We've all heard the saying, "It takes money to make money." They really should have went on to say, "It takes BIG money to make BIG money." The local car dealership that has those commercials on TV every night during the national news may be spending a million dollars or more just to get those ads in that desirable time slot. So what is the small or home business owner to do? Most small business owners don't have a million dollar advertising budget. How can you get advertising that really works for little or no money?
If you are on a limited or non-existent advertising budget use classified advertising. Classified ads come in a variety of sizes and costs. Many are free or inexpensive at least, and can be quite effective.
Classifieds appear everywhere from neighborhood newsletters to huge national newspapers and magazines that reach tens of millions of viewers per month.
I can attest personally the fact that CLASSIFIEDS DO REALLY WORK! You can get customers and prospects; as well as sell your product or service. But, ONLY if you know how to use classifieds to your advantage.
Here are four basic steps you can start using today to make your classifieds work for you.
#1 Target your best prospects.
"Targeted prospects. Target market." I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard or read those words this year. Sounds cliché doesn't it? It's not! It's hands down the best way to make your ads work! Every newspaper, ezine, and website has it's own particular kind of audience.
Hear this folks: Your ads will not sell unless your product or service is something THAT PUBLICATION'S particular audience would buy.
To understand what type audience a particular publication is reaching, look at their articles and ads. What are they selling? What kind of folks would buy these items? Consider age, lifestyle, gender, income, and education level. It won't take very long at all and you'll have a good idea of
what kind of audience that particular publication reaches.
"USA Today" attracts a very large international audience primarily of very well paid business people. Your local bargain shopper newsletter probably focuses on working class folks looking for a bargain. The local daily or weekly newspaper tends to do best with local homeowners and citizens. A mail order tabloid often goes after thousands of opportunity seekers at a time. The internet by it's very nature tends to appeal to well educated, up-scale audiences in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
#2 Write a good headline.
Definitely one of my "pet peeves." With any classified the headline makes or breaks the ad. I've told many of my downline members this over and over?" If you don't have a real attention grabbing headline your ad will never even be read." This is true folks. Very briefly put as much key information in your headline as you can in 3 to 6 words. This means your headline has to
get the prospects attention and tell him enough about the ad to make him want to read the rest of the ad.
For example if I had a computer I wanted to sell in my local weekly newspaper what should I write??.. It could vary somewhat, but I would primarily be dealing with a local family type audience. I could write:
COMPUTER FOR SALE! POWERFUL! CHEAP!
In 5 words I've told the prospect what the item is, something about it's quality and benefit (POWERFUL & CHEAP), and at the same time given a clue about the price.
If I advertised that same computer in a newsgroup that had an audience of computer enthusiasts; I would need to change the headline to reflect their more advanced understanding.
PENTIUM II, 333, LIKE NEW, UNDER $1200!
You want to show your prospect what your product, service, or opportunity will do for them, but DO NOT MAKE OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS. No get rich quick. No millionaire in 60 day programs.
You know the kind I'm talking about I think. Small business owners can build a financial empire in business on the internet or off for that matter; but unless you are a super motivated, marketing superstar with hundreds of contacts it's not gonna happen in 30, 60, or 90 days. Do NOT make unbelievable claims.
#3 Keep the body of your ad short.
Shorter ads usually cost less. Even if you are somewhere that allows 50 or 100 words per classified, make your writing concise and to the point. No need to write in complete sentences in classifieds as long as you make sense. A good rule of thumb with classifieds is; if it can be said with less words effectively, use less words. Lay out the essential info about your product or service and SHOW THE PROSPECT HOW IT BENEFITS THEM! Give all your contact info. A name, mail address, phone number, email address, and website url add so much credibility.
3)Urge prospect to mail, email, or call now!
Words like free, new, amazing, now, how-to, discover, method, plan, reveals, advanced, and improved always work well in ads. Use the word YOU very often as you talk about the benefits of your product or service. Some expert copy writers capitalize the word YOU in their ads.
#4 Track your ads.
You are throwing your money out the window if you don't know which ads work and which ads don't. Key your ads and run them in only a few places at first to see how they work. The real pros always code their ads so they know which publications and which ads work. Not every
ad will do as well as you might expect. When you come up with a really good one that brings good response. PLASTER IT EVERYWHERE and don't stop till it stops pulling. Many of the higher traffic, online classified boards notify you when you get a response from their site. This is a nice feature and makes it easy for you to know how many responses came from that particular site.
I promise you that the few days it will take you to test some various ads will be nothing when compared to the response you will get from one really good headline and ad. Just try it and see for yourself.
By using the above 4 techniques in your classifieds you will reach more of your best prospects, sell or recruit more, and reduce the time and money you spend on classifieds.
Leon is webmaster and owner of Appalachian Online Marketing at http://www.appalachianmarketing.com. At Appalachian Online Marketing you can find everything you need to turn your struggling business into an explosive moneymaker! Free subscription to Absolute Internet Marketing Resources Ezine containing the most current, up to date online marketing resources on the planet!
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