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Do You Need Help Designing A Better Yellow Page Ad?

Jun 11, 2008
If you own a local small business effective yellow page advertising is nearly a must. But for small business owners who almost always have small advertising budgets every dollar really counts. And just how many of us actually know how to design an ad let alone an effective ad? Well I'm gonna give you a few tips on doing just that.

For starters I want you to know you can do it yourself but if you need to you can hire a professional to do it for you. Just remember that's going to cost you also.

So where do you start? First off you need to contact your local phone book and set up a meeting with an advertising rep. Now remember the rep can offer you some decent advice on how to design an ad but they've still got a job to do which is sell ad space. They really don't care what you're ad looks like. To be fair I have had ad reps that did seem to give a hoot about my ad but I've had the reverse too!

Now before you meet with them you need to get an idea of what your budget is going to be. Your comittment to the ad will have to be anywhere from six months to one year depending on how often the book is reprinted. You'll be asked to make your payments monthly but the ad will also need to be submitted about four months in advance to allow for changes to the proof.

When it comes to designing the ad and what the ad will cost there are two main considerations. Number one is the size of the ad. The bigger the more expensive it is. Second is if the ad is in color or not. They don't really care about pictures or how many words you use when it comes to pricing. It's size and color.

Size and color I've found really go hand in hand. If you want an ad that stands out you either need to be the biggest in your category or be the sharpest looking. I've always opted for the sharpest. Personal experience has taught me that being the biggest is not always best. Mainly because they're dull looking. They blend in to much with the book itself.

So I highly recommend a color ad. And when your picking colors try to develop some rythm to it. Say if you have a website or color business cards try to stick to the same scheme. If you don't have one now's the time to create one.

Next you need an image. You want an image that tells people something about your business. One image I used to use featured our store front. And remember an image can act as a background as ours did or it can be a focus point of the ad. The point is that you need to grab their attention remember you're just one of many so you need to stand out.

Once you've got your size, image and colors figured out then you need a headline. You need something appealing to them but make sure you're not copycating someone else. People don't want to see multiple ads saying they're the fastest. So you need to pay attention to what others are saying and say something new and powerful. You want your ad to speak to people.

As far as the actual text of the ad is concerned it needs to tell readers something about your company. You need the usual address and phone. If you have a web site make sure you list it. Also if you're a member of the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau mention it. If you take credit cards make sure to include those symbols too. Opinions vary on how to lay these things out but one thing I've seen that seems universal is don't clutter it up. Space things out as much as possible. People don't really want to read ads they just want to find a provider for their needs.

So tell them what you do and make it easy to contact you. Your telephone number should be prominent and the website address as well. Also remember a phone book is not a magazine. Don't try to get to cute with the ad. Remember your just trying to get their attention!

My last tip in designing an ad is flip through your yellow pages. Pick a subject and see what catches your eye under that heading and others. You'll probably be able to figure out who is wasting their money and who isn't.

Yellow page ads can earn a healthy return on your investment but you have to put in the work so take it seriously and you might actually wind up having some fun with it in the process.
About the Author
Cash Miller is an experienced entrepreneur and speaker who has spent over a decade as a small business owner. His years of experience in small business cover many topics. For more information visit Small Business Resources or go to http://www.SmallBusinessDelivered.com
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