Advertising Part B: The Yellow Pages and Local Media

What is chutzpah marketing Pronounced huts•pah

Embracing the media with a chutzpah hug

The reality of the Yellow Page monster is that if your ad is done right, the Yellow Pages work. For the chutzpah marketer, the Yellow Pages are an essential tool. If done correctly, the Yellow Pages can bring you lots of new customers.

Before we get started, I want you to conduct a thought experiment. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. The last time you used the Yellow Pages, what were you looking for?
  2. Did you call someone?

Did you notice that you were motivated before you came upon an ad? When you read a newspaper or magazine you may stumble across an ad you find interesting. But, when you look in the Yellow Pages you are looking for an ad, you are looking for information in the form of an ad.



According to the marketing research group CMR Associates, as reported in “Major Yellow Pages Trends and Opportunities 2006”, consumers that use the Yellow Pages spent 25% more on average than the average customer. Also, business users (19 percent of total Yellow Page users) spent 50% more.

Other findings:

88% of Yellow Page users make a purchase. 54% of these users are first time buyers.


Category and action

In preparation for writing this, I surveyed three groups I had easy access to. I asked a total of 76 white-collar working adults, ranging in age from approximately 30 to 60, to write their answers on index cards. I asked three questions.


  1. What was the last thing you looked up in the Yellow Pages? (Category)
  2. Did you call a company?
  3. Did you know who you were looking for?


I list their answers in order of category preferences:


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 100% No  0%


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 100% No  0%


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 100% No  0%


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 60% No  40%


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 80% No  20%


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 50% No  50%


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 80% No  20%

Cable repair

Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 100% No  0%

Auto repair

Call? Yes 80% No 20%

Did you know the  company? Yes 50% No  50%

Appliance repair

Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 66% No  33%


Call? Yes 50% No 50%

Did you know the  company? Yes 50% No  50%

Air-condition repair

Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 0% No  100%

Rental car

Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 100% No  0%

Computer repair

Call? Yes 50% No 50%

Did you know the  company? Yes 20% No  80%

Garage door repair

Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 100% No  0%


Call? Yes 100% No  0%

Did you know the  company? Yes 0% No  100%


My unscientific survey lines up well with industry data. The most striking finding is that Yellow Page users are motivated. They are looking to solve a problem. They are hunting for something.

When a Yellow Page user opens the book they tend to have a defined problem. Their goal is to solve their problem.

Now comes your problem, how do you use the Yellow Pages to your advantage? First let’s get the myths out of the way.

Myth #1:  The Yellow Pages are very expensive

This really is an illogical statement. What does “very expensive” mean? If I spend $400 per month to get no new customers, then the Yellow Pages are a waste of $400. However, if I spend $400 a month to get 8 new customers, each spending let’s say, to keep the math really easy, $100 ($800), then the initial investment of $400 gave me $400 of profit. Plus, I now have 8 satisfied customers that are likely to use more of my services, and hopefully suggest that their friends and family use my services.

Myth #2: Good companies do not need to advertise in the Yellow Pages

Most people who are using the Yellow Pages know something about what they are looking up, but they need more information. They may simply need a phone number, or they may need a jolt of confidence, that final push, to get them to call your company.

I will explain more about this later in this chapter, but good companies do need to advertise in the Yellow Pages.

Myth #3: Unless you can afford the biggest ad, you cannot compete in the Yellow Pages

Happily, this is not necessarily true. In most cases big matters in the Yellow Pages, but that is assuming the big ad is designed correctly. Most companies that advertise in the Yellow Pages do a poor job of designing their ad. After you read this chapter, you will not be one of them. More on size later.

People have been trained to use the Yellow Pages

I am writing this in July 2010. I tell you this because the Yellow Pages as we know them are doomed. Not this year, and probably not in the next five years, but they are doomed.

I come to this conclusion through observation. Let me digress a bit. When my wife and I want to look up a word, we tend to pull out the dictionaries we used in college and delve in. We often get side tracked while looking for our initial word as we stumble across another interesting word, before finally returning to the our original goal. I am 52, and my bride of 24 years, Geri, is 49. We love our dictionaries. They are page worn old friends.

Recently, at the dinner table, Geri and I were discussing the word, cede. “Is that s-e-d-e or c-e-d-e?” she wondered. I had no idea about its spelling. (Just because I write books doesn’t mean I can spell.)

Our 20 year old son, Ethan chimed in. “It’s c-e-d-e cede: a transient verb. It means to surrender possession of, especially by treaty.” He was holding his laptop, reading the definition from Geri and I felt old.

The next day, we were out at dinner and I threw out, “Maybe we should go out to a movie since we are already in town.”

“I don’t know what’s playing,” Geri said.

“I think I want to see the movie about the brothers who fought the Nazis. But I don’t know…” Josh, our sixteen year old, interrupted me.

“Defiant won’t be out until next Friday. The Unborn and Seven Pounds are playing at Cinemark 10, I’ll check Cinemark 8,” he said as he thumb poked his cell phone.

I looked at Geri and smiled. We felt very old.

To our sons, a dictionary is a search engine on the Internet super highway. The concept of getting a dictionary off the shelf is foreign to them. For them, information is always a few finger-taps away. They manipulate information to their advantage all day. To illustrate this fact, did you notice that Josh only relayed the two movies at Cinemark 10 that he was interested in seeing? He limited his information search results to his personal parameters, not his beloved parents’ general question.

