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Directional vs Non-Directional Advertising: Which is Right for Your Business?

by Allyson Robison 15 August 2012 16:18

business woman opening store

As a small business owner, you’ve probably considered investing in many different types of advertising. But, do you know which advertising opportunities are best for your business? This post will help you figure it out as we explore “directional” and “non-directional” advertising and which can help your business succeed.

What is directional and non-directional advertising?

Non-directional advertising tries to create a need for or awareness of a brand. Chances are, the buyer is not ready to buy, meaning that the advertiser is gambling on whether or not their ad is in the right place at the right time. Since the buyer probably isn’t ready to buy, they often forget the advertisement within a day or two. Non-directional advertising is usually found in newspapers, direct mail, search engines, radio, television, billboards, magazines, and word of mouth.

Directional advertising, on the other hand, is available when the buyer is ready to buy and looking for the products or services offered by the advertiser. This type of advertising is referenced when the buyer is ready for it. Directional advertising includes Yellow Pages (both print and online), search engines, local search sites, and to a much lesser degree, newspapers, social networks, directory assistance, and mobile.

What’s the relationship between non-directional/directional advertising and the Yellow Pages?

Non-directional advertising is great for building brand awareness so that you’re top of mind when a buyer needs your products or services. It’s educational in nature and tries to convince the buyer that there is a need.

The problem with non-directional advertising, however, is that it is not necessarily available once the buyer has a need, which can be particularly frustrating for the buyer if the need is urgent. That’s where directional advertising comes into play. You want your business’s information to be available for the buyer when there is a need, not just when it is convenient for you, the advertiser.

Once there is a need, 57% of buyers turn to the Yellow Pages for help. In fact, 80-90% of Yellow Pages users use the Yellow Pages just for life events or out-of-the-ordinary emergencies, such as moving into a new home or a late-night plumbing crisis. We discussed this in detail in last week’s post.

When a buyer references the Yellow Pages, 81% look at one or more display ads, with the average number of ads viewed being five. After looking at these ads, the average buyer contacts two businesses. Then, 78% of buyers will make a purchase or are likely to do so.

So, which type of advertising does my business need?

For many small businesses, especially those who offer services such as plumbing, medical care, auto repair, legal representation, heating and air conditioning repair, and more, directional advertising is what will help you the most. Chances are, buyers won’t need your product all of the time, but once they do, you’ll want to be sure your ad is where they can find it, in the Yellow Pages.

Another factor you’ll want to consider is if your business fits into one of the top headings most often referenced in Yellow Pages directories. If so, then directional advertising such as the Yellow Pages will be perfect for your business. To view lists of the top headings from industry research, click the links below:

Are you okay with taking a gamble and hoping your ad is in the right place at the right time?Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of advertising available for your business, it’s time to decide what your business needs your advertising to deliver.

Or, do you prefer to have an ad available when your future customer needs it, no matter what?

Get started with your directional advertising in the Valley Yellow Pages, contact an account executive at 800 350-8887 or visit for more information.

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