Tiny Classified Ad- Critique And Advice Welcome.

by 18 comments
Ok guys,

If any copy writers are willing to throw me some advice it will be greatly appreciated.

I have done this before and got decent results with another model, even as a novice copywriter, but Im sure some of the better copy writers here could help me get optimal conversion with their expertise if they will lend it.

What I want to do is place tiny classified ads (Ala Don Lapre) In various cities...in print publications, which are small enough to stay within a cost model of a hundred bucks or less per ad, as Im going to use multiple ads, and repeat them weekly in various papers that give me a positive ROI.

The idea is to attract people to call in for a free 30 day listing, and then upsell them on that call to a premium one. Given the niches I will be targeting... I will probably be able to upsell 1 out of three call ins, if past experience is any indicator, but I would like to obviously get as many call ins as humanly possible and have the most effective ads possible with your help.

Here are my questions:

1: What do you think of this ad?
2: How would you shorten it and make it even more powerful, as most papers charge by the word or line.
3: I will be testing it in a few different cities, so any other versions that you think would be test worthy are much appreciated.

The reason I think the headline will draw attention is because the readers first thought (ideally) is going to be that they are being offered a free listing in the print publication they are reading if I word it right, thats the goal to grab their attention initially, then I have to quickly entice them to call...

Here is the basic ad I am thinking of now:

Claim Your Free Business Advertisement!
Get in front of over 400,000 customers per day, with Arkansas premier online business directory, ____________.com!
Call Now:

If any fellow warrior copywriters can help make any of these lines stronger, then please share your experienced advice. I know this is a bit different than long copy for the web,... but maybe it will be a fun exercise for someone.

Thanks again,

John

Ps. The ads will be placed in the section of paper where the lawyers and various niche business people advertise their own services...the idea being that they will see them when they check on their own ads...however, if you have a better idea for what sections to place them in, thats great too.
#copy writing #advice #classified #critique #tiny
  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    1: The ad is not bad
    2: shorter version:

    "Reach" instead of "Get in front"

    3:
    Free Customers!
    Reach 400k visitors daily with Arkansas premier online business directory, ____________.com!
    Call Now:
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Thanks Brother! I especially like "reach" instead of "get in front of"... Thats awesome! You just saved me 3 words, and that one word is more powerful! You are right! 3 words is alot when you are talking tiny classifieds, and the more concentrated power in each the better.

    Great ideas , thanks. Will be using that.
    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      John,

      1. Consider making the headline a compelling benefit.
      2. Consider taking the word "over" out and replacing "400,000" with an exact number.
      3. Look for an adjective more powerful than "premier" (there may not be one).

      Alex
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Thanks Alex, on the word "premier" I chose it because it goes over most peoples heads (the actual definition) but rings of "top" or "Number one"...even though it just means "new". You are right, there is probably a better word there, and the advice about an exact number is GOLD...thanks for that. No doubt. Great advice. This thing is getting the fat trimmed off of it, like only fellow Warriors can help you do!

    Will have to ponder the headline to see what I can come up with, I was thinking it already was a benefit... but maybe it could be more compelling.

    By compelling do you mean a benefit that includes a call to action?

    Thanks again guys.

    -John
    • Profile picture of the author Biz Max
      Hi John,

      I'm not exactly a 'copywriter', but I do write my own material, so take this
      with a grain

      I don't have a problem with 'get in front of' as that is descriptive. The 400,000
      number per day, hmm. I think I would not believe that so I would need that to
      make sense. More so on a locally targeted ad.

      My biggest gripe is the word 'customers'. Those are not customers, those are
      potential customers/prospects/leads until they make a purchase.

      Basically, I don't believe a word of the ad, but I know some may check it out
      as it is 'free'

      As for lawyers, those guys are analytical so I fear this may not get their interest
      at all. Good luck with your endeavor!
    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Will have to ponder the headline to see what I can come up with, I was thinking it already was a benefit... but maybe it could be more compelling.

      By compelling do you mean a benefit that includes a call to action?
      John,

      Think of a benefit as being 1) What a product DOES for a buyer or 2) What a product MEANS to a buyer.

      The MEANS benefit is usually where the compelling aspect can be found.

      As an example, take a weight loss product with all natural ingredients. The DOES benefit is, the product helps a person lose weight without harmful side effects. The MEANS benefit is, the person will feel better about himself after he's lost the weight.

      So in your case, determine what a free business advertisement will MEAN to the buyer.

      It's worth testing.

      Alex
  • Profile picture of the author kieljo
    John,

    If the purpose of the classified is to drive people to a website then you should drop the "Arkansas premier online business directory" and just have the website address. Especially if you are going to other cities outside of Arkansas ( or are you planning on having specific state names in each state that you advertisie in) EX: Maryland premier online business directory. None the less, I don't see the need to put the name in the classified if it is going to state the samething on the website. Plus you might get more clicks just from the curiosity factor to see what it's all about and in the end that's the purpose of the classified... to get those clicks

    John
  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    Hi John,

    We've run thousands of classified ads in hundreds of newspapers. Bear with me, but I have some questions, OK?

    You want them to visit a web site, that is the sole purpose of the ad, eh?

    Will you be using weeklies, dailies or Sunday papers? Will you use a placement service which will place the ad in hundreds of papers for a low price compared to if you place them yourself?

    Are you willing to go in the hole on the ads to get a customer? Any idea on the LifeTime Value of a customer?

