Yellow Page ad


#1

Group,
I just met with my yp (yellow page) rep last week and I need to submit my proof. I know there’s a few marketing gurus on here, so I thought I’d ask for you suggestions/feedback on what to do for this years ad.
I’ve had good results and feedback from previous year’s ads, but I’ve never been really happy/satisfied with the end product. I’ve always been the 1st and largest display ad under window cleaning in our main book – which gives my quite a few calls.
I’ll attach a couple of similar ads that I’ve run for the last couple of years (not sure if I can attach the actual yp ad due to size). These were more rough proofs that were tweaked before publishing. My ad size is approx 2.5” x 4” and costs me under $2000 for the year. We have 3 yp books in our area, but I only do a display ad in our main/most popular book (the other 2 books I have a bold listing and a in-column ad)
I look forward to any and all comments. I’d also love to see any ads or flyers that any of you have done.
P.S. Paneless, I really like the way you re-did that one guys flyer – want to re-do my ad? :slight_smile:
Note: I tried to attach files but they’re too big (around 5 and 8 MB). I’ll try to send them to Chris and Alex and see if there’s anyway they can post them. They’re in word and pdf files. Any other suggestions?


#2

Hey Jason, sure - throw the ad up and let us play with it, we’ll help you out.

If you have difficulty sending it to Alex or Chris, email it to me at [B]kevin@windowcleaningbusinesscoach.com[/B] and I’ll shrink it and upload it for the thread, for everyone to comment on.

Let’s get started now, though, on the actual copy. Who exactly is your target demographic with this ad?


#3

DO NOT sign off on it until we look at it.

Basic rule of thumb- if your yellow page [B]ad[/B] says the same thing as your business card, it is not an ad. It is a [B]listing[/B]

For God’s sake, do not listen to anything the rep says. They are not marketers, they are salesman.


#4

I can get it up with out shrinking it if you like. chris@windowcleaner.com Its funny this comes up as we are just in the process of redesigning a couple of our books. Im anxious to see what you guys come up with. Your in a good spot here Jason CFP AND PANELESS are 2 of the best marketing minds I know.


#5

Sorry group, I haven’t been able to download any of my files (due to size and inability to re-size them). I was able to scan a copy of last years ad though - sorry for the poor quality, but at least you can get an idea of content and layout. Thanks,
P.S. I sent some pics to Kevin in case he wants to try to come up with something.



#6

I think I am giving a little too much advice…


#7

Okay - here’s Jason’s updated ad from last year


#8

[B]CFP:[/B] Some really good advice, overall.

Hey Jason…one quick question:

What type of client has called you from these ads in the past?
[B][INDENT]Residential?
Commercial?
CCU?
Hard-water stain removal?
Pressure washing?[/INDENT][/B]
I would recommend that you zero in and focus on the most responsive OR the most lucrative (hopefully the same!) type of client that has contacted you from the yp ad in the past.

Trying to effectively communicate to so many types of customers in such a small space can be very difficult. If you want to stay with the 5-kinds of customer thing, that’s cool, we can work with it, just wanted to make the suggestion.

Here are some observations from my side of the table. Overall, I think the ad is good compared to a lot of YP ads out there, and probably lots of window cleaning companies would even be jealous of it! That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved on, though, and these adjustments I believe could help your YP ad:

[INDENT][B]1.Benefits not features.[/B] The client is constantly thinking “what’s in it for me?” and benefits communicate that clearly. So change every feature into one - for example, make “Insured” into “You can sleep well knowing that your home is protected.” That kind of thing. As far as I can tell, you have 2 benefits so far, which is better than none! You have “100% Customer Satisfaction” and “Brighten up your day”.

[B]2. Remove frills.[/B] Removing the illustration of the house from the top left will free up more space for juicier copy.

[B]3. Business name to bottom. [/B]Leave the top for the main headline, which should be the most amazing benefit you can think of for the client.

[B]4. Define the value of your IWCA reference. [/B]Change wording to “[I]Accredited [/I]Member of IWCA” or something similar, to suggest that you have [I]earned [/I]this qualification.
[B]
5. Change wording to make your job hard in their eyes! [/B]You don’t want the client to think that your job is “easy” or “safe”, but instead that you are a trained professional with the expertise and really expensive specialized equipment needed to get their super-dangerous work done right.

