An advertisement is only as effective as its content. If the content doesn’t reach out to potential customers and make a compelling case, the ad doesn’t make the sale, which means the people at your business never get the chance to do the same.

But even good ads can get lost in the shuffle of cyberspace if they don’t have the right keywords.

Just as the content is what determines whether a consumer contacts a business, it also is what makes the difference in whether a business surfaces during a query.

What content makes for a successful advertisement?

The Yellow Pages industry has identified specific content elements that lead to higher call volumes. We’ve learned this through in-depth comparative analysis of same-size ads under the same heading, focus groups of Yellow Page users, interviews with consumers, and metered advertising testing.

While the research we use focuses on print Yellow Pages ads, these insights apply when creating successful online advertisements as well. It all comes down to keywords that consumers use to search and, ultimately, make a decision.

You could call these tips “All I Really Need to Know I Learned From the Yellow Pages”:

  • Start with a catchy headline. This is your first chance to grab the customer’s attention. Rather than using the name of your business in the headline, include your business’ benefits or what differentiates you from your competitors.
  • Target your customer. The content of your ad should mesh with the type of customer you are trying to reach. Do you do residential or commercial work? Are you high-end or low-end?
  • Be specific about products and services. Don’t be vague. If relevant, name the brands you offer. Pick strategic keywords like “specialized,” “customized,” “guaranteed,” etc. Ads with the phrase “family-owned” (or something similar) draw 15% more calls than those that do not.
  • Recognize that location sells. Multiple locations and/or phone lines are major selling points. Similarly, listing specific areas, neighborhoods, or regions that you serve is a big plus, particularly if you deliver. Ads that list a specific set of areas for delivery receive almost 40% more calls on average.
  • List hours and availability. The ad should say when you can be reached. In particular, make sure you mention it if you are available 24 hours or have emergency service.
  • Explain some financial specifics. Include details about payment plans and financing arrangements and whether you accept insurance or work directly with insurance companies. Ads that include language noting these services draw 15% to 20% more calls on average.
  • Understand that “free” sells. If you offer free consultation or estimates, make sure to say so. Who doesn’t like free advice?
  • Establish your credibility. Is your staff certified? Have you won awards? How long have you been around? Ads that emphasize credentials, experience, or expertise are 50% to 100% more likely to be the top-drawing ads in comparative analysis.

Today’s shoppers expect marketers to communicate the essence of their business value in succinct language. In other words, they want you to speak to them in their terms so they can find you. The content of the advertisement must catch the attention of the shopper and quickly inform, and it also must catch the attention of the shopper’s search engine.

Bringing nearly three decades of Yellow Pages and local search experience, Larry Small, Director of Research for the Yellow Pages Association, spearheads and advises on all association-driven research activities for the industry. The Locals Only column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column

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About The Author: brings nearly three decades of Yellow Pages and local search experience, as Director of Research for the Yellow Pages Association (YPA). Larry spearheads and advises on all association-driven research activities for the industry, as well as blogs about the industry on the InsideYP blog.

Connect with the author via: Email



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