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Classifieds

Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network


Classified ads can be a cost-efficient, effective tool for small businesses of all kinds. They are less expensive than display ads, and may even get you a better response. Just about every newspaper and most magazines have classified sections in the back. So if you have a local business, you might try your local newspaper. If you have a national clientele, you might want to look at certain magazines. Before you place any ad, read through the classified sections carefully and look for different categories where your product or service would fit.

Then use these tips to help you create your ad.
  • Always begin your classified ad with a short, catchy headline to grab the reader's attention quickly. Try to keep it no longer than 3 -5 words. Make sure it is in all capital letters or in bold face type. For example, a stock tips newsletter might use something like "MAKE MONEY IN THE MARKET."

  • One-stop classified ads - you are offering a service or product through the ad. The responder sends you money....you send them the product. The transaction is over. For example: "MAKE MONEY IN THE MARKET: Our monthly investment newsletter is filled with hundreds of tips and hints to make you a success in the stock market. Send R25 for a one-year subscription."

  • Two step ads - you offer to send free information (with a motivating sales letter or brochure) to get the sale. The responder must either respond again, or you need to follow up with a phone call or another letter to get the sale. For example: "MAKE MONEY IN THE MARKET: Free - 10 tips on how you can make the most of your investment opportunities. Call 800-555-1111" You would respond by sending the 10 tips along with a subscription solicitation. Plus, you get the prospect's name for your database. By the way, be sure to put something on the envelope like "Here's the information you requested."

  • Use simple, clear, friendly language. Stick to short words and short sentences. And avoid punctuation marks - exclamation points and question marks slow readers down. Stay away from abbreviations unless everybody reading them will understand what they mean.

  • Be sure to tell the reader what action to take. Otherwise, there's a good chance they won't take any. Tell them to "call" or "write" or "send money," etc.

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