How to Write Effective Classified Ads
By Sean R Mize
In order for your ad to work online, it has to follow some basic rules of online marketing. You won't have a whole lot of time to capture someone's attention and you will also have stiff competition for available eyeballs. So, make sure to always follow some basic guidelines to give your classified ad the maximum chance of being noticed.
Headlines That Pop!
Headlines are important for various reasons. Search engines weight titles very heavily, so if you don't put in an accurate and popular headline, it may end up showing near the bottom of the list. The other reason headlines are important is that they are the first thing a person reads when scrolling down the results of a search engine result page. If you don't have a headline that pops right out and grabs the reader in their chair, it will not be as noticed as if you did.
You do want to describe what you are promoting in the title, but it should in said in such a way that it begs the viewer to click into the link to read more. So, instead of "office supplies for sale" you would write: "Top Business People Organize Their Lives With Our Office Products!" In this way, you not only say you have office supplies for sale, but the main benefit implied is that their business will grow if they buy from you. So, add a benefit, describe the product, and make them want to read the rest of your classified ad.
The classified ad is not a sales page. Most experts believe that the longer the sales page, the better the probability of overcoming any objections a buyer might have. However, the classified ad is not a sales page. It can be the introduction to a more indepth sales page, it can be used to generate a contacts list, but it also can be a very brief way to advertise some product or service which is sold instantly at the click of a button. It's up to you how you will be using the ad, but it should remain long enough to get your point across and brief enough not to lose someone's attention.
What works very well in classified ads are bulleted lists of benefits. This way a person can quickly review why they want to buy your product or click to go to the link your website in a very short amount of time. You should vary the font and provide sufficient white space so that the classified at is visually appealing and easy to read. The ad should be less than 100 words long for it to be quickly effective. Don't forget to use your keywords even here!
If the site allows you to add pictures, do so. The ads are much more noticeable with an icon next to the title than without and they make a bigger impact with pictures inside too. If you are selling a physical product people will want to see you wares before they decide to buy. So, it's also important to have pictures of the items you are selling so as to generate enthusiasm and excitement for the purchase.
Once you have a good idea of what you're going to say and how you're going to say it to attract attention, you want to identify different areas online that allow classified ads. They should be sites with large audiences that promote classified ads or that make them easily searchable. Some places online that offer targeted classified ads are Craigslists.com and Facebook.com. In other areas, like eBay, they do offer classified ads but they charge for them. We will discuss some featured sites for classified ads in the next segment.
Posting your classified ad is not a one-time affair. You will want to have a regular schedule to keep posting the ad, at least weekly, so as to keep it visible. Otherwise, it will rapidly be buried by other people posting classified ads and your ad will be old, stale, and practically invisible.
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