    Our experience shows that weeklies work better than daily papers, these are "crappers", kept in bathroom as reading material...

    In other words, they hang around the home or office longer than a daily.

    Classified sections are both scanned and read specifically...if you have a tradesman section, you'll see that.

    All you want is to have a short BOLD headline, fewest words possible to get some action. Since most people and businesses are connected 24/7, you may want to test a CODE, which people can scan instantly and get to the site.

    you can leave off www. to save some space, you can test this, but .com tells the reader it is a web site. arbiz.com something short and sweet.

    Of course you want to test several versions and as you noted, see what works.

    Want NEW Customers?

    Use today's tools; Web, Cell,
    Codes FREE trial. arbiz.com

    And a CODE maybe. I'd test with
    and without a code.

    Then, what they see first thing, the deck copy of the site is going to be critical to your conversions, you are confident and experienced about that, so no probs there.

    Problem with classifieds are a one time insertion will probably produce few results, but repeated ads work. One suggestion start with weeklies surrounding a Metro area. Akron-Canton and Columbus are great areas to test in. Around Akron, we have 17 weeklies and more if you include Cleveland.

    If you spend 100 bux an ad, for 20 publications, how many new customers do you need to break even and how long will you keep the customers at whatever rate and is it then, affordable to pay that much?

    Sorry I have more questions than answers. One idea, is I'd test the headline with just a Code, just to see what happens.

    Good luck, classified ads can be fab or a flop, but they are cheap to test.

    gjabiz

    PS. I wouldn't give two choices, web and phone. Do one or the other. Instead of website then
    put something like 800-555-1515 Again, testing has shown a prerecorded message gets more
    calls, otherwise they may think they are going to get a sales pitch.

    One idea might be to get them to short splash page to give some general info, and offer a phone number to see if they QUALIFY for the FREE deal, or something like that
    Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

    Ok guys,

    If any copy writers are willing to throw me some advice it will be greatly appreciated.

    I have done this before and got decent results with another model, even as a novice copywriter, but Im sure some of the better copy writers here could help me get optimal conversion with their expertise if they will lend it.

    What I want to do is place tiny classified ads (Ala Don Lapre) In various cities...in print publications, which are small enough to stay within a cost model of a hundred bucks or less per ad, as Im going to use multiple ads, and repeat them weekly in various papers that give me a positive ROI.

    The idea is to attract people to call in for a free 30 day listing, and then upsell them on that call to a premium one. Given the niches I will be targeting... I will probably be able to upsell 1 out of three call ins, if past experience is any indicator, but I would like to obviously get as many call ins as humanly possible and have the most effective ads possible with your help.

    Here are my questions:

    1: What do you think of this ad?
    2: How would you shorten it and make it even more powerful, as most papers charge by the word or line.
    3: I will be testing it in a few different cities, so any other versions that you think would be test worthy are much appreciated.

    The reason I think the headline will draw attention is because the readers first thought (ideally) is going to be that they are being offered a free listing in the print publication they are reading if I word it right, thats the goal to grab their attention initially, then I have to quickly entice them to call...

    Here is the basic ad I am thinking of now:

    Claim Your Free Business Advertisement!
    Get in front of over 400,000 customers per day, with Arkansas premier online business directory, ____________.com!
    Call Now:

    If any fellow warrior copywriters can help make any of these lines stronger, then please share your experienced advice. I know this is a bit different than long copy for the web,... but maybe it will be a fun exercise for someone.

    Thanks again,

    John

    Ps. The ads will be placed in the section of paper where the lawyers and various niche business people advertise their own services...the idea being that they will see them when they check on their own ads...however, if you have a better idea for what sections to place them in, thats great too.
  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    The ad is pretty boring and generic. It reads... well... just like an ad.

    You should get people excited and jumping at the opportunity to call you up and take advantage of your amazing offer. It's hard to create trust and believability in such a small space. One of the best ways to achieve that is to offer a reason why you are offering such a deal. Try something like this and I guarantee you will get people calling you...

    Free Advertising Opportunity

    We need to fill empty advertising spots quickly.
    If you want your business shown to over 400,000
    customers for free, Call now:
  • Profile picture of the author freeadstime
    We are now eager to know what your website is? We were wondering if you can PM it or write it here. Not sure if writing it here would be against the warrior forums terms.
  • Profile picture of the author CharismaticMannequin
    Originally Posted by John Durham View Post





    Here is the basic ad I am thinking of now:

    Claim Your Free Business Advertisement!
    Get in front of over 400,000 customers per day, with Arkansas premier online business directory, ____________.com!
    Call Now:


    Hey John,

    not a bad start, but it definitely needs sharpening. It's simply TOO general - I get you're trying to appeal to anyone who needs your service, but the bigger the net you cast, the more the fish will slip through the holes in that net.

    Try targeting some people first. People who need advertising? That's everyone with a business.

    10'000 hot prospects DIRECTLY interesting in 'X' business? That's something everyone that THAT business wants. Target your prospects, then tailor your ad to them. It'll be a stronger sales message, and you'll get a MUCH higher response.

    Best of luck.


    Ben
  • Profile picture of the author Steve The Copywriter
    As has been mentioned "free" has got to have a "value."

    Also many businesses have advertised here, there any everywhere and got a very poor response.

    Because the Ads were badly written.

    The businesses that do advertise tend to stick with the medium that somehow does work for them.

    So, you need to highlight why their Ads will work well in your directory and how impressive it is at pulling in results.


    Steve

Next Topics on Trending Feed