equal, I’m fairly impressed that these guys went to a top university.

But suppose the third headline you read says, “7 Ways to Cut Your Payroll Taxes By 35%.”

Which of these three ads will you read and most likely call on?

Notice that the first two headlines were about the company, not the customer. The third headline gave the reader reasons (benefits) to do business with that firm. This ad focused on the customer’s concerns and questions.

You will never go wrong making the customer the “star” of your ad. Focus on what questions that person is asking when they read through your section of the Yellow Pages (and by the way, any other place you put your ad).

Here are some other headlines that give readers reasons to call you instead of the other guys:

”Important Information For Anyone Who Needs A New C.P.A. Firm”

”Warning! Read This Before You Hire Anyone Else To Prepare Your Taxes”

”10 Things You Must Know When Choosing An Accounting Firm”

The idea behind all these headlines is to stand out from the crowd by giving readers reasons (again, "reasons" is code for "benefits") to choose you. Think like your customers before you place your next ad. Imagine the confusion anyone feels when faced with many choices that all make the same claims.

If you give people reasons to choose you, they very often will.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown


Excellent job pointing out what role yellow pages ads play. Too many -- far too many as you've deftly pointed out -- don't put much thought into their ads.

Check out the story of the lawyer who abandoned yellow pages ads in favor of blogging:

10:35 PM

This is an awesome example of why marketing by giving away free information is so powerful.

This guy has now positioned himself as THE expert in family law for an entire state. Prospective clients crave information. They do not want to be sold, but want to make buying decisions based upon information.

Thank you for pointing this article out.

9:41 AM

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