How to Turn Yellow Into Gold: Effective Yellow Page Advertising is a Powerful Weapon

Yellow Page advertising is a unique animal. On one hand, placing an ad in the local Yellow Pages makes complete sense. Unlike someone thumbing through a magazine, most people who pick up the Yellow Pages are looking to buy.

On the other hand, when they turn to your section, they are immediately greeted with the ads of most of your competitors right there alongside your ad.
To end the debate right here, I will state without hesitation that most local service businesses can benefit greatly from effective Yellow Page advertising - not in spite of the situation described above, but because of it.
You see, most Yellow Pages ads are completely wasted. I would challenge you to pick any category and flip to it. What you will find are a bunch of ads that might as well say, “We don’t do anything different than anyone else, but here’s our phone number so you can call and ask for a quote.”
It’s no wonder I run across scores of business owners who complain they never get any results with their Yellow Pages ads.
So why are Yellow Page ads so bad?
Most end up being designed by the Yellow Page ad sales folks who basically tell you that you need a bigger ad, with a border, with color, with your name big and bold at the get the point.
You go look in the Yellow Pages and you see a big ad, with a border, with color, and a big fat logo at the top, and you copy it.
Go ahead, pull out the Yellow Pages and you'll see what I mean.
Here's the deal.
The Yellow Pages can be a great tool for most businesses. As I stated before, when people reach for the Yellow Pages, they are motivated and often ready to buy or find a business to visit.
Here's how to make sure that your Yellow Pages investment pays off.
Use a headline
This is an ad. You are trying to get someone to read your ad and understand how you are different from the 234 other businesses that do what you do listed right there on the same page. Since the Yellow Pages offers your reader a host of choices for every category (essentially all of your competitors), you must stand out. Grab them with an effective headline.
"Discover the World’s Most Comfortable Mattress"
Relax and enjoy soothing music while you bounce, poke, and feel your way to sleeping heaven in our entertaining showroom.
Who wouldn't want to call that company? Don't use up the most valuable space in the ad to give your company name and logo.
People go the Yellow Pages because they don't know whom to call. Give them a reason to call you. Use that space at the top of the ad to stand out. Once you draw them in, they will find your name.
Make them an offer 
The point is to generate a lead with your ad, not necessarily a sale.
Use your ad and your headline to offer a free report, offer a reason to call, or communicate how you are different from the rest. If you don't do this one thing in your ad, the calls you will get from your ad will all be price shoppers.
"FREE Report - 10 Proven Methods To More Restful Nights and Energetic Days"
 Remember, this is a very competitive environment; give them a reason to call you.
List benefits - Not features, benefits.
100% No Questions Asked Guarantee. Free Set-Up. We Recycle Your Old Mattress For You.
Delivered to your door when it's convenient for you.
Too many ads say things like “Quality work, in business over 29 years, family owned”. These may all be nice things, but they don't get at the heart of what your prospects want.
Call them to action
Make sure that all of your contact information--email, address, fax, store hours, location--you name it, are easy to find.
Ad size can matter
Don't waste a fortune on your ad. Make sure that it is big enough to stand out in the category. You don't need to dominate with size when you have a headline and a compelling offer. Ask your sales rep where a certain size ad would rank you in the category (biggest ads run first), and go from there. Aim for a great ad that is middle-of-the-road, size-wise.
Test your ad
One of the real downsides to a Yellow Pages ad is that, once you stick your ad in the book, it's there for 12 months without any way to change it.
Well in advance of your ad deadline, design two or three different ads and run them in a newspaper that fits your target market. Carefully track the success of each ad, and then run the winner in the permanent book. (Just running an ad that pulled well in a newspaper will make your ad stand out from the crowd.)
Resource: The Small Business Marketing Bible by David Frey – David has put together the greatest collection of real-world, small business-specific marketing advice and actual tools that I have ever come across.
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John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award-winning blogger, and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, published by Thomas Nelson, 2006.

He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Marketing SystemTM