Everybody wants to make more
money. In fact, most people would like to hit upon
something that makes them fabulously rich! One of the easiest roads to the
fulfillment of the dreams of wealth is known within the professional circles of
business as direct marketing, commonly referred to as mail order. However,
hardly anyone gives much 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
What makes a classified ad
good or bad? First of all, it must appeal to the
reader, stating exactly what your product can do for him. Secondly, your classified
must convey your message in the fewest possible number of words in order to
keep advertising costs within your budget. Finally, a classified must produce the
desired results, whether it is generating inquiries or promoting sales.
Grabbing the reader's attention
is your first objective. You must assume the
reader is quickly scanning the page on which your ad appears in the company of
numerous other classified ads, each set in the same typestyle and of
approximately the same length. Therefore, there must be something about your
classified that causes a reader to stop scanning down the column and read your
entire ad. The first two or three words of your ad are of the utmost importance and
are deserving of your careful consideration. Words or phrases that quickly involve
the reader are the best attention- grabbers. Messages such as "FREE", "WIN",
"MAKE BIG MONEY", "FANTASTIC", or "FAST PROFITS" will capture a
reader's attention and draw his focus toward your ad.
Whatever words you use as attention-grabbers
to start your ads, you should bear
in mind that they'll be competing with similar words in 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 of your product to the reader. Your ad might read
something like this:
MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy &
We show you how!
In just a few words you've
grabbed the attention of your prospect and interested
him with something that he can do.
The next step in successful
classified copywriting is to increase the reader's
desire to get in on your offer. In a great many instances, this rule is by-passed,
and is the singlemost reason that an offer does not pull according to the
expectations of the advertiser. Think about it. You've captured the 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 make the offer unavoidably attractive, your
ad is only going to have accomplished half the job for which it was designed. The
reader will compare your ad with the others that have grabbed his attention and
will ultimately decide upon one that has better given him a vision of the
possibilities the product holds. It is at this point that you must insert a word or
phrase that will convince the prospect of your offer's proven value. Use of that
seemingly magic word "Guaranteed" or some equally powerful word or phrase
will let the reader know you mean business. Thus, we've got an ad that now reads:
MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy &
We show you how! Guaranteed.
The reader's complete attention
now is focused on your ad, and in his mind, he is
thinking that he can't lose by accepting your offer. You're ready to ask for his
money. This is known as a "demand for action." This portion of the ad should use
such words as" "Limited Offer", "Act Now!", "Write Today!", "Only", and Just".
Putting it all together, your ad could read:
MAKE BIG MONEY! Easy &
We show you how! Guaranteed. Limited Offer. Send $2 to:
The formula for any good classified
ad is the use of words that will capture the
reader's Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action - commonly referred to as AIDA.
Without these four ingredients carefully integrated into your classified, chances
are your ad will just "lie there" and not do anything but cost you money. What
we've shown above is a basic classified ad. Although such an ad could be placed
in any leading publication and would produce a good response, it's known as a
"blind ad" and would pull inquires and responses from a whole spectrum of
people reading the publication in which it appeared. Many would send the $2
requested, but others would not. In other words, you would receive responses
from as many people merely seeking to fill their boxes with free mail as from bona
Let's give you an example of
the kind of classified ad you might want to use to sell
a report such as this one. Using all the rules of basic advertising copywriting
listed above, and stating exactly what our product is, our ad will read:
MONEY-MAKER'S SECRETS! How
to Write Winning Classified Ads. Simple &
easy to learn - learn how to double or triple your responses. Rush $3 to ABC
Sales, 10 Main, Anytown, USA 10001.
Remember: You've got to grab
the reader's attention, interest him with something
appealing, further stimulate him with some catch-phrase that makes him desire
the product or services, and demand that he act immediately.
There's no point in being tricky
or clever with classified advertising. Just adhere to
the basics and your profits will increase accordingly. One of the best ways of
learning to write good classified ads is to study the classifieds that are already
out there. Try to figure out exactly what they're attempting to sell. Practice
rewriting the published ads according to the rules we've just given you. Whenever
you sit down to write a classified, always write down everything you want to say.
Go back over it, crossing out words and refining your phrases. Rewrite the ad
several times for maximum effectiveness. After you have arrived at a final ad, try
to write an entirely new ad for the same product. After completing the task again,
choose the one that most appeals to you.
The final ingredient of your
ad is the name and address to which the reader is to
respond - where he's to send his money or write for further information. Generally
speaking, readers respond more often to ads that include a name than to those
showing just initials or merely an address. 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 you were
to ask your ad respondents to write or send their money to "The International
Consumer Research and Publishers Association", to "American Book Mart
Review", or even to "Economic Opportunity Digest", your advertising costs would
be prohibitive. Therefore, shorten your name to simply "Researchers" or "ECD".
The point is, consider your name in relation to the placement costs of your ad,
and shorten excessively long names.
The same rule that applies
to names holds true when listing your post office box
number. Shorten "Post Office Box 40" to "Box 40, or in the case of rural route,
shorten it to RR. If the ad is sold by the line length, abbreviate extensions such as
"Boulevard", "Drive" and "Avenue" to Blvd., Dr., and Ave. If the street name is
completely unique, you want to leave the extension off entirely. A suite or
apartment number can be listed as #303 rather than spelling out Suite #303".
State or province names can always be abbreviated. Also, abbreviate directions
in an address. Use "NE" in place of "Northeast" or "S" instead of "South".
Always remember the rules of
profitable classified ad writing, and follow them
closely. Use the AIDA formula in writing a succinct, clear, and eye-catching ad.
Hold your costs in line by using as few words as possible, but make sure that
every word counts. Shorten names and addresses to keep costs low. Also
remember that the best, most productive use of classified advertising is to
generate inquiries, not sales. Now that you know the basics, the rest is up to you.
Practice writing and rewriting your classified ads until each one becomes a
successful tool for propelling you along the pathway to success.