What does this mean for the Yellow Pages?

The Yellow Page book is evolving into a digital search engine. The book form is going the way of the Dodo bird.

But, not for a few years. Until the book is extinct, it will continue to be a powerful tool. After its demise, we will all be advertising in its digital replacement. Most of what will follow in this chapter will still be true for the digital Yellow Pages.

At this point in time, when a person 30 or older wants to gather information about a local product or service, they are going to use the trusted Yellow Pages.

Motivated buyer

When a person opens the Yellow Pages they have a want. They need something. In Yellow Page nomenclature this person is looking for a category.

Mrs. Lodge gets a call at work from her neighbor. A tree in her front yard has fallen onto her roof. And to make things worse, a large branch has shattered the picture window and made itself at home on her new couch. Mrs. Lodge rushes home through the downpour.

Back at home, Mrs. Lodge is beside herself. Her mind is racing and her heart is pounding. The local fire department had responded to the incident. They cut the tree branches back and covered the broken window with a tarp. As they were leaving, the fire captain told her, “It could have been a lot worse. The roof looks to be in good shape. If you get the carpets dried soon, they will probably be fine. The couch and window frame are probably a total loss.”

Mrs. Lodge has a want and is looking for an answer in the Yellow Pages.

She went to the Yellow Pages. “What do I look it up under,” she thought to herself. “Emergency!” she decided. Under that category she only found a list of emergency medical options.

Feeling anxious she thought of the fire captain and how stupid she felt for not asking him who she should call. “Fire,” she thought and flipped to the F’s.

“Financial, Fire,” she said.

Looking at the ads she read. “AAA Fire Alarm and Security… Booker’s Fire extinguishers… ReStore… We bill your insurance company.” She read the top of that ad again. “We bill your insurance company.” The next line was “One hour response.” This ad talked directly to her needs. This company could deal with her wants.

She called that company. She didn’t know who she was calling mind you, because she didn’t know the company’s name until they answered the phone. Berkowitz Emergency Clean Up, may I help you?” The company’s name was in the yellow page ad, but it wasn’t the title of the ad. It wasn’t even the subtitle of the ad. The title and subtitle of the ad spoke to Mrs. Lodge’s concerns. The title and subtitle were probably the most common questions that callers ask Berkowitz Emergency Clean Up.

That is the power of the Yellow Pages. A motivated consumer searching for a company.

Now let’s look at building a chutzpah Yellow Page ad so your customers can find you.

“Me too” mentality

I have had a lot of opportunities to look at yellow page advertisements. As soon as a business owner finds out I teach seminars on this subject, they find a Yellow Page book and ask for a free critique. Why not, entrepreneurs aren’t stupid!

As I look their ad over I ask, “So, how did you decide what to put in your ad?” Then I steel myself for the usual answer.

“Ah, well, ah, I just copied what others were doing.”

Holy not chutzpah batman! This is why most Yellow Page ads bring disappointing returns. They are all the same. If you look through your Yellow Pages, category by category, you will prove me right. I’m a great plumber, I’m a trained plumber, I have a plumbing truck with great stuff in it. I have kids who I feed by being a plumber.

When I travel, I look through the local Yellow Pages to see what businesses are doing. What I tend to find:


  • Large bold names of business
  • Lots of colors and fonts
  • Logos I have never seen before
  • Pictures of the owner’s family
  • Pictures of the owner’s building
  • Pictures of the owner’s trucks
  • Pictures of the staff all smushed together in a group shot
  • Hard to read fonts on colored backgrounds that make the words even harder to read
  • Entrepreneurs stiffly posed in suit and tie
  • Tiny print
  • Business specific words that the public doesn't understand. (OSHA Approved, ERST Bonded, R-DAR Certified, 100% Digital Service)


This list is an example of the “me too” mentality. Me too, I belong in this category - pick me! This is why most Yellow Page ads do not work that well. If your ad only teaches what your reader expects, you are not standing out in the category. (Also, the nomenclature often loses the reader.)

When I look at a Yellow Page ad, I give the parts the “Well, I hope so…” test. So when the plumber teaches me that he has a plumber’s truck I think, “Well, I hope so!” Or how do you get your equipment to my house?

As you look through your local Yellow Pages, do the, “Well, I hope so… ” test.


  • The attorney went to school. “Well, I hope so…”
  • The entrepreneur works with individuals, couples and/or children. “Well, I hope so…”
  • The chiropractor helps with back pain. “Well, I hope so…”
  • The funeral home listens to your needs. “Well, I hope so…”
  • The counselor does EMDR, TFT, sand play, art “Well, I hope so…” Whatever that is.
  • The company sells to Christians. “Well, I hope so…” (unless they’re outwardly prejudiced.)
  • The bail bondsman deals with anger. “Well, I hope so…”
  • The rental company rents stuff. “Well, I hope so…”
  • The pharmacist educates. “Well, I hope so…”
  • The doctor specializes. “Well, I hope so…”


All of these may be important to inform the public, but they will not make you a stand out in the category. A chutzpah advertiser, wants to stand out in any category where they place an ad; the purpose of the ad is to make a sale.

