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Directory and Yellow Page Advertising – Is It For You?

Directory and Yellow Page Advertising – Is It For You?

Among the bevy of advertising choices you’re faced with, there are endless directories to consider. Many people think only of online directories making it easy to dismiss Yellow Page advertising as a thing of the past. However, for many businesses its worth taking the time to consider if your business can benefit from Yellow Page or other directory advertising. 

Just yesterday I found a printed Yellow Page directory on my doorstep and I was a bit taken aback as I realized how long it had been since I had seen a printed yellow pages. Though I’d placed a vast amount of these ads more a decade or more ago and I know how effective they can be, I was still surprised by the substantial volume of the book (which covers a much larger geographic area than it did in the past) and the vast number of advertisers.

For many businesses directory advertising is an important component of their overall strategy.  So let’s look at variables to consider when it comes to directory advertising.

  • Target - According to, they receive nearly 60 million consumer visits per month.  While you can debate the quantity or quality of visits what is unique about their visitors is that they are looking to fulfill a need.  91% of YP users contacted a business, most within 24 hours.  The demographics in your area are a key consideration in determining if printed directories are right for you.
  • Reach - There are many directories to consider and the reach of a directly is something to consider.  Do they offer print, online and an app?
  • Competition – One of the most important factors to consider is whether or not your competitors are advertising.  If they are not, a simple listing might suffice.  However, if they are advertising you do want to take notice and evaluate all data that the director provides regarding your category.

If you decide that directory advertising is a good fit, here are some tips to consider when developing your advertisement.

“Give a lot of information in your ad.  This is not a newspaper ad, so visuals count for less and specifics count for more.  This is an arena where purchase decision are made, so give many, many reason to patronize your business.”

- Guerrilla Advertising, by Jay Conrad Levinson (Kindle)

  • Pick the low hanging fruit – take advantage of free online listings and build out your profile and monitor comments / reviews.  Maximizing your online footprint will help with your search engine optimization.  
  • Track your impact - many sites will provide stats so you can gauge the effectiveness of the listing.  Be sure to include the directory in your surveys when asking customers how they heard about you so you can independently evaluate effectiveness and compare it to data from the directory provider.
  • Be careful how you leverage your advertising - don’t direct your prospects/customers to reviews or testimonials in a directory because you are directing them to see your competition as well.
  • Category – which category or categories best suit your business?  Once you determine which categories interest you, take a look at the advertisers in those categories.
  • Size – first take a look at the size of the competitors’ ads.  You have the opportunity to appear as large or possibly larger than your competitors.

“Guerrillas have learned to control the page in their yellow pages directory – not by purchasing the largest ad but by running two different dimension ads on the same page.  This eliminates the possibility of anyone running a larger ad on that page.”

- Guerrilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson (Kindle)

  • Creative – If you opt for a listing only, consider making it bold.  If you opt for a display ad, remember your audience/prospect is motivated to purchase and seeking to answer the question “who should I purchase from?”  Be sure to include your unique selling proposition and you can ask questions that make them answer yes to you.  Be sure your information is clear and you let the prospect know exactly what action you want them to take.  If you cover a certain geographic area, be sure to specify it if the directory has a reach that is larger.  Before you finalize your ad, get the input of your sales people, customer service people, existing customers and any prospects that are willing to provide input.

“Your headline can gain or lose profits for you.  Create yours with a lot of careful thought.  This advertising also places you in direct confrontation with your competition, which should inspire you to be more precise with your message”

- Guerrilla Marketing Remix, by Jay Conrad Levinson (Kindle)

  • Testimonials – request testimonials from the advertising representative.  Don’t just read the testimonial, reach out them and ask questions to learn as much as possible about their strategy, creative and results. 
  • Partner – take a look at your Fusion or Joint Venture partners to see if you might be able to share an advertisement.  Also look to your suppliers (manufacturers) for market development (or co-op) funds.