Okay, it has a headline, picture, copy, and even a map. Heck, you’ve been running it for years. It seems to get lots of calls and everything is wonderful in “Directory-Land. ” But there’s something wrong. Did you spot it? How do you know it’s doing as well as it could? Where’s the feedback? If you’re receiving plenty of response, which part of the ad is working well and which is failing? In other words, are you tracking the results and also asking the customer why they picked your ad over the competition?
You may wonder why this is so important if the ad is pulling well. Suppose it wasn’t. Suppose it got a poor result. You would want to know what went awry so you could correct the trouble for the next issue, right? After all, why waste the space and money? But even the best ad can be improved. If you are getting a 5 to 1 return on the investment, perhaps you could be getting 10 to 1 with a better (a) headline, (b) picture, (c) copy points, or (d) all the above.
Therefore, you need to track the ad with a special phone number or other device. And even then, you should educate your phone staff to ask what attracted the user to the ad. If the vast majority say it’s the headline, are you wasting ad space with a large picture that apparently no one notices or cares about. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Of course, maybe you enjoy writing that fat check to the publisher every month. Figure that if you could squeeze just one more customer a week out of the ad, what would that mean to the bottom line? If a customer is worth $75, that’s $300 more a month. The are many ways to go about asking for feedback, and I’ve used them all. Okay you say, so who am I and how do I know so much?
I was a YP rep and consultant for nearly 25 years and, prior to that, had my own advertising agency. I also have a degree in marketing. I’ve been designing Yellow Page ads for the past three decades. So I have expertise in YP creation and have advised almost 7000 companies on how to put together the most effective YP ads. If you have a display or in-column ad, regardless of size, color or position, I can tell you it most probably needs improvement in the headline, artwork, body text, placement, book, or heading. You must understand the ROI or return on investment and learn how to track the results as well.
So consider getting some expert advice before you place your next ad. There are many good and inexpensive places to turn, some available on the internet. Make sure the consultant is well qualified with at least 25 years experience. Then you might uncover the other things your ad is missing that could affect your results and overall profits.
Jeffrey Hauser’s latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages, ” which can be viewed at http://www.poweradbook.com
He was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. Currently, he is the Marketing Director for thenurseschoice.com, a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.