Part 1 of a 4-Part series on Yellow Pages ad design
In the Yellow Pages environment, attracting attention with your ad is almost as important as having your phone number in the ad. All of your competitors are right there on the page next to you - if Yellow Pages users don’t look at your ad… there is no way they are going to call.
Attracting attention really does come down to seconds or fractions of a second. The human brain has a tendency to want to make sense out of whatever the eyes are looking at and searches for items that are visually prominent, familiar, different, or interesting. Here are three key factors for making sure your YP ad is attracting attention.
Many Yellow Pages ads have what I call ‘sameness syndrome’ where everything in the ad is similarly sized and spread out so the entire ad is just a pool of ‘blah’. Or they try to make so many things stand out that the result is pure chaos. To attract attention, your ad needs to have a strong visual focal point. A focal point uses design principles like size, contrast, color, shape, etc. to create a single point or area of focus. Ideally, your ad’s focal point will be strong enough to not only stand out within your ad, but also make your ad the focal point of the two page spread your ad occupies. Obviously, the size of your ad can have an impact on this – it is much easier to attract attention with a full page ad than an eighth page ad.
Headline and Image
The most common items to use as a focal point are a prominent headline, an engaging image or photo, or a paired combination of both. Your headline should be between 5-8 words long and occupy about 10-25% of the ad. Your image or photo needs to be visually simple. No more than three people in the photo. Avoid distracting backgrounds and crop in to the sweet spot of the photo or area of most interest. Ideally your image will occupy 25-35% of your ad.
As opposed to magazine advertising and depending on the size of your ad, generous use of white space in the Yellow Pages may be impractical. Content is the main driver of an effective Yellow Pages ad. Therefore the goal is more to provide adequate breathing space to the elements of your ad. Breathing space means leaving enough space between elements so they are clearly separate and do not run together. Without adequate breathing space your ad will appear cluttered and difficult to scan and read – not very inviting to someone searching for information.
In addition to these key factors, you want to use a professional-quality logo that is easily identified in the ad. People want to know they are dealing with a legitimate business that will be around if they have any issues with the product or service. You also want to make sure your information is formatted as short bullets and not paragraphs. Bullets are easier to scan and understand quickly. Paragraphs may look like too much work and Yellow Pages users may move on to your competitor’s ad.
If you follow these 3 keys to attracting attention you are off to a great start in developing an effective Yellow Pages ad. In part two we will be looking at a closely related topic - how to create interest in your ad once you have attracted the user’s attention.
How good is your Yellow Pages ad at attracting attention? Leave a comment and let us know.
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