Making The Most Of Your Classified Ads

Classified ads are one of the most inexpensive ways to advertise your products or service.

People read classified ads for a purpose. They are specifically looking for products, services and information that appeals to them. Unfortunately many people misuse classified ads. They try to sell a product directly from the ad.

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. Realise 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.

The best way to use a classified ad is as a two step process.

1. You place a classified ad in your local newspaper/magazine. The ad should be simple and straight to the point. It should then direct readers to a website or to call a phone number of your answering machine.

2. Your customer will either visit your website or dial the number where they will get a powerful sales message. At the end customers are directed to send an order to the address you give on the website/tape or they can leave their contact details.
An example of such classified ad would be:

“Double your mail order business’ profits. Incredible recorded message tells secrets. Call 1234 5678 24hours or visit www.yourcompany.com.au.

The selection of words you use is the most important aspect of classified ad copy. You need to choose precisely but don’t skimp on words to save the cost in the ad.
Where to place classifieds?

The best advice in placing classifieds is to follow the leader. Find where other goods in your category are being sold and do the same. Although your product must have an appeal different than the others, stay with the same pack and advertise in the same publications.
If you do not charge anything in the classified ad, you will get far more responses from the ad for free information than you will for goods at any price. Charging a small fee to cover postage or the cost of the inquiry will never make you break even – people won’t be bothered.

Test test test!

The most important element in mail order advertising is to test. Not only do you need to find out if your product will sell, but you have to find out what the best price is. You have to test the magazines. One may not draw as many responses as another. Or, after three months, it may not seem to pull at all. Then switch to another publication.

Don’t be too hasty in dropping a publication, however. Sometimes it takes the repeat insertions of three or four months to get the proper percentage of response. People become more secure with a repeat ad or they may pass it by the first or second time until they get around to writing for information.

Keying the Address

How do you determine what inquiry response came from which ad? You code the company name or street address so you can determine what ad pulled the response. The simple key is a two part letter and number code. The letter stands for the name of the publication and the number represents the month the ad appeared. The best way to key is to add the code to the address in the form of department, division or suite number.

Writing Classifieds

The best way to prepare copy is to first write about your products/services at length. List all the major benefits and features. What sticks out? What is so great about your product? What can it do for the reader who will take the time to write for more information? How can your product help? Will it show how to earn money, does it offer self-improvement, can it help accomplish something appealing and significant?

Choose a powerful heading that points out the most significant aspect of your product. Follow up with a few words or details and finish with a request to contact for more information. The best word in a classified is “free”, but you must follow up with something free.

Some words you can use to increase sales appeal:

Absolutely, Amazing, Bargain, Beautiful, Colossal, Confidential, Discount, Easily, Endorsed, Exciting, Exclusive, Expert, Guaranteed, Immediately, Interesting, Latest, Outstanding,, Proven, Quality, Successful, Superior, Tested, Valuable, Wonderful.

Close your ad with an action-getting phrase, such as:

Act Now.
All sent free to introduce… .
Free booklet explains
Get facts that help
Investigate today
Order Now!
Don’t delay
Revealing booklet free
Rush name for details
Unique sample offer
Offer limited
Details free
Responding to Enquiries

Once you start getting responses from the classified ads, you should send out your sales literature immediately, definitely within one week. The goat is to convert the inquiry into a sale and convert the sale into pure profit.

Your sales literature can be a one-page pitch for your product. It doesn’t have to be an expensive colour catalog. As you get going, you may prepare a sales package and a series of follow-up offers.

Follow up sales are where you are going to make your fortune. Your classified draws the inquiries, the first order establishes a good customer and the rest of the orders are pure gold.

The Response Package

A typical mail order package – called a conversion – consists of a personal letter, a brochure, an order form and a return envelope. Always start small. A simple one-page offer can work as well as a fancy catalog. After you’ve built up a few good selling products, you might print up a catalog

How to Prepare Sales Literature

The sales letter promotes you as well as your product. It is a personal appeal to a potential buyer. You want the person to feel special and have a reason not only to look through the rest of the literature, but to buy your product.

The appearance of the sales letter is the most important aspect. It should be on company letterhead, cleanly printed and inviting to read. Write the sales letter as though you are writing to a friend – keep it direct and personal. Present yourself and your product as worthwhile, honest and desirable.

Follow through on the appeal, amplifying why the product is desirable. Emphasize its value to the reader. Build credibility. Answer the questions – will it make me a better or richer or more secure person? Can it prevent worry, poverty, illness? Why should anyone want to have it?

You should include a guarantee in all your ads and sales literature and you must honour. Never send inferior merchandise and deliver a complete product.

It is only through satisfied customers that you will get repeat business and it is through repeat business that you make more money.

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