As the rules and regulations for small listings and in-column ads preclude the use of graphics or limit you to one small logo, we’re talking strictly display ads for using any real graphic prowess. Here are some tips on maximizing your impact:
You Do the Art. The folks who do ads for the publisher are nice and all that, but none of them went to art school dreaming of the day they’d be sitting in a cubicle doing Yellow Pages ads. They crank ’em out by the hundreds, and browsing through any directory, you’ll see they all kind of look the same, don’t they? These artists are working under serious time constraints, but you shouldn’t, given the amount of money you’ll spend for your ads. Create your own ad (or hire an expert) to make it be the best it can be, not one that looks like all the rest.
Borders. A bold, thick, rounded border helps an ad stand out. Or create a border using words spelling out your products, services, or other pertinent information .
Typefaces. The most prevalent typeface in directories is what we call “skinny stick.”It comes in boring and boring italic, and can occasionally be done slightly thicker. Big deal. Use different type than what you see everyone else using. Use typefaces as they were intended to give words personality, be it masculine, feminine, modern, traditional, high-tech, folksy, whatever.
Reverses. Use reverses (white or the paper color emerging from a black or dark ink background) to call attention to the most important aspect(s) of your ad — especially your phone number.
Logos. Yours is important, but don’t waste valuable real estate over emphasizing it. Prospects want reasons to call you, and your ego isn’t one of them. If your company is a member of respected local or national organizations (SGIA, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.), show it.
Color. The directory publisher’s up charge for the first additional color (after the standard black) is substantially higher than the base price. Color’s nice if you want to spend the money, but if you can afford to do it, I’d suggest your money would be better spent going with a bigger one-color ad, not enriching the publisher by buying color. A smaller ad with good graphics and reverses will accomplish more than a larger, mediocre ad in full color.