Saturday, May 23, 2009

Clever Classified Copywriting

(c)copyright 2002 Terry Telford

Have you looked at the classified section of your favorite newspaper, ezine, or website lately? Have you noticed all the brilliantly written classified ads? Me either.

To make sure that your classified ads stand out in a crowd, use some simple rules, some creative flair, and an award winning formula. If you follow these A-B-C's for writing effective classifieds, you will increase your response rate and your profits. And that's what it's all about.

Here is your quick and simple A-B-C guide for writing classifieds that sell.

A. Think like your reader. While you are writing your ad, always remember that your reader is thinking 'What's in it for me?'

B. Write your ad to one person. Pretend you are sitting beside your reader having a one-on-one conversation. Don't address your entire market at once. There is only one person at a time reading your ad.

C. Write a benefits list for your products. Remember, benefits are not features. Here is an example.

FEATURE: Make a million dollars online

BENEFIT: Enjoy the luxurious lifestyle of the rich and famous, right in your own home.

See the difference? A feature is what your product or service does. The benefit is the feel good feeling you get from the feature. Now write a list of all the benefits you can think of for your product.

D. Edit your list of benefits and select the best one. Writing a successful classified is like writing a sentence, you focus on one thought at a time.

E. Write the headline for your classified, using the benefit that you have chosen. The headline is the most important element of your ad. If you don't grab the reader's attention in a milli-second as they are scanning all the classifieds, you've lost them.

F. Write the body of your classified using the features that support your benefit.

G. Begin writing your classified without thinking about the final size of the ad. Write as much as you can about your product, but stay focused on the benefit that you have chosen. By the time you are done you may have a whole page of copy.

H. Edit your ad. Most ezines run classified ads that are approximately 5 lines long and 60 characters wide. Use this guideline to edit your full page of copy down to a normal classified size. Pick out your best sentences, power words, and convincing arguments that will make your reader click on the link to your website or send you an email.

I. Make sure you include your web address and email. Use http:// before your website address, so that it looks like and mailto: before your email address, so that it looks like Don't put a period after .com or you can ruin your link.

J. When you have finished the ad, go back and read it, polish it, and read it again. Leave it for a couple of days and come back and read and polish some more.

When you are writing your ad, make it believable. Using a lot of !!! may get attention, but it makes your ad look gimmicky and less believable. People genuinely want to believe what they are reading, but if you come off like a snake oil sales man, no one will respond to your ad. Your
credibility is key.

There is much more to writing a classified ad than just verbally throwing up on your reader. You need to be refined and put some thought into what you are saying. These A-B-C's will help you write a successful and profitable classified ad.

Good luck and God Bless

Yours successfully,
Terry Telford

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