Your Yellow Page rep

The Yellow Page representative is a sales person for the Yellow Pages. Over the years I have had many. And, because I put together ads for other entrepreneurs, I have had a lot of contact with Yellow Page reps.

In my area, the Yellow Page sales person moves into town for a few months, then moves onto the “next book”. Most of my reps have been hard working folks trying to eke out a living. They tend to use the soft sell, “I’m here for you”. They always push the bigger ad so “you can get your message out”. Or, “so you can have a choice placement”.

What I want to point out to you is that the sales representative has no power. They can offer what the phone company allows them to offer. They cannot do you any favors. Their goal is to sell the most and biggest ads. That’s how they make their income.

It is best for the sales rep if all their accounts get a fair distribution of the potential calls. Then next year, they can return to happy customers who like what they are offering.

But, the reality is, that in the Yellow Pages, you are competing for the eyes of the motivated prospects that view your category. The Yellow Pages places us in direct competition with the other business in our area.

My admonition. Do not let the Yellow Page salesperson make your ad. If you do, it will look like every other ad in the category, and it will fail the “Well, I hope so…” test.

Chutzpah marketers never fail the “Well, I hope so…” test.

I once had a new Yellow Page sales rep who tried to bully me into just redoing my old ad.

“We close in two days. You don’t want to be left out for a whole year!” she told me.

I knew that I had meetings set for other company ads over the next two months. So, I politely ended the meeting. I called her supervisor and got a new rep. Do not allow a sales rep to bully you. I have put in ads for companies weeks after the Yellow Pages closed. The phone company really wants your business. They do not want to lose your ad income for a whole year.

For five years I had the same rep. She was based in Oakland, California and spent five days per week, for two months, in my area away from her kids. She said the job paid well, but was very hard on her family. She was an amazing person, full of life.

For four years I had a rep from San Jose who loved to travel. He was outgoing and very funny. He liked that his job paid well enough and afforded him extended time off for pleasure travel.

I tell you about these two folks to make a point. As a chutzpah marketer, an outgoing sales rep for another company is a great referral source for my company. Over the nine years these sales reps worked my area, they accounted for many new referrals. With only a little encouragement from me, the Yellow Page reps repaid me more than my Yellow Page bill cost me. That is called chutzpah marketing. This is the power of the 9-second speech discussed in Your Second Most Important Marketing Tool is Free

Alternative Yellow Pages

About once a month, I get a letter that looks like a Yellow Page bill. It has all my business information professionally arranged. What it really amounts to is a dishonest sales pitch from an alternative Yellow Page company. Their advertisement is made to look like a pre-approved bill. I suspect that many companies simply pay the $500 fee assuming that it was ordered by someone higher up.

The problem with the alternative phone books is that it costs businesses a lot more to cover the same area. I have been told by their representatives that the alternative books are building market share, but I haven’t notice it in my area. They tend to be a lot less expensive than the real Yellow Pages, but I doubt that they are cost effective. Legally, they have to give you a free listing without you doing anything. And guess where they buy the listing database from? You guessed it, the phone company. (Do you feel the love?)

At this point in time I recommend against putting your hard earned money into the alternative phone books.

Yellow Page ad size and color


The question concerning ad size is complicated. You have to juggle factors such as:


  • Placement position
  • The ad sizes of others in your area
  • Size of category
  • Do you have something to separate you from the category?
  • Correct amount of space to tell your story
  • Cost ratio of the ad (expense versus income)


Having said this, all things being equal, you want to be the largest ad in the category with a chutzpah message.

But, the message is more important than the size of the ad. When your potential customer peruses the Yellow Page category, she often will not stop searching just because she finds her answer. She will look for options. Even if she is looking for you specifically, she will compare and contrast you against the other offerings.

Think of your category as a buffet table, you most likely want to see all your options.

A woman on the phone told me (in a whisper) “I was referred to Dr. McCoy, but your ad seemed to be right for me. I liked that you care.”

This is interesting, this woman didn’t know me, but she felt that I was the correct entrepreneur for her. Her feelings were more important in the decision process than her medical doctor’s referral.

The size is helpful, mostly because you can get your message across. Please let me prove to you that the smallest ad can have the best pull. If your ad simply said:


100% Free ________ (your product).

(235) 568-2658


The more expensive the product you sell the better this ad will pull!

Your business would be full. This ad would control the category, even against full page advertisements.

Remember, chutzpah content is king, no matter what the size of the ad.


In the old days color was very expensive. Today, color is not as much of as  an expense as it is a tool. Use color to tell your story. Do not use color simply to make your ad colorful.

It is very easy to distract with too much color. On the flip side, color used correctly will emote powerful feelings. I once worked for a dentist who loved the color red. Big, bold, bright red letters. “I’m paying to catch the prospect’s attention,” he explained.

When I affirmed that red was the easiest color to use to capture a person’s attention, he beamed with delight.

“But,” I continued. “Red is so powerful because it triggers feelings of danger, edible fruit, or interest in mating.”

The dentist’s face went pale.

I continued, “I don’t know if that is what you want your customers to be feeling when they think of you.” “What?” he sputtered. “I don’t think that the color of eating, pain, or sex is all that good for a family dentist,” I said.

