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Start a steady stream of leads flowing into your business.
Trying to grow a business without a steady supply of fresh
leads is like trying to drive across the country ...
Start a steady stream of leads flowing into your business.
Trying to grow a business without a steady supply of fresh
leads is like trying to drive across the country on a single tank
of gas. With everything on your plate, who has time to chase
after new leads?
Don't panic. Self-made millionaire Brad Sugars shows you why
generating a constant flow of hot leads isn't nearly as complicated
as you might think. Discover how to:
apart from the herd
break even analysis
Get real results right now when you discover all that Instant Success has to offer!
• Instant Cashflow
• Instant Profit
• Instant Promotions
• Instant Referrals
Instant Repeat Business
• Instant Sales
• Instant Systems
• Instant Team Building
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Part 1 Classified Advertising
"Charlie, I'm going to start with classified advertising, if that's OK?"
"Fine by me, Brad. At least it's something I know a bit about, having done a fair bit of it over the years."
That was exactly my reasoning, and it was working.
"I thought we'd start with the familiar and then progress to the not-so-familiar, if you follow my drift."
"I'm right there with you, man. You lead the way."
My strategy is always to go right back to basics. That way there's little chance of anything falling through the cracks.
"I'm going to start by looking at what classified advertising really is, and what makes it successful. Then we'll consider exactly what you need to do to ensure that yours is a success. How does that sound?"
"Beautiful. Let's get into it."
What Is a Successful Classified Advertisement?
Classified advertising is one of the most cost-effective lead generation tools any business can use. It commands greater confidence than almost any other form of advertising. The true beauty of the classified section in most newspapers is that people who are reading it are doing so because they want to buy a particular product or service.
Unlike normal print advertising where you're trying to convince people they need what you're selling, people reading the classifieds have already made the decision to buy.
They're qualified customers looking for a deal. All you have to do is get them to deal with you.
So what makes a successful classified advertisement?
Basically any classified advertisement that pays for itself can be considered successful. That's not to say our objective is to spend $100 and get $100 worth of sales as a result of it. What you need to understand is the lifetime value of each customer who responds to your ad.
Think of it this way: You acquire customers through classified ads. Your acquisition cost is determined by how much your classified advertisement costs, divided by how many customers it brings into your store.
Once you've calculated this figure, you can work out how many times customers need to purchase from you before they become profitable. In the average business this will mean selling to them two times before you begin to make a profit.
With this in mind, you need to focus on bringing the customer back on a regular basis. Therefore, any classified advertisement that covers its cost initially will turn out to be profitable in the long term.
What Makes a Successful Classified Ad?
There are a number of key elements which, when combined, make a successful classified advertisement. The most important of these is the headline. You'll find out everything you need to know about how to write effective headlines in Part 8.
Another important consideration is the offer you're making. No matter how well written your classified advertisement is, without a great offer it will not work.
In the following pages you'll learn how to write headlines that work, how to position your advertisement for maximum exposure, and which typefaces have the best recognition levels. You'll also discover which category your classified advertisement should appear in, what size to use, and which benefits, angles, and appeals work best.
The Seven Steps to Classified Advertising Success
Step 1: Who Is Your Target Market?
Before you begin designing your classified ad, you need to have a clear idea of who it is you are trying to reach. You need to know exactly who your target market is. If you don't, it's almost impossible to attract them. You'd have to take the let's-see approach. Unfortunately, the let's-see method of advertising tends to fail every time. One thing is certain: You won't see anything in the way of new customers.
You need to know exactly who you're dealing with, what they're interested in, and what's going to make them buy your product. If you don't know these basic facts, you're really just taking your chances.
So let's get specific. Who are the people most likely to be interested in your product or service? Here are some guidelines.
Age: How old are they? Don't just say all ages or a variety. We want to create a picture in the mind of your average customer. Think of an age that symbolizes most of your customers.
Sex: Are they male or female? Half and half is too broad. Practically every business is split one way or the other. Give it some real thought. Which gender spends more with you and visits more often?
Income: How much do they make? Do they earn a great living, meaning quality is the big issue, or are they scraping for every dollar, always looking for a deal? It's essential that you find this out.
Where do they live? Are they local, or do they come from miles around to deal with you? This will dictate how you communicate with them.
Step 2: Where Should You Run Your Classified Advertisement?
Now that you've identified the who, you need to find a publication that reaches them. There may be a number of seemingly suitable publications. To find out which works best for you, try them all and then test and measure the results. You'll find out all you need to know about testing and measuring in Part 10.
