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Writing Profitable Classified Ads

Writing Profitable Classified Ads
Copyright © Craig Warren

Everybody wants to make more money. In fact, most people
would like to hit upon something that makes them fabulously
rich! And seemingly, one of the easiest roads to the
fulfillment of these dreams of wealth is mail order or
within the professional circles of the business, direct
mail selling.

The only thing is, hardly anyone gives much real thought
to the basic ingredient of selling by mail – the writing
of profitable classified ads. If your mail order business
is to succeed, then you must acquire the expertise of
writing classified ads that sell your product or services!

Many advertisers think that writing classified ads is
completely different from writing longer print ads, which
contain a headline, body text and possibly a picture or
two. However, to write a successful classified ad, all the
time-honored elements of successful advertising must be

Large print ads include a headline to gather attention,
introductory body copy to inform and generate added interest,
additional body copy to create enthusiasm and desire to make
a purchase and a call to action that incites the reader to
take the steps necessary to start the purchasing process.

In advertising circles, these four features are often
designated by the acronym “A.I.D.A.,” which stands for:

Attention (headline)
Interest (body text)
Desire (added body text)
Action (call to action).

So what makes a classified ad good or bad? First of all, it
must appeal to the reader and as such, it must say exactly
what you want it to say. Secondly, it has to say what it says
in the least possible number of words in order to keep your
operating costs within your budget. And thirdly, it has to
produce the desired results whether inquiries or sales.

Grabbing the reader’s attention is your first objective.
You must assume the reader is scanning the page on which
your ad appears in the company of two or three hundred
classified ads. Therefore, there has to be something about
your ad that causes him to stop scanning and look at yours!
So, the first two or three words of your ad are of the utmost
importance and deserve your careful consideration. Most surveys
show that words or phrases that quickly involve the reader,
tend to be the best attention-grabbers. Such words as: FREE…

Whatever words you use as attention-grabbers, to start your ads,
you should bear in mind that they’ll be competing with similar
attention-grabbers of the other ads on the same page. Therefore,
in addition to your lead words, your ad must quickly go on to
promise or state further benefits to the reader. In other words,
your ad might read something like this: MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy
& Simple. We show you how!

In the language of professional copywriters, you’ve grabbed the
attention of your prospect and interested him with something
that even he can do.

The next rule of good classified copywriting has to do with the
arousal of the reader’s desire to get in on your offer. In a great
many instances, this rule is by-passed and it appears, this is the
real reason that an ad doesn’t pull according to the expectations
of the advertiser.

Think about it – you’ve got your reader’s attention, you’ve told
him it’s easy and simple and you’re about to ask him to do
something. Unless you take the time to further want your offer,
your ad is going to only half turn him on. He’ll compare your ad
with the others that have grabbed his attention and finally decide
upon the one that interests him the most.

What is being said is that here is the place for you to insert that
magic word “guaranteed” or some other such word or phrase. So now,
we’ve got an ad that reads: MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy & Simple. Guaranteed!

Now the reader is turned on, and in his mind, he can’t lose. You’re
ready to ask for his money. This is the “demand for action” part of
your ad. This is the part where you want to use such words as: Limited
time offer! Act now! Call today!

Generally speaking, readers respond more often to ads that include a
name than to those showing just initials or an address only. However,
because advertising costs are based upon the number of words, or the
amount of space your ad uses, the use of some names in classified ads
could become quite expensive. If we were to ask our ad respondents to
write to or send their money to The Research Writers & Publishers
Association, or to Book Business Mart, or even to Money Maker’s
Opportunity Digest, our advertising costs would be prohibitive. Thus
we shorten our name Researchers or Money-Makers. The point here is to
think relative to the placement costs of your ad, and to shorten
excessively long names.

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