Applying the Top Four Rules for Yellow Pages Ads

For good or for bad, contractors spend a ton of their marketing budget in the Yellow Pages. And by “for good or for bad,” I mean exactly that. Regardless of a good result or a bad one, it rarely seems to matter as long as there are pictures of penguins sitting on a block of ice offering “cool deals.” Yikes.

Forget the schlock and get a lock on the purpose of your Yellow Pages ad. Applying these four rules is a great starting point:

1. Remember what you’re selling. You aren’t selling your service fleet, big logos, or your building, so get that stuff out of the ad. You’re selling a phone call. Customers want to call somebody — or they wouldn’t be looking in the Yellow Pages. Your mission is to get them to call you, right now. The way to do that, my friend, is to . . .

2. Adopt a unique, powerful, benefit-filled headline. Shockingly, almost 90% of the ads don’t have one. Do you? If not, it’s costing you a fortune. Before you answer, make sure you understand what a headline isn’t. It isn’t the company name or “since 1955.” Instead, it’s a powerful, compelling benefit a customer gains by calling you.

Whatever your prospect can gain right now, state it as a powerful headline to your ad. Give your readers something to latch onto, like, “Get More Than You Pay For” or “Smart Shopper’s Guide to Heating and Cooling” or “Comfort Now.”
The boldly stated benefit draws the customer to your ad, which draws them to your phone number. And there’s no time to waste. That’s why you should . . .

3. Be persuasive quickly. For superb, customer-generating Yellow Pages ads, you must give readers enough information, neatly laid out, in easily understood “chunks.” Get your points down, shorten them, and drive them home with a hammer. But by all means, don’t ever forget to tell them what you want them to do.

4. Ask them to call you. A good Yellow Pages ad — no matter how simple it seems to you — must give clear instructions on what you want the prospect to do. Ask, or tell, your prospects what to do next to gain the benefits. A “call to action” can be short or long depending on application:
• Call now
• Call our 24-hour service hotline now
• Solve your comfort problems now with one quick call.

If you don’t get that final point in, your ad has failed to zero in on the reason prospects are even reading your ad: the phone call.

Is your Yellow Pages ad working for you? As a Hotmail reader, I’ll happily critique it for free if you fax me a copy to 334/262-1115.

When you’re spending as much as you are for Yellow Pages space, it’s very important to make it work. Good Yellow Pages ads tell prospects exactly how to gain the comfort and value your company represents.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Call 800/489-9099 to ask about the new Service and Maintenance Agreement Power Pack, a turnkey product that provides all the tools contractors need to create their own maintenance agreement. For a free marketing newsletter, contractors can fax their letterhead with the request to 334-262-1115 or check out www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.

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