Newspapers are among the most common classified advertising mediums for the small- to medium-sized business, although some trade publications may also have a section for classifieds. Newspaper advertising can be relatively expensive, particularly in metropolitan markets. Basically, there are two types of newspapers for you to choose from, although there may be only one in some regional centers.
The first of these are daily newspapers. These are papers that are printed six or seven days a week, but be aware that circulation can vary greatly from day to day. For example, a paper's circulation (number of papers sold each day) may be 45,000 on a Saturday and only 23,500 on a Monday.
The second type is weekly newspapers. These are printed only once a week and are quite often delivered free of charge to homes. Because weekly newspapers are delivered to specific areas, they can be a great advertising tool for tradesmen, accountants, hairdressers, and other similar types of businesses.
Daily newspapers tend to have a larger circulation, because their articles are more up-to-date. They will also tend to attract a readership within a wealthier demographic than weekly papers would. If you're selling more expensive items, luxury services, or have a sale that only lasts a few days, then daily newspapers are definitely more effective than weekly publications. If on the other hand you're selling less expensive items or clearing out old stock, weekly papers can bring a good response.
It's also worth keeping in mind that many people actually refer to their weekly paper when looking for certain services rather than consulting the Yellow Pages. This is because it's easier to find tradesmen or service people in a specific suburb from the local paper, than it is by wading through all the entries listed in the Yellow Pages.
Because most magazines are national publications, they will generally be very expensive and the majority of them won't have a classified section. The major benefit of classified advertising in magazines is that they target people with specific interests. Magazines are great if you sell your product nationally, have a high price, or a target-specific product or service.
For example, a company that manufactures bullbars could advertise in the classified section of a 4WD magazine, or a hose manufacturer could advertise in the classified section of a gardening magazine. Magazine advertising can also be very effective for companies that sell by mail order.
Trade journals are one of the least expensive forms of classified advertising. Companies advertising in them have the advantage of being able to reach a very specific target market. While this is a benefit, it can also be a limitation, as they generally won't have a very high readership. To use trade journals effectively, you need to have a great offer. But, keep in mind that not all trade journals have a classified section.
In addition to the large number of publications you have to choose from, you'll also have a number of classifications to decide between. As an example, a typical daily newspaper has the following classified sections:
These are just some of the many categories you may have to choose from. You need to make sure you place your ad in the section where people will be looking for that product or service. If no suitable category exists, place your advertisement in another section that might be read by your target market.
Step 3: What Do You Want to Say?
This may ruffle a few feathers. There's no such thing as image advertising. Be aware that it's just a concept newspapers and marketing people have invented to explain advertising that doesn't do a thing for your business or make you a cent. It's the ad that says, "Hi, our name is this, we sell this type of product, our phone number is this," and it's a total waste of time.
You need to say something to your potential customers. There must be a strong message that you're trying to get across to people. This may be in the form of a strong offer you want to make, an important point of difference, a list of the benefits that result when dealing with you, or something unusual about your product.
It's essential that what you say is appealing to whom you are trying to say it to. For example, giving away a skateboard with each walker sold probably won't work. Giving away an arthritis ointment, however, would probably get great results.
Let's deal with each type of message, one by one.
Strong Offer: This is the most commonly used and the one that tends to work the best. Remember, people are generally looking for the product or service that offers the best value for money. So an ad with an offer that stops them in their tracks can get outstanding results. You'll learn more about creating powerful offers in Part 10.
Point of Difference: This can work well when there is a large market for your product and where you have many competitors. For example, if you were advertising a steak and seafood restaurant, you'd be hard pressed to stand out. But what if your steakhouse had live entertainment, free drinks from 7 p.m., and the best view in town? That would be worth promoting.
Listing the Benefits: If you don't have a strong offer or point of difference, listing the benefits of dealing with you may do the trick. For example, a plumber could list the four ways he gives better service, or a beauty spa could emphasise the six ways a client's skin will improve after only one visit. Most importantly, you must relate the benefits to the customer. Remember; always write your classified ad about the readers' favorite subject —them.
Step 4: How to Write Your Classified Advertisement
Now that you've covered the basics, it's time to get into the nuts and bolts of how to write your classified advertisement.
There are three basic types of classified advertisements:
1. Display classified advertisements are very similar to standard print advertisements.
2. Semidisplay advertisements are basically line ads with a border around them.
3. Line ads are commonly used for private sales.
The most important part of your advertisement is the headline. David Ogilvy, one of the all-time great direct-response copywriters, once said that 10 times as many people would read the headline as will read the rest of the ad. So if you get the headline wrong, you can kiss 90 percent of your advertising dollars good-bye.