[B]6. Website? Email? [/B]

[B]7. Create a compelling offer. [/B]Preferably an irresistible one. Suggestion: “Prices as low as $19 !!” (and then have some promotion where if they prepay for 5 services up front, they can get the first one for only $19) or something similar.

8.[B] Incorporate a “Big idea”[/B] as some experts have put it. Suggestions: “New for 2008! A cure for headaches!” or something similar.

[B]9. Tell people what to do. [/B]Provide a direct clear command to “Call us now!” or “Visit our website now!” if you’ve designed it to do some heavy lifting for you in the sales process.

[B]10. Incorporate a measurable response mechanism.[/B] This will allow you to determine just how effective/ineffective the ad is, so that you’ll know for next year whether or not it’s worth tweaking or scrapping altogether. Two of your easiest direct response mechanisms: a unique URL or a promo code for the phone.

[B]11. Switch generic photos.[/B] Replace them with photos of YOU doing the types of client that you want to show off and focus on. This will make your work “legit” and help build your credibility in their eyes.

[B]12. Testimonials. [/B]People respond to them. They work. Make them real and specific, and include full names.

[B]13. Personality. [/B]Add a photo of YOU looking straight into the eyes of the prospective client and tell them that you are the man behind the company and that they can absolutely trust you.

[B]14. Reword your guarantee. [/B]Offer a crazy, no-holds-barred one. This would be a good place to have some fun, and show that you enjoy life and aren’t all business. Something like “The home of the “If you’re not totally happy, we’ll massage your feet” guarantee!” or something similar.[/INDENT]

How does this stuff sound to you?

Let me know what you think, and I’ll make an ad for you that exemplifies the principles you want to incorporate from the list above.[INDENT][SIZE=“1”]
[B]Note[/B]: I would suggest that everyone reading this post, copy and paste this information into a Word document and retain a copy for your records, for the next time you create an ad for your company. I don’t hesitate to charge $200 or more for a single ad evaluation like this one, so take it. It’s free! [/SIZE][/INDENT]

Kevin


#9

Wow!!! CFP and Paneless, you guys are amazing! When I first looked at his ad, I thought , “nice ad”. Then after reading what you guys said about it I thought, “Geeze, I don’t know anything about marketing”. You guys are intense! Where does someone learn about marketing on this level? Books? Websites? Seminars? Where?!!!


#10

[SIZE=“2”]*Normally I charge $199 for an ad review[/SIZE] :smiley:


#11

Whoa, bro…take a deep breath!

Thx for the compliment. It’s exciting isn’t it, to imagine the difference that fine-tuning your marketing machine could make for your window cleaning business? And it makes me happy to see this light go off in your head, and to see your anxious interest in harnessing this powerful information, pitbull21!

For lots more free marketing advice, please check out the [B][I]website [/I][/B]in my signature.

Incidentally, you may be interested in my [I][B]first book[/B][/I] which is almost ready - which is totally focused on helping small window cleaning business owners figure out and implement powerful marketing strategies as quickly as possible. It basically takes proven marketing truths and applies them to your window cleaning business.

[I][INDENT]Aside from that, it’s all about being committed to studying, understanding, and implementing techniques and strategies from the masters of marketing.
[/INDENT][/I]
The [B][I]Seminar [/I][/B]model is incredibly practical and useful too, and an opportunity that every member on here deserves a shot at. This will be happening very soon for the first time in our industry, too.

A 1-day thing, up here in Toronto, and 1-day down in Atlanta or somewhere similarly centrally convenient. Priced from around $200 per person or so, nothing crazy.

Of course, I’ll let everyone know when it happens.


#12

Thanks for the advice so far guys. Much Appreciated.
Paneless, I’ll include some answers (in red) within your post below:

What type of client has called you from these ads in the past? [COLOR=“Red”]All - but mostly residentail, commercial and customers that have hard water stains (major problem in our area)[/COLOR]

Residential?
Commercial?
CCU?
Hard-water stain removal?
Pressure washing?

