Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Related Headings Question

I received the following email this morning, and I imagine that others have the same question.

Dear Dick,

Are you aware of anywhere that I can find a list of YP Headings with a "Drill Down" meaning that say if a customer wants to be placed under "contractors" the list would provide me with a suggestion of other headings to include the client under?

Here's how I responded . . .

Well, every publisher uses a unique set of headings (YP speak for business categories), and even within a company, different regions will use different heading structures.

For example, some markets call them "Attorneys" while other markets call them "Lawyers." Still other markets have unprintable names for them. :-)

The number of headings in use industry-wide is staggering. I know one publisher that has an active headings database exceeding 50,000 headings for 340 directories. Headings are constantly in flux as headings are added, dropped and revised to better serve the consumer. A typical Internet Yellow Pages has about 3,500 headings, but the Internet allows easy use of synonym matching interpreting the user's desires.

However, a wonderful guide is available from Surewest Directories that provides some overall guidance as to related headings as well as some industry statistics. It lists roughly 300 headings.

Another alternative is to do a search for your business type on an online yellow pages such as worldpages.com and see the list of heading alternatives.


Anonymous Jim Hobson said...

Although some selling systems by companies like Amdocs include such features I think that there is a very simple manner to achieve your objective.

1)Complete adequate discovery/fact finding to determine your customer's full breadth of the products and services offered.
2)Prioritize these in order to allocate their advertising budget appropriately.
3) Apply a common sense approach: "Where would I look for this product/service?". Validate your thoughts by confirming that the customer's primary competition advertises under these headings.

While there are typically many associated headings some do not hold a lot of value. A lot of it has to do with HOW people use a book. An example is in the northern US the heading of FURNACES may get a lot of traffic where in the southern US the heading of HEATING CONTRACTORS gets more traffic. Same basic service but a totally different user pattern. A final comment is that many times there are available "secondary headings" that do not print in a directory if no one advertises under the heading. Look at several books to see what might be available.

7:47 PM  

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