You will find out more about writing headlines in Part 10. However, at this point you need to keep in mind when running a display classified advertisement that the headline needs to take up at least 25 percent of the total size of your advertisement. If, however, you're running a simple line ad, your headline or first word should immediately tell the reader what it is you're trying to sell.
The typeface (or font as it is otherwise known) you use in your advertisement can make a big difference in the results you achieve. Typefaces can basically fall into one of two categories: Sans serif and serif. Sans serif fonts don't have the little feet at the bottom of each letter.
Studies have shown that people find sans serif fonts far more difficult to read than serif fonts, because serif fonts have the little feet or hooks at the bottom of each letter. These appear to form a line under the words that your eye can follow as you read. If you want people to read your classified advertisement, use a serif typeface.
The most common serif font is Times New Roman. Find out the font used by the publication your ad's running in and have your ad set in that font.
The size of the font you use is referred to as its point size. Studies have shown that readership does not drop off between 14 and 7 point size. As a general rule, I'd recommend you use 10-point fonts. However, if you're running a line ad, you may wish to use an impact headline that would be a much larger point size. You'll learn more about this shortly.
Use bold type to highlight key points in your copy, headlines, and subheadlines. Italics can also be used to highlight key areas of text, although it can be hard to read and should be used only sparingly. Never use ALL CAPITALS.
The only time you can use all capitals is in a short or impact headline, or for the extra emphasis of a key word.
If you're running a display advertisement, you may wish to break your copy up into paragraphs, as this will make it easier to read. Indenting your paragraphs rather than leaving a line between them can cut down on wasted space. Also consider using a drop cap first letter, as it's a great way to attract the eye of your reader.
Subheadlines have three major benefits:
1. They break up large blocks of text, making them easier to read. If your display classified advertisement looks like one big chunk of text, it can put people off. By using subheadlines, you can break your copy up and give it some space.
2. They allow someone skimming over your classified ad to only read the points that interest them.
3. They spark the readers' interest. If your headline doesn't pull them in completely, you can get a second chance with your subheadlines.
It is important that your subheadlines tell a story. They need to be able to convey your message to those people who are just browsing over your ad. Obviously you would only use subheadlines in display classified advertisements, as line ads are normally not long enough to warrant them.
You get only one chance with a potential customer, so your first few words are crucial. You must get your readers interested immediately with the very first paragraph. If they're not excited after the first 50 words or so, they won't read the rest of your ad.
Use the bare minimum of words to get your message across. Don't ramble on. But make sure you include enough information to get your readers interested enough to call you. Never tell the whole story in your ad. Tell them only as much as you need to, in order to get them to call. By holding back some information, you make it necessary for them to call to find out more.
Your ad should tell your prospects exactly what it is that you're trying to sell them. When you finish writing your ad, get someone to look over it and critique it for you. Only make one offer in your ad, but make it exciting!
Using abbreviations in line and semidisplay classified ads is an effective way to cut down on your costs. You also must be careful not to abbreviate words to the extent that the reader becomes confused. Use only abbreviations that are commonly understood. These are ones people are generally familiar with. Here are some examples:
vgc—very good condition
good cond—good condition
2-m-o—two months old
obo—or best offer
excel cond—excellent condition
rrp—recommended retail price
1-y-o—one year old
ono—or nearest offer
Lic No—license number
You may not be allowed to abbreviate some words by law. If you're uncertain, you should check with your local newspaper.
Coupons are a great way to measure the success of your campaign. If you're not getting coupons back, your classified ad's not working. Because many people will only briefly look over your display classified ad, you need to repeat your offer in the coupon.
People will normally read the headline first, the subheadlines next, and finally the coupon or P.S. You can often get people to go back and read the copy by making a strong, clear offer in your coupon.
Most newspapers will have a wide variety of borders from which to choose. While an unusual border can help your ad stand out, one that is too elaborate can get in the way of your selling message.
A particularly successful classified border is simply a dotted line around the ad. The reason it works so well is that people are used to cutting around dotted lines. By using a dotted-line border, you're ensuring that there's a greater chance the ad will get cut out and used later.
Excerpted from INSTANT LEADS by BRADLEY J. SUGARS. Copyright © 2006 by Bradley J. Sugars. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
How to Use This Book
Charlie Chases Leads
PART 1—Classified Advertising
PART 2—Radio Campaign
PART 3—Yellow Pages
PART 4—Host-Beneficiary Relationships
PART 5—Strategic Alliances
PART 6—Referral Strategies
PART 7—Unique Selling Proposition and Guarantee
PART 8—Writing Killer Headlines
PART 9—Creating Powerful Offers
PART 10—Break-Even Analysis
Getting into Action
About the Author
Recommended Reading List
The 18 Most Asked Questions about Working with an Action International
Action Contact Details