Create Interest for a More Effective Yellow Pages Ad 02 November 2011 Walter-Reynolds Design, Yellow Pages (0) Part 2 of a 4-Part series on Yellow Pages ad design In part 1 of this 4-part series, we discussed attracting attention to your Yellow Pages ad. Today, in part 2, we are looking at a closely related topic - creating interest. As a Yellow Pages user scans the pages of a particular heading in the directory - their eyes are jumping from one focal point to another. They are also filtering what their eyes are seeing based on criteria that are both conscious and subconscious. The content of the focal point that you design in your ad to momentarily stop their eye needs to get caught by this filter and immediately create enough interest for the user to want to stay and dig a little deeper into the rest of your ad. The Scan An example of the filtering process mentioned above would be similar to someone scanning a list of names looking for their own. The human brain is so powerful - we don’t need to read every name because in our mind we have a set of criteria or filters defining what our name looks like. We can quickly identify our name from very long lists arranged in random order. This is mostly a conscious process. But what happens if you scan across something in the list you were not consciously looking for, like the name of a good friend. Your mind actually identifies the name based on subconscious criteria and we find our conscious self surprised by the name we just discovered. This is why, in addition to attracting attention, creating interest is so important. Someone could be scanning the pages with your brand in mind or your particular service, but if the subconscious filter grabs onto something in another ad before your brand or service is found then your chances of getting that phone call just dropped dramatically. The Logo Trap One of the traps many companies fall into with their Yellow Pages ads is making their name or logo the overwhelming focal point of their ad. They are proud of their name and their business and want to shout it from the mountain tops. They place it top and center and make it the largest item in their ad. Unfortunately if the Yellow Pages user is unfamiliar with your company or brand, there is little chance of a connection, either conscious or subconscious. Leveraging Your Headline If you are using a headline (I highly recommend it), it should be between 5-8 words long and occupy about 10-25% of the ad. It needs to be concise. Avoid using unnecessary adjectives and keep the message simple and clear. The message is critical and needs to relay the benefit of choosing your company to the Yellow Pages user. This is not an easy task and should be given ample thought. Many times when I ask clients for the benefits of choosing their company I get a list of products and features. Your products and features may be impressive but what people really want to know is how those products and features will benefit them and make their lives easier or better. The headline also needs to differentiate you among your competitors. In many industries this task is nearly impossible. Sometimes companies may be limited by government regulations or sometimes the technology or service has limitations. In these cases you may be able to create a perceived difference by using a unique approach to communicating the benefit or your brand. Service or support differentiation is another approach but has to include a reason to believe such as a guarantee, promise or customer testimonial to be believable and effective. Leveraging Your Image The image or photo in your ad should be unique, realistic (not staged looking), relevant to the category and also must support the headline. It should display the solution to the problem driving the user to the Yellow Pages. Reflecting the problem back at the user generally reduces the effectiveness of Yellow Pages ads. You can create additional interest in your ad by highlighting special offers like discounts, coupons, free services or free information. These are most effective when they are given special treatment like bold text or reversed in a circle, starburst or other interesting shape. We’ve attracted their attention and now we’ve got them digging in to the content of your ad. In part 3 we will be looking at answering a need with the general content of your ad. Are people digging in to the content of your Yellow Pages ad? Leave a comment and let us know.