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JODY84
04-18-2008, 01:30 PM
Okay so my hubby and I have been advertising on www.craiglist.com for almost 2 years now. We run a part-time lawn care service, and still have fulltime jobs we attend to.

Let me first start off by saying...One thing that we really believe in is, you must give to receive! We believe that to tithe (donate) is part of our belief in God, His Word and His promises. Sorry to get all religious on you!

Apart from this, I do believe giving to charity or others is important. So we have donated 10% of all profits from this lawn business to local charties. Well this has truly paid off!

The director of AT&Tyellow pages was browsing craigslist and called us and said she really really liked the fact that we mention in our ad how we donate and she wants to put our ad on the cover of the local AT&T phone book!!!!!

BTW-We live in a city with just under 1.3 million people!!

Can you believe this???


In the book, Think Rich, Grow Rich, the author says to set your goal of how much you want to make, and how much you want to give away. He states, you donít get something for nothing.

This is truly proof that you must give to RECEIVE.

JODY84
04-18-2008, 01:33 PM
This is where I need all of your help!!

What exactly should we include in our ad?

Should we keep it short and simple?

Or mention all of our services.

Here's the ad we now have on craigslist.



http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/hss/646824621.html


But we plan to expand and handle landscaping aswell, so we will want to add that also..

Please give me your ideas!! And we will need a website asap, so I will be contacting some of you about that!

Thanks and god bless!!

JODY84
04-18-2008, 02:04 PM
18 views and no replies? http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mad.gif c'mon someone help http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/pointlaugh.gif

justin_time
04-18-2008, 02:15 PM
I think your add is alright...

I don't think you need to add or change anything to it

Looking good http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

UniversityLandscapers
04-18-2008, 05:08 PM
I assume that your ad would need to be smaller to fit on the cover of the phone book? Information wise, I think it works...although if you're limited by space, it's probably not as important to list your services etc. as long as you position yourself as a "full service" company or something along those lines.

Other than that, that is an amazing stroke of luck, and says a lot to the benefits of community involvement.

Steve
04-18-2008, 06:34 PM
Here is the ad.

<center><table bgcolor="darkgreen" cellspacing="9"><tr><td>
<table bgcolor="white" cellspacing="2"><tr><td>
<table bgcolor="99FF66" cellspacing="5" width="710">
<tr><td>

[/b]
<div>
<center>
http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r247/Skye_Anna/small-1.jpg<div>

Lawn mowing, Weed eating, Edging, and<div> Debris Blowing


Average Lawn Only $30 front AND back






http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/uploads/post-26-27581-alligator.gif

Tree service, Planting, Fertilizing and junk hauling also available!



!FREE ESTIMATES!<div>

<div>http://www.busybeelawncare.com/images/leaf.gif<u>

Residential Lawn Care Service:
[b]</u>Homeowners can trust that I will do high quality work, I can
be counted on for promptness, & that my income stays within the local economy. I donate 10% of all profits to a local charity called Medina Childrens Home (http://www.medinachildrenshome.com/)<div>
<div>


Call Today!

210-885-3147
<div>

Please Note:We only service the Northwest and North sides of San Antonio. Thanks!<center><div>
http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/images/symbols/fish_clipart.gif<div>

[/QUOTE]
[/QUOTE]
[/QUOTE]

Steve
04-18-2008, 06:38 PM
The ad above actually has a white background in craigslist and not green as it appears here. I don't know why.

Hi Jody,


Quote[/b] ]The director of AT&Tyellow pages was browsing craigslist and called us and said she really really liked the fact that we mention in our ad how we donate and she wants to put our ad on the cover of the local AT&T phone book!!!!!

This sounds very interesting. Can you tell us a little more about it?

Was this a sales person contacting you? Are they going to be charging a lot for this ad placement?

StartALawnCareBusiness
04-18-2008, 06:58 PM
Jody:

This is an awsome opportunity for you.

You asked for critiques so please don't let me offend you but I am going to point out my initial thoughts on the ad.

1) Too green. It's a generic green also. Have your background texturized in some method. Ideally, I think you will want your back ground to be an actual yard you have worked on. Grass in the front, flower beds with color toward the back will give a three dimentionality to the ad. Use photoshop to add some shadowing effects to further emphasize the depth of your work.

2) Your logo is great. However, it looks out of place on your back ground. The background of the logo image is white and squared off. Blend it into your new background better.

3) Your font stands out GREAT on the green. Your font must be easy to read, however, go with something a bit more rounded and appealing.

4) Pictures. Attempt to acheive a personal feel. Maybe a picture of your crew or of yourself and your workers actually performing a service can be overlayed onto your new background.

5) Check your punctuation. You have sentences with commas but no ending puncuation.


These are a few suggestions. I think you have a great potential being on the cover of your local phone book and this might bring in more customers than you could ever hope for. It might be easily worth a couple hundred dollars to get a professional graphic artist experienced in glossy page print advertising to design an ad for you.