In the context of dentistry, customers are already thinking pain. A dentist doesn’t want to encourage that type of thought. The further away from blood the better for a dentist. In the context of Christmas, red is a great color. In fact, we have been trained to think of red as a Christmas color. (See side bar.)

I advise that you use warm rich shades when possible. Brighter colors if your target group is parents of young children, warmer colors for middle age adults, and richer colors for older adults.

For older adults, keep in mind that as we age, our eyes do not separate colors as well as they used to. You will need clear contrasts with no clutter.

A financial planner I worked with wanted to use a warm orange/brown font on a yellow cream background. His target customers were wealthy couples and individuals with a net worth of over five million dollars. As I looked over the mock-ups his graphic designer made for him, I pointed out that the type was way too small, and the color contrast was inappropriate for his clientele. He readily agreed that most of his present customers needed glasses and that the print size needed to be enlarged. But he was adamant about the colors, “My graphic artist said that these are the colors that encourage togetherness. I love them.”

I asked him to show the material to some older people.

The next day I got this email:


Dr. Phil,


I asked my 92 year old mother what she thought of the new sales material. She looked at it intently and said, “Where are the words?”

Any advice on a new graphic artist?




For a chutzpah marketer, the purpose of the ad is to sell. Your ad should not be seen as a piece of art.

What about the online offerings from the Yellow Pages?

Last year, (placement 2007-2008) I met with my Yellow Page representative. Near the end of his soft sell sales pitch he said, “and I assume you would like to upgrade your free listing from simply your name to an ad or a link to your web site?”

“How much for the link?” I asked (I figured if I could get a prospect to my site, I’d have a good chance for that prospect to see if I was the right entrepreneur for them.)

“Only $24.95,” he said.

“A year?”

“Ah, no a month, it is part of your monthly phone bill,” he clarified.

“$300 to link my name to my web site?”

“Have you been to It is the leading Internet Yellow Pages.”

“But, setting a link takes only seconds, isn’t $300 excessive?” I asked.

“It used to cost more,” he said.


I didn’t pay for the Internet Yellow Page ad. Their numbers were too small to warrant the cost. It would have cost me $200 per month for me to place my ad on their web site. With their low numbers and high cost I do not need them. Let me explain my reasoning.


  • The people who call my office to make the appointments, for themselves and / or their families, are over thirty. They are comfortable with the Yellow Page book.
  • The largest search engine by far is Google. Google is reasonable to advertise with.
  • I know that in 2005-2007 I had only three new contacts via the Internet. I track this data precisely. All three contacts came from individuals that got my name from someone, then they Googled me to check me out. Interestingly, all three contacts were men who were computer programmers.


This year (placement 2008-2009) my Yellow Page representative gave me a different offer. Linking my free listing to my web site was only $4 per month. I signed up. Not only because of the price, but more so I can see if the link translates into customers. (See below)

It has been four months since the new Yellow Pages came out, I have had only one Internet contact. He is an information technology (IT) specialist who got my name from my book. (He received the book from his sister for Christmas.)


I played with this site a bit, and found it lacking when I compared it to Google. is cumbersome and busy. The flashing ads down the side are distracting. It seemed more like an ad for the than for me. When I searched for “Entrepreneur Redding CA” I got a long alphabetized list of entrepreneurs in the county. I had to limit my search to get just Redding. A savvy search engine should not have you re-request to get the search information you want. The “C’s” started on page 2. I suspect that I could pay to move my listing to the top, and still compete with more flashing ads.

My rep says that the phone company is planning to spend millions to increase its market share. So, for now I will keep an eye on it.

What belongs in your display ad

A display ad is the type of ad you find in Yellow Page directories, magazines, newspapers, billboards, or on the side of a bus. It is simply a display of your offerings. The difference between the various types of display ads is the audience you’re targeting.

If you were developing a display ad for The New Yorker versus Guns & Ammo your ad would need to be targeted to each specific audience.


Your display ad is developed based on your reader. Because we know that the Yellow Page reader is motivated by category, the ad is easier to develop.

All chutzpah ads have four major components.


1. Chutzpah headline

2. Chutzpah supporting information

3. Chutzpah supporting secondary benefits

 ------Name and address

4. Chutzpah call to action


The basic ad looks like this:

Without logo/art-

With logo-

Let’s look at the parts.

Chutzpah headline

This is the most important part of your advertisement. If you do not catch the reader’s attention, you are sunk. Look at this ad and notice the power of a good headline verses a ho-hum headline.


Both ads say about the same, which one catches your eye? Which ad will most likely capture the eye of a frantic parent searching through the Yellow Pages for help? Even with the power of the ducks and kitty, the question is substantially more powerful than the entrepreneur’s name and clinical interest.

The goal when developing the headline is to find the best combination of ten words or so that addresses the concerns of the reader.

If the reader comes to the Yellow Pages looking for help with her out of control three and six year olds, she may well be asking, “I’m going crazy, is there help for me and my kids?”

The goal of the headline is to anticipate the reader’s needs. If you get it correct, they will continue to read your advertisement. You only get to focus your heading on one target.

To make your headline, start with your branding that you developed in Chapter 1: Talk too, not at, your customers. What is your ideal customer looking for when she goes to the Yellow Pages? You may find five or six good answers to this question, but only one is your core customer, the one that fills most of your appointments, or tables, the one that is your meat and potatoes.

