Decide what area your phone book will cover and figure your distribution.
Once you’ve established exactly what area your phone book will cover, you need to find out the statistics of the area. Usually your chamber of commerce can give you the population, number of households and average income. You will also need to know the number of businesses in the area. Add the number of businesses and the number of households together. If you plan to provide books to the local hotels, it’s a good idea to get the number of rooms each hotel has. Add that number to the previous number and you get the total amount of phone books you need to publish and distribute. It’s a good idea to publish extras so that you can have extras for businesses and extras to leave at the local chamber of commerce.
Decide what information will your phone book feature.
Ideally, you want to provide the same information the other phone book provides, plus additional information that consumers will find useful. Being in the south, we contacted the state game and fish commission for information regarding the schedule and zones for hunting in the area. In exchange for this information you can publish their logo, website and helpful phone numbers on the pages that provide the information.
You might consider having a separate section for wedding information. Not only will it entice consumers to use your book, it will also give you another place to sell advertising to businesses that thrive on business they get from providing a service from weddings.
Consider selling “menu pages” at a discount to local restaurants. Restaurants is one of the most looked up headings in a phone book. Not only do consumers love the men pages because they can pick up the phone and order off the menu, it lets other businesses know that consumers are going to use your phone book, which is a huge selling point.
When deciding what features your phone book will have, think about what information you can provide in your directory that will insure consumers will use your phone book over your competitors.
Use Larger Fonts
One thing that the large phone book publishers have done to minimize their cost is to make their print extremely small. You should try to make your print at least a few font sizes bigger. Over 80% of the population is visually challenged and the bigger print will be commented on more than anything else.
Ad sizes and Features to Sell
The phone books size is also a selling point. I recommend publishing a phone book that is 7″ wide by 10 Ã?Â½” tall with 2 columns. The ad sizes below are to fit that size phone book. If you decide to do a different size or have more columns, you will have to adjust your sizes accordingly.
One page in your directory can be split into 8 ad spaces. Each space is called a “quarter column” or QC. A QC is 2.875″ wide by 2.25″ tall. A 2QC ad would be 2 “quarter columns” side by side. The size of a 2QC is 6″ wide by 2.25″ tall. The different ad sizes you can sell are listed below.
1/8 Page – QC – 2.875″w x 2.25″h
1/4 Page – 2QC – 6″w x 2.25″h
1/4 Page – 2QC or HC – 2.875″w x 4.75″h
1/2 Page – 4QC – 6″w x 4.75″h
1/2 Page – 4QC or FC – 2.875″w x 9.75″h
3/4 Page – 6QC – 6″w x 7.25″h
Full Page – 8QC – 6″w x 9.75″h
All of the above ads are called display ads. Typically, you will list the business name in-column with a line that says “See Our Ad This Page” below the address and phone number.
Bold Listings, Regular Listings and Additional Listings
In addition to purchasing an ad, the customer can choose to make their listing bold or they can purchase just their name and number in bold without buying an ad. It is a good idea to give each and every business a regular listing at no charge even if they decide not to purchase anything from you. That will make your directory more complete and encourage consumers to use your phone book because they can still find listings for the businesses they use without having to look in the other directories. You can charge a fee to list additional addresses and phone numbers for a business.
You can also sell listings under other headings. For example, your customer is a Heating & Air Contractor. You can sell an ad or a listing under Air Conditioner Contractors and under Heating Contractors. They might also sell Heat Pumps and also do Air Duct Cleaning. Every service that your customer provides will probably have it’s own heading. Look at the other phone directories to see what headings they offer and use the same headings in your yellow pages directory.
The cover of your phone book is prime advertising space. You should try to sell the advertising on these spaces for the cost of printing your directory. Usually, the cost for advertising should range from highest price to lowest price for the front cover, the back cover, the inside front cover and the inside back cover, in that order. Instead of selling the whole cover spot to one business, you can divide the space up into smaller sizes.
Another feature that you could sell would be to offer online advertising by publishing a website featuring your yellow pages directory online. Online advertising can consist of just the business’ name, address and phone number with a link to their website, if they have one. You could also feature the same ad that is printed in your directory on your website for an extra charge.
Make a list of prospective yellow page advertisers.
To do this, simply look at the other phone books that cover your area. You must call on the biggest advertisers. They may not place a big ad with you, but they will probably at least place a smaller ad with you.
The smaller advertisers may have a limited budget and will find value in your yellow pages because they can afford to place a bigger ad with you, which gives them an edge on their competition.
Don’t discount the regular line listings. Some of these businesses have been “burned” by the big yellow page companies.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Depending on how many businesses you have to call on to sell advertising, you want to allow yourself plenty of time to accomplish that prior to printing the directory. Your selling points will be lower prices, larger print size, and features that you will offer in your directory such as menu pages and community information. You can use the local phone book to get listings for all the businesses in the area your directory will cover.
Putting your directory together.
As mentioned before, it’s a good idea to include a regular listing for every business in the area regardless of whether they purchase an ad or a listing from you.
By laying out the book yourself and building the ads that will go in it, you will save money. If you’re not experienced at doing this, you can hire someone to do it for you.
Customers that buy an ad will need to review their ad, prior to it being printed in your directory. It is a good idea to print the ad out and have the customer sign indicating that the ad and any changes that have been made, has been approved by the customer.
All ads should be placed in the directory following the heading, from the largest to the smallest size and quarter columns should be placed in the outside column of the page.
Getting your files ready to print.
You should contact a printer prior to selling advertising and get a general idea of how much it is going to cost to print your directory. The printer will give you specifications for your files and details as to how the files should be submitted to them. Most printers will require that all your pages have at least a quarter-inch of bleed. All color should be CMYK and the resolution of your images should be at least 150 pixels/inch. Your files should be converted to PDF with all fonts embedded unless the printer you are using prefers or accepts files built in their native program with a folder containing your fonts.