I am amazed at your success with Craigslist.

Best of luck to you:

Keith

Steve
04-18-2008, 07:14 PM
Keith I am sorry about that, when I put the ad on here, it made the background green, but it really is white.

musician/lawnman
04-18-2008, 08:32 PM
Jody,

I think it's great that you have attracted such attention & a great advertising spot. Everything Kieth says above seems like good advise, though I can't help but to think.... I've read other posts of yours talking about how well this add iworking for you on craigslist right? So why change anything about an add that is working better than so many adds most of us have tried! People in your area are responding to it well, don't fix what isn't broken! Your doing great.

JODY84
04-18-2008, 10:37 PM
Quote[/b] (Team Gopher @ April 18 2008,5:38)]
Hi Jody,


Quote[/b] ]The director of AT&Tyellow pages was browsing craigslist and called us and said she really really liked the fact that we mention in our ad how we donate and she wants to put our ad on the cover of the local AT&T phone book!!!!!

This sounds very interesting. Can you tell us a little more about it?

Was this a sales person contacting you? Are they going to be charging a lot for this ad placement?
[/QUOTE]

She was not trying to sell anything. She was just amazed that we actually donate to the community and she said she would love for our ad to be on the cover. I'm still in shock. Don't get me wrong I think our logo is awesome...but cover of the phone book? Wow!

Anyways, thanks for the support and imput.

I'm just messing with photoshop trying to put something worth looking at....it's not that easy and I'm not too computer savy.

Here's what I have so far........be honest http://www.gophergraphics.com/forum/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif<div>

http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r247/Skye_Anna/ad4.jpg

Steve
04-18-2008, 10:41 PM
Jody,

You know what would be really neat. If you were able to take some photo opportunities with you handing over a check to a local charity. Then sending that in to your local paper.

Also maybe include with that a little about your business and how you make it a point to give back to your community 10% of your earnings. I bet there is a very good chance it would get published. Then I would also include all of these photo ops on your website to further promote the goodwill which you spread.

I like your ad design a lot.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

StartALawnCareBusiness
04-18-2008, 11:35 PM
Chuck:

Quote[/b] ]don't fix what isn't broken!

Agreed!!!


Hey Steve: what do you think the response rate from the cover of a phone book would be in a community of 1.3million?

I think the response will be pretty high.

Hundreds? *Thousands of responses over the course of a year?

If you were to buy a similar advertisement, how much would it cost?

Jody, I like your new ad. *I like that you have taken the $30 price out and left in the "Free Estimates." *

Nice job!

Keith

Steve
04-18-2008, 11:57 PM
Quote[/b] ]Hey Steve: what do you think the response rate from the cover of a phone book would be in a community of 1.3million?

I am all for it. You never know when something is going to take off.

Look at Greg Wittstock of http://www.aquascapeinc.com/about_us/about-pond-guy.php

He sent a press release to a local paper that didn't contact him back for over a year. But when they wrote the article about him . OH WOW! His business got launched and now it's huge!

Sometimes all you need is one thing to really launch your business and once it is launched, it puts you in a new orbit.

Little's
04-19-2008, 01:41 AM
Hi Jody. I think you are doing good with the design, but there is a thing or 2 that I would change. First you put "Full Service Lawn Maintenance", then you said "Professional Mowing, Edging, Weedeating, Blowing Debris", which in my opinion is redundant, and puts in too much to read.

I found my self scanning past all the words with my eyes, avoiding reading them all . I had to go back and read it 2 or 3 more times to catch it all. Simplicity is the key to getting people to call out of the phone book.

I hope this helps, I am just trying to point out what I see.

LawncareMarketingMagic
04-22-2008, 12:39 AM
First off Jody, congrats on the opportunity. Not to rain on the parade, but I'd just confirm the fact they're just going to 'give' you the cover of the directory. I've never heard of anyone being given the cover of the directory for free. It's entirely possible, I'd just be sure to confirm.

Next, in terms of the ad, it's time for me to be the 'odd man' out again. Yes, the new ad 'looks' great, but if you compare it to every other ad you'd find in the phone book, it looks very similar, if not exactly alike. Big logo on top. List of services offered. Method of contact. The one difference might be the mention of the 10% donated to charity, which is a fantastic feature. However, that's probably not enough to make it a really great ad.

Here are a few helpful stats related to directory advertising:
- 60% of those YP users don't have a specific company in mind, they're looking for someone to call
- of the 40% that do know have a particular business in mind, 1/3 are willing to be convinced to call another one; in other words, 6 of 10 are fair game.
- you will NOT attract or convince these 6 out of 10 with your name, logo, and a simple list of your services

To win out in the yellow pages, you MUST stand out from everyone else and you do that by giving these prospects reasons why they should choose you over your competition, not just a list of why you're exactly the same.

