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Classifieds Advertising Best Practices
Online advertising is no longer a fad; it is here to stay. Not just that, internet promotion has branched out into a wide array of options. Search marketing (PPC), banner advertising, video marketing, social media and online classifieds advertising.
Classifieds sites make a different breed of marketing. Interestingly, they have gained their popularity not because they are casual online flea markets. But mainly because of their attraction as a form of social media. They have succeeded in building online communities around them where users like to engage socially. Few people realize that we check classifieds sites more out of curiosity than anything else. We enjoy them because we love to know what the neighbors are up to through their ad posting, selling and buying. Moving sales ads have become our local news of who is moving. Then there is the “deal” attraction part of it. We unconsciouly believe that any purchase from an online classifieds site is a “deal”. And many times, it is. But even if we pay the “Sears” price for it, we will still be convinced we snatched a deal.
Online classifieds advertising is gradually becoming the leading wagon in web marketing. It is expected to be even more popular as the rate of human interaction over the internet is breaking an all-time record. But for classifieds advertising to work, certain steps must be followed. First Things First.
Have a plan
It is important to lay down a plan before you get started. It could be as basic as a list of goals you want to accomplish. For example, driving an extra 100 visitors to your website per month from classifieds sites or a particular classified site. Such plan will allow you to review and evaluate what has been accomplished, what worked and what did not. The results of such evaluation will enable you to adjust your advertising strategy going forward.
Make a list
You will need this both to avoid random ad posting and to track your campaign’s performance. Some sites are worthy of your time and some aren’t. Here are some tips:
Exclude spam-ridden sites that allow cheap ads and postings from outside the country.
Only select local sites that have built an online community around them. These are usually dominated by local listings. Local is best. If you’re targeting visitors from the US, there is no point posting ads in a classifieds site in India.
If the site contains business listings in your industry, it is a good enough place to have yours listed there, too. Do not dwell too much on the site’s popularity or number of listings. Smaller sites have their advantages, too. One of them, your ad will enjoy longer visibility. After all, even one or two clients can be a valuable acquisition to your business.
Follow site rules
Reading the Terms of Service(TOS) and the Frequently asked questions (FAQ) is a good time investment. You may inadvertently find yourself violating them. Some common rules to bear in mind:
- Do not cross post. Always post to the right category and local demographics.
- Do not overpost. Two ads per day is a safe bet.
- Do not post same ad over and over (or with a slight variation).
- Create Ad and Test it
Do you remember when your first posted your ad on CL late at night, then went to bed? What were you thinking?
Let me guess!
You were overjoyed and could not wait to wake up the next morning to find customers have flocked to your offer. And at least hundreds of queued orders placed overnight waiting for you to process.
Not so generously!
Not matter how awesome and affordable is the product or service, prospects still need to be fairly convinced. In this time of economic recession and fierce competition, your offer needs to be extra attractive. This is where ad copy writing comes into play. Here are some ad copy writing basics.
Narrow down your ad’s demographics.
- Write your ad in plain english and keep it consize. Your ad should clearly define your offer.
- Make your ad’s headline stand out. Pick words that convey an appealing message. Only great headlines can get you those good and targeted visitors.
- Make your ad search engine friendly. Think of what words or phrases users use to search for similar offers. You need to include at least some of them. A successful ad is one that strikes a balance between a catchy headline and a searchable one.
- In the body of your ad, try and relate to what might motivate the buyer into purchase. Whatever motivation they have, try to relate to it. Whether it’s a problem and how you solved it. Or a goal and how you achieved it. Story telling is a powerful marketing technique.
- Ensure your ad works by testing it. Don’t settle on the first draft. Keep tweaking it till it works.
- A free online ad is an effective, faster and cheaper way to test for a paid one (i.e AdWords PPC) or an offline advert(newspapers).
- What works online will work perfectly on print advertising.
Keep doing it.
Classified advertising works better as a long-term campaign. Continued exposure = Continued visibility. Repeated advertising will also help the message stick in your oblivious prospect’s mind.
