How to Write Effective Yellow Pages Ads

How to Write Effective Yellow Pages Ads

Advertising in the Yellow Pages is a tried and tested way to gain new customers for local businesses. But how do you write a yellow page advertisement that will get your phone ringing hot?

In this article, we guide you through how to create an effective Yellow Pages ad strategy.

How to Create a Yellow Pages Advertising Strategy

There are 4 important factors to consider in your Yellow Pages advertising strategy:

  1. Everyone competes on an equal footing
  2. Target qualified buyers
  3. Remember that the ad lasts for a year
  4. Competitive? YES. But once you know how, it's EASY to shine!

1. Everyone competes on an equal footing

One of the benefits of Yellow Pages advertising is that it levels the playing field. In other words, multi-national companies are competing side-by-side with mum and pop businesses all with the same size ad -- all on an equal footing!

Anyone who buys the largest ad can automatically move to the front of the directory listing. And the businesses that have been in a certain category, at the largest size for the longest period of time, are the ones that appear at the front of that category.

As you can imagine then, securing no.1 spot in a major category is worth big money. Many fortunate small businesses have had lucrative buyout offers from multinationals purely because they hold the coveted no.1 spot in their category.

2. Target qualified buyers

In most situations, people who have taken the time to look up your ad in the Yellow Pages are in the market to buy your type of product or service either right now or in the near future. All they need is information that helps them choose between suppliers.

3. Remember that the ad lasts for a year

The ad you place in Yellow Pages or in any other annual directory is perhaps more important than most any other form of advertising. The reason for that is that it lasts an entire year. That means once it's in there you can‘t change it. If it flops, it flops for an entire year. 

4. Competitive? YES. But once you know how, it's EASY to shine!

  • Most ads in Yellow Pages are ineffective
  • Though you're surrounded by your competitors it provides you with an opportunity to  shine

How to Maximise the Impact of Your Yellow Pages Ads

There are 3 ways to maximise the impact of your yellow pages adverts:

  1. Ad size 
  2. Avoid using white space
  3. Layout

1. Ad zise

Have you ever been told by your Yellow Pages advertising representative that it‘s a must to have the biggest ad you can possibly afford? And ever think that was a sales pitch designed to squeeze more money out of your pocket? Unfortunately for advertisers, it‘s true. With normal newspaper advertising you can double the size of an ad but your responses won‘t double.

With Yellow Pages advertising on the other hand, your responses more than double. In fact, according to independent research there’s a 1-4-7-11 rule. That is, if the smallest ad, for example a '1 Unit Display Ad.‘ generates 1 call, the next size up will generate 4, the next, 7 and finally the last, 11.

So — you can experience as much as 4 times the responses, just by doubling the size of your ad.

2. Avoid using white space 

lf anyone has ever told you to make sure your ad has lots of "white space" please forget that you have ever heard that. White space doesn't sell. Too much white space is unnecessarily costing you money. Obviously, it's very important that your ad can be read and white space does play a role in helping maximise the readability of your text but don't go overboard.

3. Layout

The most important part of your ad is the copy but the layout still does have an impact on whether or not your ad gets read and acted upon. Here are some tips to help you create an eye catching and readable layout.

  • Creating an eye-catching layout DOESN'T mean featuring fancy graphics, ultra-hip designs, in-your face borders or illustrations.
  • The headline should span 1/5 of the height of your ad. lt should be up to 4 times the size of the body copy.
  • Use body copy that is 9 or 10 point or 8 point if you have a very small ad. Any smaller and it's too difficult to read.
  • Ideally, use a serif typeface for your body copy as studies show that these types of fonts are the easiest to read.
  • Place your logo at the bottom right of the ad.
  • If you offer a personal service and your business is all about you, feature a headshot of you above the logo.
  • Run your body copy in two columns down the left hand side or the ad.
  • Watch out for borders. Theoretically, a thick bordered ad will stand out. BUT- if every other ad in a classification has a thick border, all the ads look the same. If every ad in a classification has a squiggly, odd shaped, thick. eye-catching border, the page looks like one big mess. Nothing stands out. In many cases it's far better to run an ad with a thin border because doing that will sometimes make your ad stand out amongst the ads with thick borders.

Lisa Ormenyessy

Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at

I help SME's gain leads easily without breaking the bank. Talk with me and discover how to spend your marketing dollar and achieve sales using simple, proven, low cost strategies. | SavvySME Members Only Offer - Request your Free Marketing Review Session (valued at $397) & identify the hidden opportunities in your business & put a stop to the expensive leaks in your marketing