Writing a great classified ad is completely different to writing great sales copy for your website. The primary objective of a classified ad is completely different! Generally the primary objective of your website copy is to persuade your visitor to buy or enquire about your product. The objective of your classified ad is to get the reader to click-through to your website or pick up the phone and call you.
The type of customer that you are going to come across using a classified ad will also be different. When a customer comes to your website they are already interested in what you are offering– they are pre-qualified. A customer that you will find in an ezine or on a website that has classified ads is unqualified.
The Structure of a Classified Advert
The structure for a classified ad is as follows:
- Opening Hook
- Call to Action
The headline is the most important part of the whole ad. It needs to immediately attract the reader’s attention. It needs to YELL above the ‘din’ and cut through all the noise. Think about your target customer. What is your target customer’s need, problem or goal? Write a headline around that. Yell out their problem!
Whenever possible use your reader’s name– some ezines give you the ability to personalise your advertisement by automatically inserting the person’s name into each separate copy of the ezine.
Review ‘headline’ writing in the ‘load’ module from the E-business Bible for a detailed look at writing good headlines.
The opening hook should expand on your headline. Elaborate further on your strongest benefits and look to set the reader up for the call to action.
Remember, your primary objective with a classified ad is to get the reader to click through to your website, or pick up the phone and call you. Outline exactly what you want your reader to do. Make it as easy as possible.
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Formatting a Classified Advert
Once again, review the ‘content’ module from the E-business Bible for a detailed look at formatting your ads. Consider putting your headline inside quotes. Make sure you bold your headline and capitalise the first letter of every word. Sometimes putting your advertisement inside a table and using some alternative colours can really help it stand out from the rest of the copy on the page.
Measuring & Monitoring the Results of a Classified Advert
As always– make sure you measure and monitor everything. Set each of your classified ads up as separate campaigns in the Zeald Website Management Software, so that you can track and measure the results. Experiment with different headlines and different opening hooks.
Make sure you vary your classified ads and keep them fresh– especially the advertisements that are in ezines. You will see your response rates drop-off significantly, after a number of repeated listings.