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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.


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.


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.


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Copyright David Pierson. 2001