50% of Yellow Page Directory Users are Looking for Just One Thing
by: Dr. Lynella Grant
Directory Users Seek Information about Location First People who open the Yellow Pages already have a desire to buy. That sets it apart from all other advertising media. For a brief time, the eager-to-buy directory user checks the competition, to see what each of them offers. They scan for solutions that satisfy their needs. Readers hope to find ads that leap out from the rest, and will simplify their choice.
So they ignore any ad that doesn’t match what they’re looking for. And the piece of information that fully half of them look for first is the location of the business. Buyers want to know how easy it is for them to get there. Businesses that are too far away are eliminated. So their ads aren’t even read.
Convenience is the preliminary deciding factor. As readers scan through the heading, they mentally delete: too far…, too far…, don’t know where that is (so no)….
After Sorting by Location, Then they Read the Ads The selected ads are then studied in more detail. Not until that point, does the information in the ad actually get read or considered. Aside from location, when directory users are in the “information gathering phase,” they’re looking for many different kinds of answers, like hours, payment methods, and brands offered (which differ according to heading). They’re being educated by what they read in the ads. They gain a clearer idea about their options and who provides it (you being just one).
Directory users don’t want to drag that step out. So it’s up to your ad to jump to the front of their brain with a clear indication that you offer exactly what they’re looking for. Look-alike ads just make readers work harder to uncover what they want to find.
There’s no need to overcomplicate the matter. The test of a good Yellow Page ad is its ability to generate calls. You don’t have to be a graphic designer or a marketing whiz to prepare an effective ad. You just have to know your customers well enough to know how they think and what they want. You need to be able to signal to them that you’ve got what they’re looking for.
The Ad Sells the Call or Next Step Some ads prompt directory readers to pick up the phone and call one or more of the listed businesses. Callers often continue down their short (close) list until they can find enough of a reason to pick one.
Yellow Page industry studies show the average number of calls a user makes is 5.3. An advertiser doesn’t have to be the first choice, as long as it’s among the few chosen for a call or visit. At that point, the business owner’s ability to field questions or “sell” is more influential than the published directory information. After the potential buyer closes the directory, its work is done. They’ve move on – one step closer to a purchase.
Location Defines Who Your Competition Is The Small Business Administration states that distance is a major factor as to who comes to buy from you. The average independent store draws the majority of its customers from not more than a quarter of a mile away. The average chain store draws most of customers from less than three-quarters of a mile away. For the average shopping center, that figure is four miles. Service business have different distances.
Many kinds of business really only need to worry about competitors within their immediate area. You don’t have to beat out every other business in the heading. Compare your ad to those competitors within four miles, and make sure your ad is more prominent or enticing than theirs.
Some of the biggest, high-powered ads ahead of yours simply won’t be called because they’re inconvenient. You need to know where your customers come from, and how far they’re willing to travel for you. Here’s where knowing their specific mindset and priorities pays off. Ask them; take a survey.
You don’t need a big ad if you are the only game in town, or in a very small heading. Directory users can’t help but see you. Buyers are likely to call everyone who looks appropriate, if there are only a few. So you’ll get called anyway – as long as you’re listed.
Unless a business has the biggest and best ad, most of the money spent for display ads is wasted. That sad truth applies to most of the business headings. Cut through the prevailing misinformation, and learn what makes a Yellow Page ad effective at Yellow Page Sage – http://www.yellowpagesage.com.
Location Matters on the Internet, Too Already, 25% of online searchers are looking for information about business location. And that percentage is increasing. Most customers prefer to spend their money close to home – it’s more convenient. But rather than consult the printed Yellow Page directory, they search online. Searchers add additional terms like zip code, city, and region to narrow their search. This strategy is called “local search.” It’s a boon for connecting buyers and local businesses. Because location really does matter to buyers.
(c) 2004, Lynella Grant
About The Author
Dr. Lynella Grant is an expert in visual communication, how printed materials send signals that reinforce or negate the verbal message. Decode and repair your unintended impressions. Author, “The Business Card Book” and “Yellow Page Smarts.” http://www.yellowpagesage.com (719) 395-9450 Off the Page Press P.O. Box 4880 Buena Vista, CO 81211
This article was posted on July 13, 2004