Things You Must Do To Get
Classified Ads That SELL!
by: Dr. Kevin Nunley
heard the old saying, "It takes money to
make money." They might as well include "It takes
BIG money to make big money." The local furniture
store that always has a TV commercial on the
evening news may be spending a million dollars or
more each year to get those ads.
So what's a small
or home-based business to do?
How can you get AFFORDABLE advertising that really
When your budget is
tight, use classified ads.
These small ads come in a variety of sizes, costs,
and appear everywhere from neighborhood newsletters
to big national magazines to websites on the
work. You can grab important
prospects, get new customers, sell your products
and services, but ONLY IF you know how to use
Here are three simple
things you can do today to
make your classified ads sell:
Target your best prospects. While this might sound like marketing
mumbo-jumbo, it's by far the most important way to make ads work. Every
newspaper, newsletter, and website has its own particular kind of audience.
Your ad won't sell unless your product or service is something that the
publication's particular audience would buy.
To figure out the
audience a publication is
reaching, look at their articles and ads. What
kinds of businesses are advertising? What sorts of
things are they selling? What group of people
would buy these things? Think about age, gender
lifestyle, income, and level of education. It
won't take long before you have a pretty good idea
of what kinds of prospects the publication reaches.
The Wall Street Journal
attracts a large
multi-national audience of well-paid business
people. Your local bargain shopper newspaper
probably focuses on working-class folks looking for
inexpensive bargains. The daily newspaper tends to
do best with home owners. A mail order tabloid
often goes to thousands of individuals interested
in making money through the mail. Many of these
readers live in small, rural towns. The Internet,
by its very nature, appeals to up-scale,
well-educated audiences that tend to be in their
20s and 30s.
Write a good headline.
With classified ads, the headline makes or breaks the ad. Think about
how you read a page of classifieds. You skim the first few words of each
ad (often printed in bold type) to get a split-second idea of what the
ad is about. Internet ads give you a subject line of four or more words.
This means your headline has to get the prospect's attention and tell
them what your ad is about.
Pack as much key information
as you can into just a
few words. For example, if I'm selling a computer,
my headline would vary depending on the audience.
For a general family audience I would write:
COMPUTER, POWERFUL, CHEAP. In three word I've
told prospects what the item is, something about
its quality and benefit (powerful), and a clue to
the price of the product.
If I were advertising
the same computer on an
Internet newsgroup used by computer enthusiasts, I
would change the headline to reflect their more
advanced understanding: PII333, NEW, UNDER 2K (a
good deal at the time I'm writing this.)
Keep the body of your ad short.
Shorter ads cost less. Even if you can stretch out with a 50 or 100 word
ad, make your writing concise. There's no need to write in complete sentences
in classified ads. Lay out the essential information on your product or
service, show the prospect how it benefits them, and give your contact
info. To write that same sentence in ad-blurb form: Essential information,
incredible benefits, call now 555-1212.
Here are some words
that work best in classified
ads: free, new, amazing, now, how to, and easy.
Veteran copy writer Bob Bly adds: discover,
method, plan, reveals, simple, advanced, and
improved. I always try to use the word "you,"
often in all capitals "YOU."
Track your ads.
You're poking your money down the drain if you don't know which ads are
working and which aren't.
Key your ads when
you can. Good classified
advertisers always code their ads so they know
which work and which publications pull the best.
If respondents are writing to you to buy or get
more information, include a "DEPT-A" in your
address. The "A" is code for a specific ad in a
certain publication. When prospects are responding
by telephone, have your ad include an extension
number for them to ask for.
Web entrepreneur Kevin
Needham advises a clever
tactic for coding on-line classified ads. He
creates a separate web page to correspond with each
ad. Then he counts the number of visitors to each
page to see which ads pulled the best.
By using these three
simple techniques in your
classified ads, you'll reach more of your best
prospects, sell more, and reduce the money you
spend on classifieds.
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