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Your Yellow Page Ad Deserves More than 10 Minutes of Thought a Year
Before long, your Yellow Page directory rep will be paying you a visit. It's an annual event that happens several months before next year's directory goes to press. He or she will urge you to think about your ad just long enough to renew what you used in the previous directory - or to upgrade according to their suggestions. If you comment that business is up OR down, they'll recommend a larger, spruced-up ad as the answer.
The statistics they quote are out of date, and don't reflect today's realities. The typical business owner is afraid - unsure what to trust to bring enough new customers. Even if he wants to reduce his reliance on the Yellow Pages (or the every-escalating expense), he doesn't know what to do instead. The truth is, no single promotional method can do the job. However, the majority of the public is already changing the way it decides where to buy - which doesn't bode well for Yellow Pages.
Be forewarned. Sticking with what you've been doing is no longer a smart business move. The role the directory plays in our way of life has shifted dramatically - just during the last year. And those effects will increase in the future. Although people used to rely on the Yellow Pages before buying, that's no longer true. Instead, they're going online, to conduct searches for local vendors.
People Want More Information and the Want it Fast
Declines in Yellow Page usage are dramatic. Recent studies show that many as 70% of buyers rely on Internet search engines to find needed information, as part of their buying process (even when they intend to spend their money in their hometown). The advent of Local Search (combining a search engine query with a geographic term, like town or state) helps Internet users find local suppliers in seconds. Local Search already accounts for over a third of search queries. Unfortunately, many businesses don't show up in those results - so aren't even considered.
While I'm not recommending that you drop your directory ad, I strongly suggest that you shift some of those dollars to online exposure. My ebook, Yellow Page Smarts explains how to get your directory ad and the Internet to work together
Recognize that you need to present your business in a variety of ways, in order to match the purchasing styles of most consumers.
Develop an Integrated Yellow Page Strategy
Begin thinking about the next Yellow Page directory, starting now. The worst choice is to just renew what you've done without giving it any serious thought. Use this chance to improve your ad's performance. You'll be stuck with it (and paying for it) for a full year.
What to Consider Before Re-running Your Present Ad
- Whether you feel your current ad has been working for you (easiest to tell if you log your calls or customers
- All your present marketing methods (besides your Yellow Page advertising) and how well they work together
- What the other advertisers in your category are doing
- Which categories you need to appear in - Really?
- Ways to improve your copy and message, to demand more attention
- Rearrange the layout to be more legible, clear, and easy on the eye
- Updating anything that's either out of date, or left out
- Adding your website and email address - Even when they use the directory, many people will only call ads with a website; it's about credibility
Don't be Afraid of the New Developments
Your choice is not between the Yellow Pages and an Internet presence. You'll need a marketing method that's big enough to include both. You can find needed answers to help you plot your course at http://www.localsearchresources.com
Your first task is to treat this matter as urgent. The Internet probably seems far afield from your daily priorities. But your customers are online, and your competitors are getting there. This trend is not going away; it's getting stronger. Don't miss the boat. Especially, when it's not very costly or difficult to broaden your exposure to include the Internet. Get moving!
Copyright 2005 Off the Page
Dr. Lynella Grant Author, Yellow Page Smarts: Make more money from your directory ad in tandem with your website http://www.yellowpagesage.com Smarter ways to attract more YP customers. Local Search resources Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450