State Classifieds

State Classifieds

by Michael O'Brien

"The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time"

While I'm not sure who this quote can be attributed to, the message in the words is clear - if you want to successfully promote your product or service there is no substitute for effective advertising. As with any effective marketing program, advertising is an important and necessary component of a successful promotion. Like never before in history huge volumes of information literally fly past us at the speed of light and grabbing the customer's attention and holding it is made more challenging as a result.

Classified advertising in an online environment presents its own unique challenges. But with some focus on the basic tenets of effective advertising you can make your offer, product or service stand out from the competition by using effective, eye-catching classified ads.

"Advertising says to people, 'Here's what we've got. Here's what it will do for you. Here's how to get it.'"

So says the late advertising guru Leo Burnett. It's really that simple. Advertising your product or service does not have to be a complicated process and well-targeted classified ads can answer those important questions in an effective and economical way.

By their nature, classified ads are space-limited. Think of yourself standing in front of group of randomly selected people. You're given 15 words or less to describe your offer, product or service and not have people running for the door - could you do it? That's where your thought process must be when writing your classified ad.

No doubt you've seen ads in the Lost & Found section of your local newspaper. Many of these ads begin with the word "LOST". Well, if it wasn't lost it wouldn't be in that section. The ad may tell us something about the lost item, perhaps its sentimental value to the owner and may or may not, motivate someone to take action. The problem is it took the entire ad to get the message across. The ads that catch my eye are the ones that begin with "REWARD". The person who wrote that ad wanted to get our attention, communicate the importance of the lost item and motivate us to action, all with use of a single word.

"Customers buy for their reasons, not yours." - Orvel Ray Wilson Effective classified advertising grabs the attention of your audience and can deliver a message that customers will act on. Just because you think what you're selling is great doesn't mean the customer will too. Try to put yourself in the mind of your customer. What motivates them to read and, more importantly, act on your ad? It's all about the reader thinks. So avoid overreaching in your message, since not staying absolutely on point will diminish the effectiveness and response to your ad. You may have the best salami in the world for sale. But if you're trying to sell salami to a vegetarian - well you get the picture.

The power of a truly effective classified ad is found in motivation. The goal, as with any effective marketing tool is to generate a near-immediate response on the part of the reader to act. Not act tomorrow or next week but to act quickly.