Classified ads are a modern marketing phenomenon of the digital age. Affording businesses the opportunity to promote their goods and services to a global or hyper-local audience for free (or a relatively inexpensive rate), online classifieds are one of the best ways companies can bolster their bottom line. Increased brand awareness, greater website traffic and engagement on social platforms, and a more robust SEO strategy: online classifieds can do all of this for your business.
But first, you've got to know how to use them.
Making the Most of Your Classified Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Find the Best Sites for You
Not all online classified websites are created equal — at least, not equal when it comes to attracting your potential customers. You need to be posting where your clients are looking. To find out where this is, simply follow by example. Seek out where your competitors are posting, and then follow suit — only follow better.
Step 2: Follow Better
See how your competition is presenting their classified ad, and take notes. Follow their links or call the number given in the ad to discuss their marketing method. What is good about it? What could use work? Keep these things in mind when you create your own free classified ad.
Step 3: Define Your Message
Obviously, you want to promote your company, but the best marketing is always extremely specific in terms of goals. The end game is obviously to increase sales, but the ways to get to that big goal are many. Perhaps you want to get people to sign up for a mailing list. Or drive them to a page on your website with a specific promo. Or get them to take an action, like providing feedback or entering a contest. Whatever your goal, it's important to clearly define before you create your classified. If you don't know what you're selling, neither will your audience. As a result, they won't take action and you'll lose the traction and power that your classified ad could have provided.
Step 4: Write Your Ad
Now that you have your message and know where you are going to post, it's time to create your ad. A few things to keep in mind:
Write a powerful heading. Get the reader's attention, right away. You're competing in a saturated market, so you have to stand out from the fray. Put yourself in your potential customer's shoes and think about what would attract your attention if you were shopping for your product or service. Then, use impacted words like Proven, Immediately, Tested, Guaranteed, Latest, Amazing, Easy and, (if it is free), FREE!
Get to the meat, fast. Don't beat around the bush with a pointless copy. After your heading, get right into the meat of your message. Tell your audience exactly what you're offering. You can use those impacted words we just mentioned, but be clear in your messaging. Don't aim to deceive or mislead. That will do nothing for your brand credibility in the long-run. Simply make them an offer they can't refuse.
End with a call-to-action. When done right, the call-to-action (CTA) is an invariably powerful way to compel your audience to action. Don't try to be too cute: just get them to act with clear, compelling copy. Examples of solid CTAs include:
Get the free info now!
Get the facts.
Of course, if you are offering something to your clients, you should ensure you have the infrastructure of this offering built before creating your ad. For example, if your classified promises a free listening to music, then have the site ready and available to go out to people immediately. Fulfilling your promises to your audience is a non-negotiable part of running a credible, successful business.
Step 5: Assess & Test
Finally, you want to assess how well your classified ad performed and learn from your triumphs and flops. If something worked well — if a certain type of offering really impelled action and drove sales — use it again! If a classified garnered little to no response, then consider why. Perhaps your offering was good, but the way in which you presented it was weak. Tweak your messaging and then try again. Test different variations on messaging and offerings across different sites and in different ads. See which yields returns and which don’t. Over time, you will start to gain a better understanding of exactly what motivates your target audience, and this invaluable knowledge is what will help you create classifieds that consistently convert.