Yes, writing classified ads is an art, one that can be learned,
developed and perfected in a relatively short period of time.
Depending on the nature of your business, a well written
classified ad can bring in business and subsequent sales of
$10,000 to $25,000 annually, or more!
As with any business tool (and a classified ad is most assuredly
a powerful tool) you must first become aware of the effective
use of these little business builders, then understand exactly
what can be expected of them and what cannot be accomplished.
First of all, forget about any notion of selling merchandise from
a classified ad. Some of the "experts" will tell you that a
classified ad can bring cash orders for 50.-$1- up to $3 or more,
but this is the exception rather than a general rule. Even in
cases where small amounts of cash are received, total results
usually are considerably less than if no money had been
Instead of wondering, speculating and experimenting with your
advertising budget, concentrate on offering free information to
attract as many interested prospects as possible for what you
have to offer. Realize from the beginning that your ad should
serve only one purpose: to target a specific audience consisting
of people who need and want what you have to offer.
You want inquiries: letters, notes, postcards---anything on which
might be scribbled the words, "Send more information." When you
start receiving them, quickly reply with professionally prepared
sales material to tell your story and make your sales pitch. The
standard material will consist of a sales letter, descriptive
circular or flyer, and a return addressed envelope for
convenience in you the order.
ZERO IN ON YOUR MARKET
Unlike display advertising which must attract, reach out from the
printed page and grab the reader, your classified ad is placed
under a specific heading according to subject. Readers interested
in your subject will scan the heading in much the same way they
would scan the Yellow Pages of the phone directory. They are
looking for something. You have what they are looking for, or
what will help them achieve what they want. Tell them!
No deception, please. What you want are quality names of
prospective buyers not a large quantity of names. It would be
easy to promise the moon in your ad, but if it can't deliver it
in your follow up advertising, you will not only lose the initial
sale, you will have alienated your prospect by deception and
he/she will not be receptive to anything you say in the future.
Place your ad under the most appropriate heading. If you're
offering something appealing to sportsmen, the heading would be
probably SPORTING GOODS. If you're aiming at a specific type of
sportsman such as hunters, fisherman, or bowlers, you might find
such a heading. In some cases you can have the publication create
a new heading for you for an additional charge. It could be worth
the extra cost.
BE STRINGENT WITH WORDING
The best way to write your ad is to disregard size and cost at
first, writing everything on paper that might attract readers.
Tell it all. Stress the need for what you have to offer, what it
will do for readers, how they will benefit, what they can expect
by using your product, how easy or more pleasant life will be for
When you have finished writing, you might have a long paragraph
or a full page. Now is the time to think of size and cost. You
will pay by the word, so you will have to be selective in your
choice of words in the final ad.