Don’t pass up this simple way to generate more sales for your business. Many make a good living generating sales using only classified ads. Classifieds existed before the internet and many today are available in print as well as online.
You would be amazed how many people are addicted to checking their local classifieds. I’ve met many people who are generating sales through classifieds and even more who compulsively check ads. When I worked for IBM and had to eat most meals out alone, the first thing I did was pick up the free classifieds to scan them while I ate.
Back then there was a variety of printed ads such as Thrifty Nickel and Pennysaver plus the local newspaper and local free magazines covering lifestyle, alternative health, real estate, and horses. Local coupon books were also common.
Now those printed ads are also available online. By purchasing inexpensive ads in one edition anyone searching in any edition can see them. In March 2009 I suggested that strategy in Buy 1 Cheap Print Ad – Get Free Online Ads.
Online Only Classifieds
You probably immediately think of Craigslist.org and I have seen strong sales generated there. If you decide to run ads on Craigslist be sure to read up first. There are many users whose life seems to revolve around getting ads taken down for no reason. Look for how-to articles on how to keep your ads live or plan to have to relist regularly.
Craigslist is not the only game online. If what you sell has a niche audience, look at classifieds specific to your audience first. Search online, but also keep your eyes open locally.
Remember that sites that do not charge have less money to promote
and therefore typically smaller audiences.
Many online classifieds sites offer free text ads and charge for upgrades such as images, colored text and borders. This is similar to the way offline classifieds charge.
Focus on your target audience. For example, if you sell horse related products focus on the many sites that are specific to horses and advertise in local free magazines. Also consider breed magazines and those with giant readership such as Western Horseman.
If your niche is auto related, look for classifieds related to car sales, parts and accessories. If it is gardening, focus on garden related sites. You get the idea.
Don’t forget to look for local classifieds, especially if you have a strong local presence or it is less expensive to ship locally. Besides the classifieds already mentioned, there are classified sites that are specific to cities and countries. For example, OLX has a presence in multiple countries. Their Bangladesh free ads site and OLX India are strong and they are expanding to other countries.
Look for local print ad opportunities and search online for your niche plus local cities, counties, or geo-targeted areas such as DFW (Dallas Ft Worth) or Waco-Temple-Killeen (three cities that are often mentioned together). In the northeast where states are small, there are sometimes Tri-State groupings.
Consider running free ads on many sites and tracking your results. Use different landing pages so you can track your traffic. In print ads offer a coupon or code so you can tell which ads generate responses.
Once you see what sources generate results, focus on those sources. Test different ad titles and text. If you run images test those, too. We can learn a lot from direct mail marketers whose costs were so high that they became experts at testing their mailings and improving their conversions.
There are still people who generate large incomes by running ads in print classifieds. Many small businesses exist by running ads on niche-specific sites. By using a blog you can easily create new landing pages and run each ad to a different page. That way if one of your ads does well you can use that page and that ad as a starting point to improvement.
Unless you have major traffic, make only ONE change at a time!
Understanding the Basics
If you understand the sequence of events you can create more compelling ads.
- The title’s job is to get your ad read.
- It is your ad’s job to get viewers to your landing page (or to make a call or send an email).
- The title on your landing page must grab their attention and keep them on the page.
- Your landing page’s job is to get the conversion (a sale, a call, a subscriber).
When you write, each sentence must keep the reader’s attention. Success requires learning to test ads and landing pages. Conversion testing is essential to continually increase your sales.