Creating effective classified word advertising can be tricky to say the least.
Here are the top 10 key elements that are must-haves for successful classified word ad campaigns, based on our decades of experience creating successful classified ads for clients.
Consider the category your ad will run under before writing your headline and ad copy. If your ad is running under “Positions Available” or “Vacation Rental Property”, you no longer need to say this in your text. Focus on what makes your offer special and unique and highlight those items.
This is what the reader will see first and scan quickly to determine whether they want to keep reading. Carefully select keywords that attract your target audience and let them know immediately what you are offering or promoting and how it can benefit them or fill a need. Or ask a question that generates immediate interest for your product, service or opportunity. Be specific but not too wordy.
Examples: “Cutting Edge Dental Practice with Ocean View Looking for Qualified Personnel”, “Stay Home with The Kids – At-Home Job for Marketing Professionals” “Love to Bake but Hate to Heat Up the Kitchen?”
Save the company name for the contact information area. Though it may be tempting to highlight your company name in the headline, remember that the reader is interested in what you are offering and how it benefits them more than in the company itself.
Try to gain an emotional reaction or feeling from the readers. Use words that cause them to think your product, service or opportunity will make them happier, more confident and secure, and more powerful or successful. Use words that make readers envision something that is beautiful, has action, has positive results, is serene, etc. Which of the following has more impact: “Rent a Home by the River” or “Fall Asleep to the Soothing Sounds of the Rushing River”?
Take advantage of word ad upgrades, but don’t overdo it. Consider adding bold text to your headline or a tinted background or box. This helps your ad stand out from the others, and gives the impression that you are unique and believe in your product or service enough to highlight it. However, in your ad copy, just bold a few key words to attract the eye. Too many reduces their effectiveness.
Below your catchy headline, your ad copy must continue to create interest and reach. For recruitment advertising, make sure your ad copy describes your job offer, salary level, skills required, benefits and a description of the job location explaining why someone might want to live there. For product, service or opportunity advertisements use the ad copy to describe details, benefits, quality, color, etc. in the ad copy.
The goal of your ad should be to make the reader want to make contact with you, your website or social media page. There is no need to try and say everything about your offering but say enough to create further interest. If you are selling something, it may or may not be wise to list the price. If the price is well below the average, you may benefit by mentioning it. If not, you want to ensure the reader learns more about what you are offering before they know the price, so that they understand the value.
Be conservative with the use of capital letters, exclamation points, underlines, asterisks, etc. These additions can ‘cheapen’ the look of the ad and its content. They can create an image of being a gimmick or an untrustworthy offer, and make the ad look busy, jumbled and confused.
Tell your customers to call you, email you, visit your social media page or website, sign up for your newsletter. You decide on the next step and send readers there.
Make it easy for the reader to respond immediately by providing multiple contact options.
Advertising is an investment. You are investing money to make money or gain response. In order to know where your best response is coming from, you must track response. Consider a special phone extension that is only listed in a specific ad in a specific publication. Do not let anyone answer your phone(s) without asking where the caller heard about you and capture this information. Create landing pages on your website that you drive traffic to with an address only used in your ad, so you can analyze the statistics. Consider leading readers to a free offer on your website that first requires them to provide their contact information and how they heard of you.
If you do not receive the response you are hoping for from your ad, change it! A simple headline change or ad copy change can greatly impact your advertising success.
Consistency is key to classified ad success. Not everyone buys the first time they are exposed to a product, service or opportunity. Consistent advertising keeps you top-of-mind when the reader is ready to react and respond. If you aren’t there when it happens, someone else will be