With your core customer in mind, answer the question she is asking. Write it and rewrite it so every word is perfect. Now you have your chutzpah Yellow Page headline.

A common assertion I get at this point in a seminar is, “But I have five ideal customers.” If so, you need five ads. Pick the most common ideal customer for your Yellow Page ad. The other four ideal customers will be targeted in other publications, 3-ups, or brochures.

Your ad headline will not limit your company. Once you are seen as good at one area of your general category, people will expect you to be good at everything. If you find a plumber that did a good job on your emergency water leak wouldn’t you assume that the same plumber is also good on kitchen clogs and toilet repairs? Remember, speak to the potential customer in their words. The words that they are most likely using when they are looking for your type of company. Remember to avoid nomenclature and to focus on solving their problem.

Chutzpah supporting information

The second part of your ad needs to be supporting data for your headline. Depending on your type of business, this could be short declarative sentences, or full complicated and specific paragraphs. It will depend on your customers’ need for information.

If your headline lends itself to bullets, great—use bullets. Just make sure the bullets support the headline. Make sure the bullets show clear benefits of using your services.

If your headline needs fact filled information to support it, you will need to write concise fact filled paragraphs that show clear benefits for using your services.

I have been told that no one will read a long paragraph in a Yellow Page ad. I disagree. It depends on the question the headline is answering.

If your business specializes in working with highly intelligent individuals, such as engineers, mathematicians, and physicists, you will need at least a paragraph to convince your potential customer that they need your services.

An emotional headline will need a declarative paragraph emoting feelings that allow you to be the correct company to call.

Examples for a pet cemetery:


When pets are called home to heaven we are left to grieve…


It does not seem fair, when bad things happen to our loving pets.


Chutzpah supporting secondary benefits

As we discussed in Chapter 4: Advertising Part A: On the Chutzpah Cheap in the sections Chutzpah focus and Dazzling copy that stirs the emotions of the potential customers, copy counts!

Your supporting secondary benefits need to point out, very clearly, why you are the best choice for the prospect. It is important that your picture or graphic is seen as part of this secondary support. You can’t just say it, you must show it. We are talking about creative writing skills (and you thought high school English was bogus). Your words need to amaze, astound, evoke, and empower the reader.  You will need to paint vibrant pictures with your words. Show with emotive verbal pictures; avoid telling with monotone work salad. (Show not tell!)

Use verbs, lots and lots of verbs! The potential customers do not want to know your problems. They are looking for your assistance.

A potential customer is self focused and looking to have their needs met. Your copy needs to be focused on them and letting them feel your helpfulness. You are starting a relationship through your chutzpah ad.

What if your product or service is hard to picture as having secondary benefits? If you find yourself stuck, it means you have not been listening to your customers. They verbalize the secondary gains for you.


Eye tracking research shows that 65% of eye contact with an ad is spent )looking at the illustration or the photograph, while only 35% is focused on the text.

This research suggests that the reader is much more interested in illustrations or photographs.

Perception Research Services


Call to action

The call to action is a polite nudge. As the prospect reads your advertisement, he gets to the action, usually a phone number. Inside his head he hears, “call 530-555-1234.” This gentle nudge is powerful because it seems to come from within. It feels like internal dialog. Yawn. Go ahead, it’s ok, yawn. As you read this, do you notice that your body is reacting as if you need to yawn. Just reading the word yawn triggers a behavior.

A call to action statement will increase your customer contacts.


  • Call now: 530-555-1234
  • More info at
  • Free information, call now: 530-555-1234
  • We are here, call now:
  • Join Us For Happy Hour 5-7 Every Thursday
  • For a FREE consultation call 530-555-1234
  • Meet your date at The Rusty Crow!
  • Free parenting information at


A friend of mine, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, told me that when she checked her child’s medical symptoms at the Kaiser Permanente’s web site, she was offered a link that read, Set your non emergency appoint now. This took her to a page that showed her the doctor’s open appointments for the next day. What a great call to action! (She was even telling people about how her insurance company was helping her.)

Local print media advertisements

Local print media is a much broader field than most entrepreneurs believe.


Most entrepreneurs think of the:

  • Local newspaper(s)
  • Shopper / Throwaways

But there are a lot more:

  • Local free children/parenting magazine
  • Local free entertainment weekly
  • Local senior magazine
  • High school newspaper
  • Junior high and elementary school newsletters
  • Sports boosters signage and handouts/fliers
  • Church and charity newsletters
  • Community bulletin board sponsorship ads
  • Community map sponsorship
  • Coupon mailers
  • Bus signage
  • Taxi signage
  • YMCA newsletter/ bulletin board


Now you are probably thinking that I am suggesting that you shell out your hard earned money on taxi signage. Well, sure, if it is the correct placement for your ad. A well done ad for alcohol treatment or gambling addiction will get a lot of attention on a taxi.

For the chutzpah marketer, the ad needs to appear in front of the eyes of your potential customers or potential referrers. So, when you think about where to place your ad, you have to ask, “Where are my customers looking?”

A colleague of mine is highly involved in her nonprofit community dance studio. She sponsors the monthly newsletter and garners a lot of attention. Her donation of $500 per year is easily offset by the 15 or more referrals her ad generates, year after year. “When I first offered to cover the cost of the newsletter I had no idea how many people read it,” she told me. “Parents and grandparents read it every month. I am often thanked by people in the grocery store.”

