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26 Tips For Making The Most Of Your eBay Product Finding Classified And Small Display Advertising
Learning how to create and place successful classified ads is crucial to your success in the area of buying and selling.
An appealing ad placed in a location that's seen by many qualified prospects, ensures you get the response you need to find virtually ANY item. And if you've applied yourself and done your homework, you'll find it easy to acquire "for sale" merchandise at a good price, ensuring that you'll get the money you want for it on EBay.
Here are the most important points to keep in mind when writing and placing your classified ads:
Spend most of your creative time developing a strong headline or opening for your ad. The headline is the single, most important element of every classified ad and has the greatest impact on your results. The first few words are critical to ultimately getting a good response.
- Headlines should be written to capture the focus of the reader. Grabbing the reader's attention is your first objective and that effort begins with the very first word of your classified ad. In the classifieds section, your tiny word-only ad is floating in a sea of similarly sized ads -- all vying for the reader's attention. Your headline has to reach out to the scanning reader to get him/her to stop and pay attention to your ad. Headlines that compel readership and action are those that speak directly to the reader about something of specific and compelling interest or relevance.
- There are three major components of a classified ad: the headline, body copy and contact information. Of the three, the headline is the most important, followed by the contact information. Hook them with your headline and make it easy for prospects to reach you.
- If your headline doesn't draw the reader in to read your ad, you won't attract many responses. The contact information allows the reader an easy way to get the details. If you're trying to save money by reducing the size of your ad, cut down the size of the body copy, or eliminate it altogether. Get your offer or promise into the first line of your ad.
- Start writing your ad with the easiest step first; your contact information. Determine how you want to handle inquires. Do you prefer prospects use their fax machines or the telephones to contact you? Decide what works best for you in each situation, or give your prospects a choice in how they make the connection with you.
- To produce a great, attention-getting headline, experiment by writing several variations. Doing this invariably generates a stronger headline than the original. Taking the time to do this is a good way to make sure your ad gets noticed.
- Put yourself in your prospect's shoes. Write your classified ad from his/her perspective. That means appealing to what's most important to the genuine prospect. Understand their motives in wanting to unload the items they have. Appeal to these "hot-buttons" in your ad copy. Always speak to these "wants". Benefits are the advantages or helpful results the audience (in this case, the product seller) gets as a result of doing business with you. What's in it for them?
- Consider your classifieds to be lead-generation tools. Focus on getting seriously interested prospects to connect with you so you can learn more details about their products and they can find out more about cashing in on your offer. The objective is to attract inquiries and then prioritize responses. Tempt, lure and inspire people to call to learn more. That's how you build contacts and discover hidden gems.
- Write your classified ad as though you're speaking to an audience of one. Communicate as though you're having a conversation with a good friend and you're trying to convince that friend to take the action that's in their best interest.
- Take full advantage of any design options that may be available to you in various publications. A few interesting enhancements can make your ad really stand out on a page full of similar ads. You might be able to effectively "frame" your ad, thereby setting it apart visually from the other ads on the page.
- Those who read classified ads are generally curious in nature. They read classifieds with a specific purpose in mind. They're searching for that special something. Therefore, they are open to suggestion. Use words that will best attract and interest those most likely to have what you want.
- Check your positioning with every ad you place. Record all results. Knowing the categories and particular page locations generated the most replies can only help you in placing future ads.
- Start with a huge ad... and then refine it down to its most essential essence. Begin by writing out all the reasons why people should contact you. What's really great about what you offer? What can you do for the reader of your ad who takes the time to contact you? Write down everything, even it takes a page or two. Then, simply refine it. Decide on the handful of words that best describe your offering in an appealing manner.
- Make your advertisement as concise as possible. You don't want to say too much... just enough to get people to contact you. Then, you have an opportunity to do discover the specific items they have and whether or not they're worth pursuing. Deliver just enough information to get prospective sellers to respond. Getting maximum response is job one.
- Edit your ads for unnecessary words that take up valuable space and cost you money, without contributing to the task of generating responses. Learn to "trim the fat" of an ad by removing words that are not vital to the overall effectiveness of your message.
- Use emotional words that get people to take action wherever possible. Paint a mental picture of the payoff that can be theirs by contacting you today. Insist that each word adds something to your message in some way. Words and combinations that have emotional appeal to sellers include: cash, money, top dollar, get paid, wanted, make money, instant profits, cash in, etc.
- Slight adjustments in wording can sometimes have a dramatic difference in your results. Choose your words carefully. Always be focused on what makes your offer most inviting to the kinds of people you want to attract. Those are the words that will make your specific target market inquire.
- The basis of all successful advertising is the "huge promise" This is the big idea - the reasons why your prospective seller is interested in contacting you. Your ad must make readers stand up, take notice, and call you at once.
- Create ads that are unique and specific. Original ads stand out on a page of mostly copy-cat cousins. Standing out in the crowd is another key to getting lots of responses. Specific ads target your best potential prospect while appearing more realistic than the more generic type of "hype" advertising.
- Try to include some additional value to whatever it is you have to offer. Added value gives you the advantage over another advertiser offering something similar. Added value ideas can include anything such as free pick-up, professional appraisals, free hauling, or promising to pay more than others. Pumping up the value gives you a distinct, competitive advantage.
- Know that your ad may be competing with hundreds of other ads, for the same readers attention. Never take responses for granted. Always strive to attract as many calls as you can. Pull out all the stops for maximum results from a targeted marketplace.
- Elaborate on your offer, where space permits. There could be several other items on the same page that your prospect is interested in. Your challenge is to make the reader want to take action and call you BEFORE anyone else. Make your ad more promising... more compelling... more irresistible... or more far-reaching so you get first crack at making a deal. For example... if you're primary search was for carving tools, you might also mention that you're interested in other woodworking tools as well. The reason? Some prospects will have an entire collection and will favor a "one call does it all" approach.
- Avoid confusion with clear communication. Never try to be "cute" or "clever" with words or phrases that may have double meanings, or that could be misinterpreted in some way. "Clarity" is one word to keep in mind as you write your ads. Keep it simple and crystal clear.
- Look for publications that have plenty of ads. The presence of many classified ads usually is indicative of a publication that's a profitable venue for both buyers and sellers. Large classified sections generally means a publication is pulling favorably for those advertisers.
- Try to get your ad placed into the more heavily populated categories. These sections enjoy a higher readership and that often translates into better results for you.
- Always know the advertising rates and general guidelines before you sit down to create an ad for a particular publication. Have an approximate size, line, or word count in mind for your classified ad. This gives you a general idea... a type of framework that aids you in your ad's development.
Monty & Janiece Smith
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Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors
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