Am passionate about your stuff that you posted for sale on Monday evening. But since I only check my local classifieds site Friday morning, I did not see your ad. If you keep posting regularly, you increase the chances of me spotting your offer. That simple.
I did see your offer on Friday morning but I did not care about it. Seeing the same offer in the same section repeatedly will eventually prompt me to check it out(at least out of curiosity).
Track ad performance
There is no point keeping on promoting a certain product that did not sell(Assuming you’ve done things right). Something needs to be changed. May be the price, the packaging, service guarantees, etc. May be a certain site did not bring any leads and needs to be dropped from the list. Consider this only if time is an issue as sites are dynamic entities that rise and drop in performance. Also make sure you have used it for an enough time period to be able to judge its performance.
But how do you track this?
There are various tracking methods you can use to calculate the return of your advertisements. You can track by using a unique coupon code on each advert posted or a site-specific one. You can also include a URL identifier.
Fabian Mecacci is a passionate analyst of online communities’ interactions on social media, discussion forums and classifieds sites. Get more information on Run a successful classified ads campaign and how to select a list of best free classifieds sites
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Fabian_M
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Make classified ads work for your business:
When done smartly and persistently, online classified ads can generate you extra traffic to your website, leads and business. Below are some classified ads advertising ideas and strategies that are proven to work.
Advertising is a mission that needs to be sustained to get accomplished. So advertise as longer as you can afford and in different places as possible. The reason a brief and intermittent advertising campaign does not work as well is because customers need to be exposed to the same message 7 to 10 times before it draws their full attention. That is why you see the brands advertise quite often. Frequency increases visibility which in turn increases the chance of your business message to stick in your prospects’ awareness.
Abstain from selling
You heard it right.
To maximize the response rate, abstain from selling your product or service in your business ad. Focus more on giving the information. Then direct them to request additional information, whether it’s a free report on a website adress, email autoresponder, a phone call, a voicemail number, a mailed information package or other methods.
Test & Tweak
Don’ t set it and forget it. If an ad does not seem to work, tweak it.
Start tweaking the title first and let it run for few days. If it does not work still, tweak the body till it works.
On free ads posting sites, it’s easy to be driven off course. Resist the temptation to target everyone and go after the right target.
Because the rentals, jobs and cars sections tend to have greater ad views, some are tempted to post their unrelated ads on those categories.
If you’re offering a computer repair service, do not post it in the rentals section. Because someone who is looking to hire a computer guy is definitely not looking in the real estate ads category. Not to mention your ad will likely be removed or/and account banned.
Weekends and holidays have been tested to be the most suitable time for ad posting. But other days are fine, too. When you post regularly, you’re likely to hit those peak times.
Clarity & Simplicity
Set your prospects’ expectation the right way. The more specific you are about your offer, the less chances of them getting confused. So be consize and clear in your ad. You’re better using fewer words.
Make your ad Stand Out
If it’s gonna be in fewer words then it must grab your potential customer’s interest. Offer them a deal that jumps off the page at them. An example bargain that works well is the “Buy x items, get x for free” type of thing.
Best free classifieds sites – How to select them
This is just as important.The more places you post your ads, the more you get noticed (more visibility = more leads). Adding a list of best free classifieds sites to your advertising arsenal is a good idea. Popular classifieds sites are established and are there for the long run. Some, however, come and go. But it is still worth posting on them whilst they’re still there attracting some traffic. Unlike elite classifieds websites where your ads get pushed down quickly , adverts on these less popular ones tend to stick longer on the front page of their respective categories. Great for snatching some easy leads without much competition.See how to make your own best free classifieds sites list.
Classified Ads Advertising Ideas & strategies
Free advertising requires more than just random ad posting. It requires a plan and a strategy for it to work. Many don’t get much out of it and think it’s because classifieds advertising does not work. But the fact is they’re doing it wrong. Only when done right can it help you drive targeted traffic to your site or offers.
