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
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
- 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,"
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