Thursday, May 27, 2004

I received the following email from Drew Cameron with some tips for Yellow Pages advertisers. Drew is a marketing consultant, not a YP industry insider, so I appreciate his approach to the business.


The first tip on "Heading Jumping" is a littly touchy, but if it is done properly and within the guidelines, it is fair game.


I recently signed on for your newsletter and have enjoyed the few issues I've seen and the helpful info. on your website.

I also noticed you have a few tips from my friend and colleague of the Service Roundtable Matt Michel. I also noticed you keep company with another good friend Adams Hudson. So I thought I would send you few tips I have successfully used over the years since we tend to think alike and maybe these would help you help your readers.

1. Try "heading jumping" if appropriate. Heading jumping is a technique used to covertly appear as the front runner or first ad in the actual desired heading. For example, the heading Heat Pumps appears before Heating Contractors and Air Cleaning and Purification equipment appears before Air Conditioning Contractors.

There is sometimes a catch according to most YP publishers - the ad must be at least 33-75% (depending on market) skewed to the product or service in the heading. Wait for the publisher to raise this issue, otherwise run the ad you choose. If there is a copy-heading alignment requirement, you can still mention the other services you offer. If the publisher places this caveat on you, make your headline reflect the heading and seamlessly interlace the body copy with the other services you offer.

Conversely, you may consider just keeping in tune with the heading you jump to and be viewed as a specialist and inform customers of your other services when you receive the call, send someone out or through your other marketing once you capture their name.

So what and who cares if the competition jumps into the heading after you. It may be a few years before this happens anyway and with heading seniority you can remain the frontrunner.

2. If a heading doesn't exist for the product or service you offer, put in a request for the YP publisher to create a new heading. Most publishers will oblige if it's legitimate as they will see it as another heading to market and generate revenue. It never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is they say 'No'.

So what and who cares if the competition jumps into the heading. It may be a few years before this happens anyway and with heading seniority you can remain the frontrunner.

3. Offer a FREE Consumer's Buying Guide in your ad. People love free stuff and a Buyer's Guide for a product or service that is widely misunderstood, highly technical, expensive, a once in a lifetime or long time purchase, etc. will be well-received.

The key is to write the Buyer's Guide from a neutral perspective that does not necessarily tout your products or company. Allow your sales process and marketing materials answer all the questions the Buyer's Guide poses in the customer's mind. You will be viewed as the market expert and will effectively eliminate competition that does not comply with the Buyer's Guide.

4. Remove and reverse all consumer risk in your ad. Offer "Your exclusive 100% unconditional satisfaction or your money back guarantee" in your ad. People hate risk and fear making a bad decision and this will go a long way to calming them.

5. If you are an after hours, weekend and holiday service provider make sure you always have a live person answer your phones. Don't use auto-attendants, answering machines or paging systems. Customers will either hang up or worry that no one will respond and call multiple companies.

People want to know that their concerns are being addressed and want immediate resolution. A live person can take the call and say they will dispatch a service person or have him/her contact the customer within 7 minutes (use an odd number as it sounds more immediate) for any further information required to ensure the best level of service and response (this is in case the call is a non-emergency, something that needs to be schedule during the day, or something the company does not do or wish to take on for whatever reasons).

The customer will hang up rest assured that their problem is being addressed.

Lastly, once you can provide this level of service say so in your ad. Say something like "We never close and you'll always speak to a live person never an auto-attendant, answering machine or paging system and then sit around, wait and hope that someone will return your call. Our courteous customer care staff will make sure you receive immediate service."

Immediate service is the fact that you took the call. How you schedule it thereafter must be in line with your marketing and customer service goals.

The intent is not to mislead the customer only to get them to call you. You can't serve them if you don't get the call can you.

Hope you enjoy these. Please feel free to share them with your readers.

Good luck and great selling!

Drew Cameron
Supernova Selling Systems a Service Roundtable Consult & Coach Partner
"Powerful Sales Solutions"

610-388-0822 (O)
610-745-7020 (C)
610-388-7157 (F)


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