I know that the yellow pages' people will hate me for this, but your yellow pages' ad, although an essential part of your entire marketing machine, doesn't have to be of a large size, in color, prominently displayed, or tied-in with other gimmicks that the yellow pages salespeople have to offer. While necessary, the yellow pages should only be used as support systems.
The concept of this entire book is to teach you that creating top-of-mind awareness (not “institutional” advertising) should be your main marketing goal. When people have seen your ad, heard about you, or have a need for your services at any particular time, your contact information may or may not be available to them at that particular moment. Therefore, you want the yellow pages to back you up and not use them as a full-blown marketing medium.
Yellow pages salespeople more than likely don't have to sell you on the need to be in their directory, but where they make their commissions is by making your transaction as hefty as possible by selling you on size, color and other gimmicks. Quite frankly, you don't need it! Your mere presence is all that matters. However, there are some basic rules that you should follow.
The title of this commandment is: “Thou shall seek out (support systems) and spread out (among them).” Indeed, I'm a fervent believer in support systems since, when creating top of mind awareness, your potential clients may not necessarily need you at that moment, but they may do so later when your contact information may not be available to them.
Whether it's local directories, specialty directories, occupation-specific registries, industry or trade directories, yellow pages, search engines, Internet directories, or trade publications, you should seek them out and list your company in as many of them as you can. The trick, however, is to spread out. Essentially, being there (and being everywhere) is all that matters.
Don't be prominent in size or display. You can have a small black-and-white telephone ad carrying the name of your company, your tagline, what you do (your specialization), your “unique” product, and your free report offer.
However, spreading out, especially within a single directory, is your best bet for higher visibility. Be in as many locations as possible. For example, if you're a hairstylist specializing in house calls, your ad can say:
“Meg Kessler of ‘Scissors on Wheels' is your in-house haircutter! Specializing in onsite special event hair management and the creator of ‘Hassle-Free Hair Job'. To see how I can make sure that your next event has a good hair day, or for a free copy of my report ‘Styles That Can Make or Break Your Next Public Presentation', call right now at…”
Now, here's the trick. The yellow pages people might tell you to be in only one particular location of their directory. Don't. Try to be in as many locations that logically relate to your firm or your service, or that appeals to your market.
Your ad can be small but it should appear in as many sections of the directory as possible. For instance, beyond the obvious “Hair” section of the directory, the previous ad can also appear in “Weddings,” “Event Planning,” “Image Consultants,” “Modeling Agencies,” “Conference Planners,” “Color Consultants” even “Senior Citizen Services.” You get the picture.
This also applies to the Internet, with search engines and directories like “Yahoo,” “HotBot” and “Alta Vista.” You should not only try to be on as many of the major search engines as possible, but also try to spread out as much as possible among them using keywords that appeal to your market.
For instance, a search engine is one in which you conduct a search based on a keyword — a word that you want the engine to search. It will scan their entire database and find as many web sites that contain your keyword.
You might register your homepage according to a specific set of keywords, but if you register it under numerous keywords your hit-ratio will increase dramatically. Keywords don't necessarily have to relate to your content.
Those that also indirectly relate to your content — let alone to your firm, product, or service — should also be included. They should comprise of any word that may be tied to benefits you provide and your target market.
For example, a baker specializes in cookies. She not only bakes different kinds of cookies but also creates different shapes, sizes, designs and arrangements with them. One of her many creations are cookie baskets with bows and lettering for, among other things, weddings, bridal showers and baby showers. So what did she do? She registered her page under “cookies,” “weddings,” “marriages,” “showers,” “baby,” “brides,” “grooms,” “party,” “cakes,” “church,” “gifts,” “family,” “souvenirs,” “ideas,” “shopping,” etc.
Another support system that is often ignored is the answering machine. It should not be regarded as simply being a means of taking your calls and messages. Turn it into a support system as well. In fact, turn it into a salesperson working for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Your message should invite people to do something. That's direct response in action! For instance, does your message invite people to just leave a message? Or does it invite them to place an order for your free report?
Telephone companies usually offer multiple voice mailbox services, giving the caller the ability to either leave a general message or press a number in order to leave a message for a specific recipient in another mailbox. There's also the option to choose the number of boxes you wish to have on your phone. But a mailbox doesn't need to be associated with an actual person.
Here's a sample message: “Hi! You've reached Craig Jones of ‘Investment Mastery Inc.', where people learn how to be wise with their wealth. If you wish to leave me a message, press 1. To order my free insider's report, ‘Money-Making Magic: 8 Sure-Fire Strategies for Making Money in Stocks,' press 2.”
Ultimately, the object of “seek out and spread out” is to use as many support systems as possible. You want to be in front of your prospects often, but more importantly when they decide to buy from you. In other words, spread yourself thin. Don't be big. Be small But be everywhere!
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.