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Classified Ad – Popular Definitions
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Classified advertising is a form of advertising which is particularly common in newspapers, online and other periodicals, e.g. free ads.
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A brief advertisement in a newspaper, magazine, or the like, dealing with offers of or requests for jobs, houses, apartments, cars, etc.
Classified advertising is a form of advertising most commonly known in newspapers, periodicals, TV, radios and the internet. The ads may be charged or distributed free of charge. Typically, these ads in newspapers are short as they are charged per letter, line or column. As the name suggests, classified ads are classified into classes or categories. The following is a brief history of classified ads.
This is the oldest form of classified ads. In 2000 BC, Ancient Egyptians invented outdoor advertising where they carved public notices into steel. They also used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters.
At around 59 BC, the Roman Empire published Acta Diurna (Daily Acts) or government announced bulletins as ordered by the Roman general, Julius Caesar. They carved the notices in stone or metal (as these were the commonly used materials) and posted them in public places.
In imperial China, court officials used government-produced newssheets, called Tipao. This was during the late Han dynasty. Tipao, which literally meant “reports from the official residences,” were a publication issued by both local and central governments in imperial China. The publications date as early as 206 BC – 220 BC (Han Dynasty).
Newssheets were handwritten on silk and strictly read by government officials only.
Public Poster Ads
The first handwritten notices date back to the 15th century. These notices appeared in public places nailed on posts and walls in England.
In the mid 1600s, notices for lost property became very common. Also, it is during this period when the handbill emerged in England. The handbill was a small printed ad, notice or announcement distributed by hand.
The original newspaper ad was published in 1704 in the Boston News-Letter. The ad was an announcement seeking a buyer for an Oyster Bay, Long Island, Estate. This ad marked the birth of newspaper classifieds. About 14 years later (in 1718), the weekly Jamaica Courant followed course in Kingston.
By the year 2007, about 6,580 daily newspapers in the world selling around 395 copies a day existed. The newspaper industry continued to grow until 2008 when the entire world was hit by an economic recession. The worldwide economic crisis, coupled with the rapid growth of internet-based alternatives, saw a serious decline in newspaper advertising and circulation. In fact, most papers closed business while others cut back operations.
With the continued increase in online classifieds, newspaper’s revenues from classified ads continued to decrease. In 2007, classified advertising at some of the largest newspaper chains dropped by 14-20 percent while traffic to classified websites grew by 23 percent.
According to NAA, between 2002 and 2012, classified ads declined by 71 percent (from $15,898 to $4,626 in revenue). The decline was mostly attributed to the emergence of web-based classified alternatives.
In 1995, the internet disruption of classified ads started. Two new companies were established this year: AdOne and Craigslist.
Although very few people recall this, AdOne is one of the oldest classified websites in the world.
Craigslist is another site credited with the popularization of online classifieds. Craigslist is a classified ad website where the ads are classified into different sections. Today, there are hundreds of alternatives and free online classifieds to choose from.
Many social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, and others offer a platforms for social classified ads. These social networks enable their users to solicit sales for products and services within the social network.
In May 2007, about 3 years after Facebook launched, they introduced the Facebook marketplace that allowed users to post free classified ads. The ads fell within the following categories: Housing, For sale, Jobs, and Other.
In March 2009, they launched a new version of its Marketplace application. Oodle, an online marketplace based out of California, powered this new version.
Classifieds on Mobile Phones / Tablets
With the introduction of smart phones and tables posting and search on online classified platforms became a growing trend. Currently, there are over 300 mobile apps for classified advertising on the iPhone and Android alone.
Some classified sites such as FiWiClassifieds and ClassifiedAds are responsive. Responsive websites adopts to any device no matter the size or orientation.
After seeing all the changes that occurred, things have certainly gotten easier and more convenient for consumers of this industry. The question being ask now is… Whats next?
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. To see everything we spoke about illustrated in a fun and unique infographic, visit our Evolution of Classifieds post. We hope this was informative and interesting for you. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.
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