A 24-hour resource that’s easily accessed year-round, your Yellow Page ad is a powerful representative for your church. But if your church’s ad hasn’t changed in 10 years or if you’ve always had a text listing, it may be time for an update. “You only have a couple of seconds to grab someone’s attention,” said Carle Griffith, founder of AD FX Yellow Page Design Specialists.
Follow these expert tips to make your Yellow Page ad the best it can be:
- Think big.
The most effective way to capture the reader’s eye is to make your ad larger than most of the others on the page. “People recognize larger ads before they recognize smaller ads,” Griffith said. “Size is the most important thing, but it’s not the only thing.”
- Add color.
Adding color is the second best way to get your ad noticed, says Griffith, who also cautions advertisers to exercise restraint and good taste. “You don’t want it to look like a barber’s pole or a circus,” he said. Use a white background with color for a powerful design that has reader impact. Adding color to your ad, however, can also add 20-to-60 percent to the cost.
- Use strong graphics.
Your ad can also attract attention and convey useful information with a good-quality graphic image. Your church’s logo should be included, but make sure the logo is an accurate, up-to-date representation of your church. In areas with a strong denominational affiliation (such as a Baptist church in Texas), a denominational logo can help readers quickly locate a specific type of church. But the most powerful images, according to Griffith, are photographs or clip art of people—with their faces looking directly at the reader.
- Choose prominent placement.
Joe Parsons, president of the DAS Group ad agency, recommends that churches buy under the main “Churches” section, instead of under church listings by denomination for increased readership. For example, if your church would normally be listed under the United Methodist or Wesleyan subheadings, he suggests placing your ad on the first page of the “Churches” section. Since readers typically flip to the first page in the section first, this move can increase your ad’s chances of being read.
- Hook the reader with a headline.
Once readers have been drawn to your ad, hook their interest quickly so that they’ll choose to actually read it. Contrary to common practice, an ad’s most prominent headline should be a phrase or slogan that sums up what your church has to offer. “Usually, the most important thing is not who you are [i.e., your name] but what somebody can expect when they come,” says Griffith. “A lot of churches just put their name at the top of the ad, and nobody knows anything about their name.”
- Whet the reader’s appetite.
Highlight the special ministries and programs that set your church apart. These might include contemporary worship, nursery care, teen ministry, single parent groups, and/or Spanish services. “This is your opportunity to tell readers what you’re about,” says Joe Parsons. “There will be an assumption that if you don’t say it in the ad, you don’t do it.”
- Help them take the plunge.
Include information that will help readers take the next step—to show up Sunday morning. Provide your church’s street address along with simple directions or a map. A list of services and times may be helpful. If your church has a Web site, list the address so that readers can learn even more about you.
- A word about design.
Many advertising agencies only handle national accounts, requiring that the clients advertise in three or more states and in at least 20 directories. Parsons recommends that churches contact local graphic designers to get help with their ads. He discourages relying on directory publishers to design your church’s ad because the ad may end up being designed by sales reps who have limited design experience.
Yellow Page ads, while only part of a comprehensive communication effort for your church, continue to be important. Make sure that your ad accurately reflects your church “brand,” clearly offering an actionable message to the audience you most want to reach.
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