How to Write Classified Ads that Get Results Now

Selling Directly from a Classified Ad

Classified ads can be used to sell products directly from the ad. This, however, only works for items costing no more than approximately $5. The best use for classified ads is to utilize them in obtaining inquiries. This is called the two step approach. The first step is to get maximum inquiries from the classified ad, in the second step the promotional package is sent to the prospect and as many inquiries as possible are converted to buyers.

Classified Ads for Maximum Inquiries

Classified ads are substantially less expensive than small space ads, but by no means are they cheap. Most national publications catering to the mail order business charge from $3 to $8 per word. A well laid out ad should consist of about 20 words which includes the company name and address. It is important that you remind yourself that only the purpose is to get the prospect to take immediate action and write for more information.

Before you write the ad know exactly what it is you want to sell. You must know very specifically what you are going to accomplish through this ad. Once you have determined what you want to get across to the reader, write it out in one or more complete sentences. For example, you have the reproduction rights for several reports and want to market them. So the objective is: "I want to get the maximum number of responses to inquire about my self-publishing material which has excellent income potential and is easy to market, especially for a newcomer to the business."

This ad may read as follows:

TREMENDOUS PROFITS THROUGH SELF-PUBLISHING! Start part-time. Easy to do. Request free Special Report! XYZ Publishing/E, PO Box 1000, Frederick, MD 20908.

The Opening Line

The first 3 or 4 words-- are critical. Since there are hundreds of classified ads in any given publication you must be able to get the reader who scans all, or some of them, to stop in his tracks when he gets to your ad and read your ad and then take action.

Open any publication and review the ads and you will see that many of those ads have absolutely no purpose. They are a total waste of money. But that is good for you since I am sure you will make a real effort to get your message across. Here are a couple of examples of useless ads:

Still Looking For A New Beginning? Write.......

What do they mean by that? How does any of that pertain to me and what am I supposed to make of that? Here is another one:

The Easiest Business On Earth. Valuable information mailed free.....

Do you think many people are going to write in for an ad like that. Especially not since there are hundreds of other ads in competition for the readers' time.

The Object is to Get the Reader to Take Action - Now!

In less that 25 words you have to create a message that will make a reader stop; give him a reason - benefits to him - why this is for him; tell him what to do - action; and provide the vital information. It is as simple and as complicated as that. Simple because you know what you want to accomplish, but complicated because it has to be done with so few words. I think you can see why it is virtually impossible to sell a $10 or $20 item from a classified ad. You just would not have enough space to tell a story compelling enough to convince someone to part with $10 or $20.

Self-Centered Advertising Copy is Ineffective

With some practice you should have no problem getting lots of inquiries from your ads. Stay away from "Self-centered advertising copy", copy that speaks about you. How great you or your company are, or how great your product is.

The only thing the reader cares about is himself. What's in in for Number One! Nothing else.

Some Cost Saving Tips

Almost all weekly and monthly publication will charge for each word including your company name and address. Most daily newspapers have a per line rate. Since just the address can take up from 6-10 words here are some ways you can save money.

The following ad has 23 words.

TREMENDOUS PROFITS THROUGH SELF-PUBLISHING Start part-time. Easy to do. XYZ Publishing Co. Dept 12 P.O. Box 1000 Frederick, MD 20908

This ad has 21 words.

TREMENDOUS PROFITS THROUGH SELF-PUBLISHING Start part-time. Easy to do. Free details. XYZ Publishing/E (The E becomes the code instead of Dept 12 PO Box 1000 Frederick, MD 20908

Or this one which has 18 words

SELF-PUBLISHING, TREMENDOUS PROFITS! Start part-time. Easy! Free report. XYZ Publishing/E PO Box 1000 Frederick, MD 20908

Some publications charge 2 words for the zip code and state, some only one. If you live in a city which consists of several words such as Palm Beach Gardens you are only charged for 1 word.

Evaluate the cost effectiveness of your ad by the cost per inquiry and not the cost of the ad. Example a $150 ad generates 170 inquiries $0.88 per word versus a $28 ad which generates 15 inquiries at a cost of $1.87 each.

When the Inquiries Start Arriving

If you have written and placed an effective ad and the inquiries start rolling in, the most important job, or actually several jobs have to be done. They are as follows:

  1. Your sales/promotional package must be ready before the first inquiry arrives and it must be answered promptly, preferably the same day but certainly within 48 hours. The longer you wait the more chances are that a competitor will win out over you. Although some people will wait for weeks before they make a decision, many will act within days.

  2. The ad you are placing is just the beginning. The names which are generated from the ad must be used again and again in order for your total advertising effort to be effective in the long term.

  3. A percentage of your inquiries from this first ad will become buyers. You need to send these buyers additional offers within several weeks after their first purchase and thereafter mail at least 3 times per year to them. You drop them from your list if they have not bought anything for about 8 - 12 months.

  4. The inquiries that did not buy buy this time may still buy at a later time. You can send them the same material again, or a similar offer. It is advisable to send 2-3 more mailing to them.

Many mail order companies may only make a small profit or just break even when the actual sales results are measured against a single ad. But over the life of the customers which are converted from those inquiries and the subsequent purchases from the inquiries who were not converted from the initial ad many hundreds or thousands of additional dollars will be generated.

Wishing you success and many inquiries from your ads!

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