Service Buyers and Product Buyers Don't Seek the Same Yellow Page Information

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Service Buyers and Product Buyers Don't Seek the Same Yellow Page Information

By: Lynella Grant

Yellow Page Directory Users Have a Variety of Motivations

For your Yellow Page ad to be effective, it needs to anticipate and answer the questions that customers have in mind. That's what made them pick up the directory in the first place. What those questions would be differs for each directory category - a restaurant or tire store don't have much overlap.

The key to getting calls (and sales) is anticipating exactly which information will suit their needs. That's why several businesses providing nearly identical products or services can have such different responses from their ads.

Service Buyers Probe for Intangibles

When people are considering making a purchase of services they seek out more information because of the intangible nature of what they're purchasing.

David Frey notes, [There are] "slight differences between consumers who are looking for businesses selling products versus businesses selling services. The consumers looking for services want to know about the quality of their work, their experience and credibility, and an indication that they can be trusted. This information makes a BIG impact on how you will develop your yellow page advertisement." Visit his website:

The kind of service a business provides often dictates whether people would make their choice from the Yellow Page listings. They're more likely to rely on a Yellow Page ad to choose a tree surgeon than a medical surgeon. Expensive or skill-sensitive services are usually selected through referrals, rather than from any kind of advertisement. In such a case, the directory is used primarily for contact information, not to assess the relative merits of the providers listed there.

Product Buyers Want to Find More than Information about the Goods

Sure, product buyers may want to know about features, sizes, colors, brands, etc. But they, too, will be searching for the intangibles that set one operation apart from the others. Can you service the product? What are your payment options, etc.?

After all, they know that they can buy a particular product from many different sellers. But what sets those merchants apart in their mind is how sellers would make the sale most convenient for them. And they're examining your ad for signs that you're going to be easy to do business with. That goes way beyond your listing products carried.

Counteract the Widespread Mistrust Factor

People have been burned, and are less trusting than they used to be. They've seen the television exposes of shoddy businesses and dishonest service people. They've been overcharged and manipulated, and they don't want more of the same. So they're less and less likely to trust any ad's self-declarations. Build in confidence-building elements like testimonials, guarantees and return policies, certifications, awards, and other quality assurances. Trust building information may be the tie breaker with other similar ads.

The directory jams all the competitors in together. And they look pretty much the same. So you need to study what your competitors are doing (and not just in their ad), so you can point out differences that matter to directory users. Start with the businesses within your heading. But you have other less apparent competition, you should check out as well. If someone doesn't buy from you (or someone else in your heading), where are they most likely to go instead?

For example, if you sell draperies, you might find that buyers decide to get blinds or awnings instead. If you can solve all their window or too-much-sun challenges, make that clear. Or you might see the need to place a small ad in those headings also.

Get to Really Know Your Customer

Buyers have more choices than ever. And they're better informed. Many rely on the Internet search engines, even when they're going to buy from a nearby supplier. So the directory is only one way they get desired facts. But unless you're in tune with the stated and unstated information they're looking for, your window of opportunity can pass in seconds.

Directory users really are looking for a reason to choose one business from the rest - so they can move to the next stage in their buying process. Make their task simple by knowing their preferences well enough to provide exactly what they want to know. That makes you their only logical choice.

Copyright 2005 Off the Page

About The Author

Dr. Lynella Grant. Author, Yellow Page Smarts: Make more money from your directory ad in tandem with your website Smarter ways to attract more YP customers. Local Search resources Off the Page Press (719) 395-9450


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