How to Write a Great Online
Classified Ad

By Jason Kay Icon

There are lots of advanced ways to advertise these days, but if you're looking to sell your sail boat or hire an assistant, you probably aren't going to buy a banner ad on the web. One very effective and affordable way is to place a classified ad online. But so many classified ads are so poorly written that they're a waste of everyone's time, money, and ad space. Writing a successful classified ad isn't rocket science, but there's more to it than meets the eye.

If you're looking to post an ad on an online classified site, it's important to put a little thought and effort into what you're going to say and how you're going to say it. Here are few tips on how to write a great classified ad:

  1. Leave Your Contact Information

    Sounds like a no brainer, right? It's amazing how many people place classified ads and don't leave the reader anyway to get in touch with them. Whatever the means, be sure to give your interested readers a way to pursue your advertisement.

  2. Proofread

    The classified site should tell you when your ad will run and for how long. Be sure to follow up and ensure that your ad is posted in the proper section. The simplest error can give your short and sweet classified ad a completely different meaning. Make sure there are no typos before you approve the ad.

  3. Keep it Short but Detailed

    It's true that readers don't have the attention span to read a small novella in the ad section, but you don't want to leave out important information. Include information that is sure to pique the interest of your readers. Words like 'rare', 'brand new', etc. are usually winners.

  4. List a Price or Rate only if it's a Steal

    If you're selling a classic car well below value, list your asking price with pride. But if you're looking for fair market value, wait until they call you to discuss price. Also, give your readers an idea of your position on the price: if it's negotiable, say so, if it's not, let them know.

  5. Create a Sense of Urgency

    If you've taken the time to place a classified ad, you're probably ready to take action. You want to sell that item, fill that position, or whatever the purpose, with haste. Let your reader know that you're ready to act and they will to. Phrases that encourage readers to act quickly will help you get more response.

  6. Use Keywords Over Generic Phrases

    Instead of titling your ad with phrases like 'For Sale' or 'Position Available', be specific. Paying for bold type and specific wording is worth it. Saying '2000 Cannondale Road Bike' or 'House Sitter Needed' is more attractive to classifieds readers that generic phrasing. Let them know exactly what you need or what you're selling.

When writing an online classified ad, it's important to include as much information as you can in very few words. Tell your readers what you need or have for sale and what's in it for them. The power of the classifieds to help everyday people exchange goods and services is still alive and well.

Jason Kay recommends viewing a list of free classified sites in order to determine which ones are appropriate for your advertising needs.

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