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How to Critique Your Own Yellow Page Ad

How to Critique Your Own Yellow Page AdDr. Lynella ... what you know about your ... goal is to see your Yellow Page display ... way a ... user sees it. You canít ac

How to Critique Your Own Yellow Page Ad
Dr. Lynella Grant

Forget what you know about your business
Your goal is to see your Yellow Page display advertisement
the way a directory user sees it. You canít act like you
know anything about your enterprise that isnít there, on the
page. Look at your ad without pride or being identified with
your operation. If you pretend itís someone elseís, you can
spot the flaws youíd otherwise overlook.

Mentally put the competitionís name on your ad. Does what
you say apply equally well to them? If it does, you havenít
effectively set yourself apart. When all the ads seem alike
buyers think they can get the same thing from any of them
(and are more likely to select by price). The goal isnít
just to look different, but to actually be different in ways
customers notice and care about.

Does the ad provide the facts readers and callers need?
Directory users have already decided to buy something. So
theyíre looking in the Yellow Pages to find who provides it.
This is the educational phase of the buying process. As soon
as a person finds enough information to take the next step,
they close the directory and move on.

Customers want information. Theyíre looking for some reason
to prefer some business over the rest. Well-thought-through
ads make their job much easier. So give readers the precise
information theyíre looking for. Itís hard to do that unless
you understand your customersí mindset and priorities. It
helps to be absolutely clear about how youíre different from
other businesses in the heading.

Look at the ad as a whole
Now squint your eyes so you canít make out the words. This
lets you get the overall impression. Most ads just get
scanned, so the words themselves are only read if thereís a
double-take that captures the readerís attention.

Is the whole image pleasant to look at? Does it reveal an
attractive, unique personality of the business? Is there a
business-like, competent tone? Do all the parts, from the
fonts and images, to messages, all mesh and express the same
distinctive flavor?

Are there distractions from the image or message? Does every
element carry its weight and support the whole mood? Fat
borders and cutesy graphics use valuable space, without much
pay-off. If thereís color, is it used effectively? Does it
contribute or distract?

Notice the business name. Does it tell you what the
enterprise actually does (aside from the category itís in)?
Generic names like R&J Enterprises donít cut it. If the name
isnít informative, you might need a slogan or tagline - but
do make it unique to you.

Is the information arranged to be easy to read?
Every ad is a compromise between saying enough and arranging
it to clearly communicate an attractive impression. Does the
most important information stand out? Is it easy to find
(without being too packed in)? What catches the eye first?
Second? Third?

How complete is the information? Does it provide what
callers are most likely to ask about? Customers are
concerned about convenience. Does the ad include crucial
location, hours, extra services, parking, payment options,
after-hours contact, etc.? Is there a way for them to get
extra information (like a booklet or from a Web site)? Give
bonus points for that.

Look word for word. Is every one essential? Is anything
important left out? Is it organized with bullets or clusters
so related information hangs together?

Next, consider the ads around it
A Yellow Page ad never appears in isolation. And what goes
on with the nearby ads influences the way people respond to
yours - more than the specifics of your ad. What else is on
the page, and the pages before and after yours? Be honest
now, do they do a better job of grabbing the eye? Is the
whole page a blur - without a clear attention grabber? And
if there is one, what makes it stand out better than yours?
How can you improve on it?

Assessing your ad is the first step to making a better one
The real value of critiquing your Yellow Page ad is to
sharpen your own eye to pick up the crucial differences
among competing ads. Practice in other categories where you
donít have a stake. Soon you can tell in a glance which ads
have more appeal - and why.

Find free expert assistance in developing a first-rate
Yellow Page ad at Or arrange
for a professional critique of your ad, so you donít miss a
trick. Either way, youíll find ample ways to improve your ad
that will improve its performance. And you will be ready
when the next directory comes around.
©2004Free Reprint Articles, Lynella Grant

Source: Free Articles from


--Dr. Lynella Grant, an expert in visual communication.
How printed materials send signals that strengthen or undo
the words. Author, The Business Card Book & Yellow
Page Smarts
Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450

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