“Over the years, lots of families come and go from the dance program,” she continued. “Every now and again I will hear from a family that hasn’t been in dance for years. They think of me when they have a family problem.”

What goes into your ad?

To develop chutzpah advertisements, you need to focus on the gateway to your business. From the perspective of your potential customers, what need do they have that will get them to call your office, buy your product, or patronize your business?

If you desire to expand your business, you need to expand how many people know what you are offering. Print advertising lends itself to this well.

There are three major rules that chutzpah marketers must understand about print advertising:


  1. Print advertising is a small part of marketing your business. You can get prospects to look at your offerings, but you better have what you advertise, or they will just walk on by.
  2. Print advertising is expensive. A monthly ad budget of $1000 is small.
  3. Print advertising takes time.


A small ad in a small local paper can cost $250. In a large metropolitan paper, the same ad can be $1800. If it only took $1800 to get lots of prospects beating your door down, that would be, well… cheap. But, it doesn’t work that way. A prospect needs to see your ad a minimum of seven times to notice it. But, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Just because you run your ad seven times doesn’t mean the prospect saw it seven times. So, depending on the type of ad you develop, you need to run it many times over many months for it to start generating business for you. In the next few pages, I will show you how to improve your chances of getting noticed, but I can’t stop your prospect from being too busy on any particular Tuesday to read the paper.


Three types of print ads

There are three types of print ads:


  1. The name recognition ad
  2. The direct response ad
  3. The combination ad


The name recognition ad

The purpose of the name recognition ad is to get your name and what you offer implanted in the prospect’s mind. The goal being, that if the prospect needs what you offer she thinks of you. It sounds a little Pavlovian, but it works.


A little test. When you think of the items in the following list, what company do you think of?


Canned soup reminds you of __________________?

Rental cars remind you of __________________?

New books remind you of ____________________?


The companies you thought of paid a lot of money to get their name implanted (branded).


Rhubarb reminds you of ___________________?

Zucchini reminds you of __________________?


These last two items do not have money backing them. (However, rhubarb does have Prairie Home Companion support.)

It takes a lot of ad repetitions to get a prospect to think of your name. But, if upon getting to the Yellow Pages, your name is known to them just a smidgen more, they will give more weight to your Yellow Page ad.

Like the Yellow Page ad, the name recognition ad has the same parts.

All chutzpah ads have four major components.


1. Chutzpah headline

2. Chutzpah supporting information

3. Chutzpah supporting secondary benefits

 ------Name and address

4. Chutzpah call to action


Week after week you will switch out the headline, but the rest of the ad should stay the same. The headline gets the attention, and over time the public learns what you do. I advise you to keep the same ad location, week after week.

Name recognition advertising takes time. So, before you begin, you need a realistic budget, and the stick-to-itiveness to see the process through. Often, three or four weeks in, entrepreneurs start to notice only a few new customers and a huge outgoing expense. Before you start this type of ad campaign you have to know that it will take at least four months before you can judge the campaign’s effectiveness. The cost is loaded up front. As your name becomes known in your community, you will be able to decrease your ads, but keep the name recognition. The benefits over time, say one year, are how you truly judge this type of ad campaign.

My friend the dentist developed a newspaper ad that people looked for. His receptionist would ask customers if they wanted to be in the ad, and if they said yes, she would snap a picture of their smiling face. Often customers would ask to be in the ad and whole families would dress up to pose for the camera.

Dr. Hanson ran this type of ad every Tuesday and Thursday for years. Often he would skip a Tuesday or a Thursday. His customers were sure he ran it everyday. Anyone that was pictured in the ad got lots of attention and often reported how many people told them that they “saw them in the paper.” Parents often cut out the ad and showed it around or put it on their refrigerator. That’s a lot of extra free advertisement.

The direct response ad

The direct response ad is a call to action ad. On the surface, this sounds great, but it is a little more complicated. The direct response ad gets attention in short spurts. I have seen it bring in lots of business, but it’s not a steady flow. Let me explain.

In the direct response ad, you have to offer an incentive to get the prospect to show up. Unlike the Yellow Pages, where the reader is already motivated and looking, you will have to motivate the reader into action. This is usually done by giving something away. Examples of chutzpah low cost  giveaways with a great return:


  • Free initial consultation
  • Free copy of Dr. Tom Orrow’s book How to Break the Cycle of Procrastination, a $25 value.
  • Free child care available during all our adult exercise classes.
  • Free motorcycle lessons - Even if you are not ready to buy just yet.
  • Six free archery lessons with every bow we sell.
  • Free oil changes for a year. A $129 value!
  • We come to your windshield, just call and we will do the rest.
  • Dental ex-rays only $25
  • Free pool chemicals with every refinish.



I once met a man on a plane who told me about his main advertisement problem and solution. His pizza parlor was well established in his college town until a chain pizza joint move in down the street.

The chain bought a bigger ad in the college weekly than he could afford and started pulling business away. Their ad offered six $2 coupons for money off their pizza (One per visit). So, the small pizza owner changed his ad to read, Bring in any Pizza ad with a money off coupon and we’ll give you $3 off the best pizza in town.