I would recommend that you zero in and focus on the most responsive OR the most lucrative (hopefully the same!) type of client that has contacted you from the yp ad in the past. [COLOR=“Red”]That’s why I mentioned “Specializing in Hard Water Stain Removal” But some customers don’t realize they have stains on their windows – they just think they’re dirty and want them cleaned – so they call for a cleaning when in fact thier job is more of a restoration job.[/COLOR]

Trying to effectively communicate to so many types of customers in such a small space can be very difficult. If you want to stay with the 5-kinds of customer thing, that’s cool, we can work with it, just wanted to make the suggestion. [COLOR=“Red”]I do like being diversified – it adds stability and it’s worked well in the past.[/COLOR]

Here are some observations from my side of the table. Overall, I think the ad is good compared to a lot of YP ads out there, and probably lots of window cleaning companies would even be jealous of it! That doesn’t mean it can’t be improved on, though, and these adjustments I believe could help your YP ad:

1.Benefits not features. The client is constantly thinking “what’s in it for me?” and benefits communicate that clearly. So change every feature into one - for example, make “Insured” into “You can sleep well knowing that your home is protected.” That kind of thing. As far as I can tell, you have 2 benefits so far, which is better than none! You have “100% Customer Satisfaction” and “Brighten up your day”. [COLOR=“Red”]Good advice – I know that’s true from attending a few marketing seminars at the IWCA conventions – I just find it hard to implement in a small yp ad and I usually do more of that in my brochures/flyers.[/COLOR]

  1. Remove frills. Removing the illustration of the house from the top left will free up more space for juicier copy. [COLOR=“Red”]The ad you posted wasn’t my ad – just a proof that the yp company threw out as an idea with generic photos - I use my own photos and a slightly different layout for my 2006 ad – my 2007 ad is posted under my other post as a thumbnail.[/COLOR]

  2. Business name to bottom. Leave the top for the main headline, which should be the most amazing benefit you can think of for the client. [COLOR=“Red”]But there’s so many :slight_smile: I’ll think on that.[/COLOR]

  3. Define the value of your IWCA reference. Change wording to “Accredited Member of IWCA” or something similar, to suggest that you have earned this qualification. [COLOR=“Red”]I was thinking about not usin the IWCA or AUWC logos in this years ad as it probably means little to new customers since they don’t really know what they are for. Last year I put the Chamver of commerce logo in my ad and I joined the local HBA assoc and wondered if I should list those since I feel the customer would see more “value” in that since they’re more likely to be familiar with them. What do you think?[/COLOR]

  4. Change wording to make your job hard in their eyes! You don’t want the client to think that your job is “easy” or “safe”, but instead that you are a trained professional with the expertise and really expensive specialized equipment needed to get their super-dangerous work done right. [COLOR=“Red”]How about something like … Leave those difficult windows to us - We have the equipment and expertise to do the job right"[/COLOR]

  5. Website? Email? [COLOR=“Red”]I’m hoping to have a website up sometime soon – just starting working with someone on that.[/COLOR]

  6. Create a compelling offer. Preferably an irresistible one. Suggestion: “Prices as low as $19 !!” (and then have some promotion where if they prepay for 5 services up front, they can get the first one for only $19) or something similar. [COLOR=“Red”]Good advice - but my target market is larger homes and business - our minimum for new jobs is $100 for residential and $50 for small commercial. I want to attract new customer, but not price shoppers … maybe - Homes starting at $99 ??[/COLOR]

  7. Incorporate a “Big idea” as some experts have put it. Suggestions: “New for 2008! A cure for headaches!” or something similar. [COLOR=“Red”]OK[/COLOR]

  8. Tell people what to do. Provide a direct clear command to “Call us now!” or “Visit our website now!” if you’ve designed it to do some heavy lifting for you in the sales process.

  9. Incorporate a measurable response mechanism. This will allow you to determine just how effective/ineffective the ad is, so that you’ll know for next year whether or not it’s worth tweaking or scrapping altogether. Two of your easiest direct response mechanisms: a unique URL or a promo code for the phone. [COLOR=“Red”]This is something I need to track and measure better. I always ask new customer how they found us, but I don’t yet have a system in place to effectively measure the results. I’ve also thought of asking people that say they found us in the yp what page they’re on. That way I’ll know what book they’re calling from and where in the book they found us (in-column ad, display ad, which heading (ie. windows cleaning /pressure washing)[/COLOR]

  10. Switch generic photos. Replace them with photos of YOU doing the types of client that you want to show off and focus on. This will make your work “legit” and help build your credibility in their eyes. [COLOR=“Red”]As mentioned, those weren’t in my ad - just samples from the yp company.[/COLOR]