So, if I were designing your ad, this is what I'd do. I'd start with an attention grabbing headline that immediately conveys the most compelling benefit you offer your customers. Then I'd list your services in a way that conveys benefits. Next, present an offer to motivate people to call, something like a bonus or discount for 1st time customers. Then, include a testimonial from one of your customers that reflects the benefit mentioned in your headline. Finally, use a strong call to action.

I guarantee you, these are things missing from 90% of all ads you'll find in the YP. However, each of these elements are things that allow you stand out from the crowded field competing for the attention of the 6 out of 10.

Again, I know this is contrary to the ads you see most companies run. However, do you want to look like everyone else and not give clear reasons why they should call you? Or would you rather stand out from the crowd with very clear reasons why you're the very best choice for the job?

Since I know it's easier to see what I'm talking about, I'll try to put together an example of what I'm talking about in a day or two and post it here.

Little's
04-22-2008, 02:12 AM
Great points Chestin. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

landonkade
04-22-2008, 02:39 AM
great points chestin.... waiting to see what you come up with, so i can get ideas for future use to stand out from the rest.

Question i have is......

Are people this day in time searching on the internet more for services rather than yellow pages or both?

I have heard to have a cover of the phone book is around $4,000-$10,000 per year or more

Steve
04-22-2008, 04:06 AM
Quote[/b] ]So, if I were designing your ad, this is what I'd do. I'd start with an attention grabbing headline that immediately conveys the most compelling benefit you offer your customers. Then I'd list your services in a way that conveys benefits. Next, present an offer to motivate people to call, something like a bonus or discount for 1st time customers. Then, include a testimonial from one of your customers that reflects the benefit mentioned in your headline. Finally, use a strong call to action.

Chestin,

Do you have any examples of yellow page ads that you have seen that you liked? I think that would be most helpful.

Quote[/b] ]I have heard to have a cover of the phone book is around $4,000-$10,000 per year or more

Matt, the prices can range drastically depending on your area. The thing about yellow page ads, especially covers is that there is this feeling in the back of our heads, if we spend a lot on a yellow page ad, it will bring us amazing business and I can tell you that I have talked to business owners who have had cover ads and paid top dollar for them, and the results were extremely disappointing.

When I first heard this, I was unbelieving and then this business owner said to me, when was the last time you called any business that appeared on the cover or the side of the yellow pages.

Then I thought about it and I realized I never did! My gosh! I always find myself digging into the yellow pages.

What about you?

LawncareMarketingMagic
04-22-2008, 10:11 AM
Steve,

Honestly, I've seen very few YP ads that meet the criteria I layed out. As a result, the ads most businesses end up with don't do anything to allow them to stand out from the crowd.

In terms of the results from the cover spot, again, it comes to providing some compelling reasons why someone should call you versus the other options available. If they saw those reasons immediately upon picking up the book, there'd be no reason for them to open up the book to the Lawn Care or Landscaping section. Without something that jumps out and grabs their attention, they continue into the book hoping they'll find an ad that provides compelling reasons why the prospect should call.

With respect to the decreasing effectiveness of the YP, it's definitely happening. More and more people are going online to search for service providers. However, it can still be a good place to advertise because when someone picks up the phone book, it's usually because they're ready to pick up the phone and call. On the internet, you don't know what phase of the research/buying cycle a prospect is in.

I'll post a sample ad shortly.

LawncareMarketingMagic
04-22-2008, 03:25 PM
Okay folks, here's a sample telephone directory ad I came up with for Jody. Keep in mind, this was put together in a rush so the layout/design could possibly use a bit of tweaking, but hopefully you get the idea.

Ultimately, my goal was to make sure the ad included everything ANY marketing piece should include. This includes:

* Attention grabbing headline
* Benefits the customer will receive
* A killer offer to motivate them to act, in this case, there are 2 such offers (free 1st visit, free soil/lawn analysis)
* A strong, direct call to action - Call Today!
* Risk reversal elements, in this case the satisfaction guarantee
* Third party proof, here itís the testimonial
* Elements of social proof, in this case the credit card logos

Obviously, this would change if it were going to be a smaller size, but the goal should still be to include AS MANY of the above listed elements. These will help you really stand out from the crowded field and I guarantee you you'll see a dramatic increase in the effective of your directory ads.

I tried to post the actual ad here, but again, I'm a complete cluster when it comes to posting files here. So, you can see the full sized ad here:

Alligator Lawn Care Sample YP Ad (http://lawncaremarketingmagic.com/wordpress/2008/04/22/a-killer-phone-directory-ad/)

Steve, feel free to post the actual file here.

Steve
04-22-2008, 08:21 PM
WOW! Everyone did you see this!

I love it! If you are thinking of putting an ad in the yellow pages, you should definitely hire Chestin's services to create an ad for you!