He knocked out their bigger ad and multiple coupons for only $3 per paying customer. I love the chutzpah.



Although these giveaways lead to responses, they often attract customers who “expect” a lot for free. Also, these promotions cost money, lowering your profit margin. If your offer is perceived as valuable, but it is actually low cost, you are using your chutzpah skills. For example, Dr. Orrow’s book cost only $4.55 to print. But, a book has a perceived value that is related to the retail price not the wholesale price.

If you use an offer of a lower fee, you run the chance of being seen as the discount company. This will run off customers who are looking for an upscale service provider. A pizza place in my area puts out coupons for $3 OFF. I have heard people say, “Let’s not go there for lunch, I don’t have a coupon. Inadvertently and at great expense, this company has taught the public that it is a discount pizza choice.

Direct response ads work quickly, but they can come with unforeseen complications.

A direct response chutzpah ad has four major components with special emphasis on the call to action.


1. Chutzpah headline

2. Chutzpah supporting information

3. Chutzpah supporting secondary benefits

 ------Name and address

4, Chutzpah call to action


It is best to put a time limitation on your direct response ad. “Good through…” or “Valid till 01-02-01” will encourage potential customers to act now. For print ads, 30 days seems to work well, for email ads, 7-10 days works well.


Print now and save! Good through xx/xx/xx.


Make sure you don’t print this in small print. You want your reader to read this and to be motivated by it. So, draw attention to it.

The combination ad

The combination ad is 80 percent name recognition ad and 20 percent direct response ad. You follow all the rules of the name recognition ad plus build in a no cost or very low cost incentive for your potential customer. Like the direct response ad you don’t want to give away the store just to get foot traffic. “Let me buy you a cup of coffee…” is a nice invite to a family friendly restaurant.

Invite shoppers in for a “Bottomless bowl of soup when you order any soup and sandwich in December. We want to keep you warm while you’re hustling and bustling about for the holidays.”

An attorney friend of mine offered a free Q&A session from 7-8 PM Tuesdays at a local cafe. People would come to the cafe and he informed them that he would happily answer any general questions for about an hour, and more private questions after the public Q&A. He often spent two and a half hours at the cafe and generated new customers every week. His sister, who owned the cafe, loved the extra business on the slowest night of the week. A small ad in the Monday paper motivated people to show up.

Similar to this, on CNN I saw an attorney who owned a hotdog cart in some big city. Noon most days, as an employee sold foot longs, he dispensed free legal advice and handed out his cards.

I like to play a game I call Stump The Shrink. When I am invited to talk to a group, I ask how they intend to publicize the event. Often they say something like, “Well I guess we can put something in the church newsletter?” I ask if it would be ok if I provide the copy. They are usually very happy to oblige. I provide the newsletter editor with the same ad in three different sizes: 1/4 page, 1/2 page and full page (On a CD and also a printed copy). The newsletter editor has options with very little work on her part. The groups want a big gathering and I tend to get a lot of free publicity.

Combination type ad for Stump the Shrink


The nice thing about playing Stump The Shrink is that I don’t have to have all the answers. When I get to the meeting, index cards and pencils are handed out (provided by the organizer). I ask people to write down any questions they have secretly wanted to ask a shrink. The cards are collected, and I scan through them. I try to pick questions that are of general interest to the group I am talking to. If I know the answer, I answer, if I don’t know the answer, I open the question to the audience. This leads to funny and often heartwarming moments. This isn’t for every entrepreneur, but I love playing Stump The Shrink, and the members of the audience leave knowing that they got some helpful information. When you emotionally touch individuals in the audience, you are generating future work for yourself.

I have seen variation on Stump the Shrink such as:

Ask an:

  • Author
  • Wedding planner
  • Police officer
  • Horticulturist
  • Dentist/hygienist
  • Heart disease specialist
  • Home security specialist


If your business is interesting to others, advertising that you will answer audience questions will get you lots of attention.

Here is a nice example of a handout given out to all the Friday attendees to the Home Show. If they had lead with the speakers’ names this ad would not have worked as well.

Dealing with local newspapers and magazines

The first thing to remember about local newspapers and magazines is that they need you. The revenue from the ads pays for the newspaper.

As I write this in 2010, local newspapers are hurting for ad revenue. As their costs go up, their readership has decreased. This is important to you, the ad buyer. The fewer eyes on the paper, the less return on investment for your ad dollar.

The scariest part of dealing with newspapers and local magazines is the fact that they have entrepreneur sales people. Their job is to get you to buy ad space. And, as we discussed before concerning the Yellow Page reps, they work for the newspaper, not you.

Newspaper sales reps are like busy bees. They have to get out and find ad sales then get back and get the ad into the paper. These sales people are very aware of time, because they know that they cannot sell an ad for an issue that has been printed.

Newspaper representatives present as very friendly, and they love whatever it is you want to do. But, they are pushy. They want your ad now and they want it printed now. Then, they want another ad, and they want that ad printed now!

Every workday the ad manager meets with the ad sales people and attempts to motivate them. The ad manager’s job is to motivate the sales force into rabid closers. The tactics used are usually coercive at best. A friend of mine was very upset after a meeting when the new sales manager coldly said, “One of you will be unemployed at the end of the month. Low sales numbers will get you fired.” This type of pressure is not conducive to harmony in the sales department. Another common tactic is to offer a big gift to the lead sales person; TV’s, expensive dinners, or trips are common. The goal of the sales manager is to get ad sales. The rule of thumb in ad  sales; “Sell or walk!”