  11. Testimonials. People respond to them. They work. Make them real and specific, and include full names. [COLOR=“Red”]We get lots of over the phone/in person compliments, but few in writing (unless they put a quick note with theire payment like … Thanks for the great job - windows look perfect! How do you guys get testomonials? Obviousely you can just call the customer up and ask them for one? Any other ideas?[/COLOR]

  12. Personality. Add a photo of YOU looking straight into the eyes of the prospective client and tell them that you are the man behind the company and that they can absolutely trust you. [COLOR=“Red”]I know a lot of attorneys, doctors, realators put their picture in their ads, but I don’t see many in the service business do that – although their is a guy I know that does carpet cleaning and he has his picture in his ads – funny thing is he’s a goofy lookin guy – it might be hurtin his business :)[/COLOR]

  13. Reword your guarantee. Offer a crazy, no-holds-barred one. This would be a good place to have some fun, and show that you enjoy life and aren’t all business. Something like “The home of the “If you’re not totally happy, we’ll massage your feet” guarantee!” or something similar. [COLOR=“Red”]Sounds good, but I prefer to keep it professional as I want the customers’ first impression to be that we are professional and will stand by what we say.[/COLOR]
    How does this stuff sound to you?
    [COLOR=“Red”]Thanks again for your advice CFP and Kevin. Keep it coming… Luckily, there’s usually only 1 or 2 other display ads in our yp book – most (about 20 w/c business listed in our phone books) just have a basic listing or small in-column ad – so I really haven’t had to be great (spend lot of money) on my marketing, I’ve just tried to be better than the rest. Last year I spent less that $2500 in advertising and we grossed well into 6 figures - so we’re doin OK, but I want to do better.[/COLOR]


#13

Hey Jason. Thx for the detailed reply.

I’m just waiting on those few last answers, and we’ll get this done for you!

Here’s they are:

[INDENT]1.[B] Main, most impressive benefit [/B]that you’d like to leverage

  1. Could you provide a [B]little photo of you (chest up only)[/B] looking straight at the camera, and smiling? Maybe in uniform, or a shirt and tie. Trust me on this one. Think Lee Iacocca stepping in front of the camera to put a trustworthy face out there for Chrysler, or Dave Thomas for Wendy’s. People respond to real people. This is not common for window cleaning, even as it wasn’t for the 2 above examples, but it will instantly elevate the power and effectiveness of your marketing materials, including this ad.

  2. The [B]guarantee[/B] thing is also up to you, of course, and we’ll keep it simple, if that’s what you’d still prefer. The more interesting wording isn’t ‘unprofessional’, though - its [I]‘different, fun, and viral’[/I], and will generate buzz for your company. But I won’t bully you, its up to you. Simply one last gentle push to implement my recommendation.

  3. [B]Advanced tip[/B]: Once we select the main benefit, THEN we’ll select the main photograph. More to come on that…[/INDENT]

(Once we complete number 4 above, we can also properly select the most effective response device, and incorporate that into a URL)

Looking forward to creating this supercharged ad for you!

Kevin


#14

Is the phone number right? I thought all numbers in the States started with 555? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m sure there are better photo’s around, perhaps one with your work vehicle if its semi-decent?
There’s no guarantee?

I’d still be pleased with this ad as it stands.


#15

I would not use a vehicle photo. Make it personable, put a face to your company. If we cannot make a personal connection, we fall back into a commodity.

With any commodity, price is king. Who wants to battle on that field…


#16

That is a really nice ad for under 2 grand a year. How big is the area your yellow pages services?

bill harkins


#17

I thought a vehicle photo would put a face to a company?
Where’s the personal connection in this ad?
If price is king I don’t want those clients!
All replies appreciated.


#18

A vehicle doesn’t add personality. Just reinforces that you’re a little more credible.

A photo of the face of the owner creates the [I]personal [/I]connection, and puts a [I]human [/I]face on the company.

There isn’t such a photo, now. One is needed.


#19

Thanks Kevin,
If you look like a hardened criminal would a vehicle photo be better?


#20

Hmm…even a hardened criminal could look good with Photoshop :wink:

And besides, the photo is small, and anyone can look good in a small photo