It is important that you do not get caught up into the publication’s business problems. You do not need to feel rushed. You want information from them concerning ad costs and ad placement. You run your ad campaign. Expect to hear that the sales rep has a special deal that expires in two days. “I love your ad, I can give you 20 percent off if you sign for a 90 day run. This manager’s special ends at 5 PM Friday!”

Chutzpah marketers know that this is just hype. At 5:01 Friday there will be another unbelievable, don’t miss it, deal. The correct ad in the right place is the focus: the deals are secondary. In reality, the sale is ‘over’ when you get what you want. You are in charge, not the sales rep.

Ad and ad size placement

Your chief goal is to get your ad next to something that your potential customer or referrer is interested in. Over the years, businesses I have worked with have had profitable results in the following areas:

  • The TV page
  • The movie section
  • The senior page
  • The local sports page
  • Local events section
  • The comics section (Most commonly read section of the newspaper)


So, for example, if you are interested in expanding your posh foods offerings, the Sunday or Tuesday food section is a logical choice. Interested in expanding your alteration business, the Sunday wedding or bridal section may work well (Women tend to check out this section well before their wedding announcement will be printed). Where most entrepreneurs go wrong with ad placement is putting their ad where they look. (Good if you are growing an entrepreneur marketing group.)

Ad size counts, but not that much. The power of your title line is much more important. If you need size to tell your supporting information, then you need size. The size of your ad alone will not sell your product.

The sales rep will always push for ad size. “You want the reader to see your ad, don’t you?” Do not buy into the up sell. Take a deep breath and calmly ask the ad rep, “I notice lots of ads this size in your paper, are you telling me that you sell ads to people that you know will not get seen?”

Again I reiterate, you run your show.


Common up sell fibs sales reps use

Fib #1

Sales rep:  I can’t place your ad on that page unless you have at least a 1/4 page ad.

Chutzpah you:  Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know … Thanks for coming in, sorry I wasted your time. (Then stand up indicating the meeting is over. The sales rep will “find” a way to help you. You are her paycheck, and she wants to have a pay check.)

Fib #2

Sales rep:  By placing an ad everyday, you will be seen everyday.

Chutzpah you: That makes sense, but I need maximum coverage for a more reasonable placement fee.

Fib #3

Sales rep:  If you sign today, you get a great deal as part of our February is for lovers promotion.

Chutzpah you:  If I have to answer now the answer is no. Let me think about your offer and I will call you with my answer by Friday. (‘If I have to answer now the answer is no,’ is my favorite line from my parenting book. It works well with children, adolescents, and pushy sales reps!)

Sales rep:  We are putting out this special supplement, Children in the North State it is perfect for your type of business.


Newspapers love to put out special supplements. Such as: Health Care In The Tri-County Area, Senior Issues In Worsening Economic Times, and Summer Activities In Your County. Be careful. This is hype. A special supplement is just a newspaper section that the newspaper sales rep can use to target a section of the community with. The sales manager rubs his hands together and snarls at his sales reps, “This health special supplement has 419 ad slots. Get out and sell them to any business that deals with health.” There is nothing special about these supplements. They are just normal newspaper articles packaged to make ad sales easier. The ad price tends to be 20-40 percent higher.

Any ad person worth their salt reading this will say, “But what about the fact that people will hold the supplement longer, referring back to it for months?”

This sounds good, but people hold the whole newspaper for months until they say, “I have to clean up this fire hazard!”

I have not seen any evidence that supplemental ads work better than normal ads, except from newspaper sales reps.

Yellow Page and ads: my chutzpah perspective

Most entrepreneurs find that print ads are a waste of money. I partially agree. The reason is that most entrepreneurs spend money on poorly conceived ads.

Over the years I have worked with many companies who learned to love their print advertising. But the ad has to be done correctly and done over a long enough period (at least several [4+] months).

If you are working with a limited budget, a small Yellow Page ad is a must. Print ads are for your future. I wasn’t joking in earlier chapters when I called some things, “the most important chutzpah tool” or “the second most valuable tool”. Chutzpah business cards, brochures, and 9-second speeches are substantially more valuable when building a thriving company (plus cheap).

But, this is the big but, if you want to go from a small company to a large company, you will need extensive advertising. Print, radio, and television are all viable options.


Back to Business and money index


The Red Santa Suit

Until the 1920’s Santa was often depicted in lots of different types of dress. He also tended to be portrayed as a kindly thin fellow or even a tall elf.

What we think of as a “Santa Suit” evolved over time as the story of Santa grew. He became plump, lived at the North Pole, and ran a workshop filled with happy elves making toys for good little boys and girls.

In 1931, Coca-Cola hired artist Haddon Sundblom to help sell Coca-Cola during the winter holidays. Before color movies and color television Saunblom’s colorful and happy jolly Santa caught the imagination of children of all ages.

Since then the colorful Coca-Cola ads, billboards, and store displays have helped most people to know what Santa “really” looks like.

You can see the rich history of the Coca-Cola ads at
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