Serious Mistakes Made By Classified Advertisers That Inevitably
Lead To Poor Results... And ... How To Avoid Making These Blunders
So That You Get The Response You're After!
© 1999, 2000 by Robert Boduch
Trying to close the sale in the classified ad.
This is one of the more common,
serious mistakes classified advertisers make. The problem
is that you just don't have the space, in a classified,
to convey all the benefits of even the most basic, or lowest
cost product. To try to shortcut the sales process by trying
to close the sale right away, can only result in a less
than spectacular rate of response. You may sell a few, but
I'd be willing to bet that this strategy will cause losses
far more frequently than profits.
Many entrepreneurs start out this
way convinced that their product or service is the greatest
thing since the invention of the wheel, only to become dismayed
by a lack of sales. Any ad that lists a price for a product
or service is guilty of making mistake #1. Try using your
classified ad only as a lead-generating tool instead. Make
the sale with your follow-up material where you can provide
qualified prospects with all the advantages you offer. This puts
you in a much better position to sell virtually anything!
Pushing your product instead of the great benefits the customer
gets as a result of having or using the product.
People respond because of what
they "get". They never buy products, services or businesses,
they buy advantages or helpful results. It's the benefits
of your offer that you promise in your ad that triggers
response. Don't talk about the features of your product,
communicate instead all the great customer benefits your
customer can have when he takes advantage of your offer.
Leave it at that. If he's interested, he'll respond. Then
you'll have a qualified prospect you can work with until
he is converted to a customer.
Not providing enough information to incite qualified readers
If you don't tell enough about
what your product can do for the reader, your results will
not satisfy you. You may generate response, but, it likely
won't be of the high calibre, qualified kind. In fact, the
only response you're likely to get will be those people
who respond to any ad, particularly those that offer something
"free". Don't skimp for the sake of a few dollars. You've
got to say enough to arouse interest or you might as well
not advertise at all.
Not using your biggest bang as your headline, thereby running
the risk of losing prospects who might otherwise be interested
in your offer.
What is the greatest benefit you
offer? Or, what could you say that would command the attention
of the greatest numbers of qualified prospects? This should
be your lead, and nothing else. You've got to use your strongest
attribute right up front, or you risk losing the scanning
reader, who just may be a good prospect for your offer.
Don't hold back! You only have a fraction of a second to
capture the attention of the only person who can make you
and your ad successful: your prospect. If your strongest
enticement doesn't work to command attention -- a lesser
lure surely won't work either.
Not providing a strong, compelling offer to call, fax, write,
E-mail, or otherwise connect with you.
The world is one huge competitive
marketplace. Your prospects don't need you as much as you
need them. They have a multitude of choices available, even
if your product is a totally unique one-of-a-kind product.
You need prospects to become customers. The first step to
converting prospects into customers is to woo them in, to
attract them, to gently prod them along, to interest them
enough so that they take action.
Some classified advertisers seem
to assume that any one who reads their particular ad is
automatically going to respond. There is no incentive to
the reader, no enticement to inspire action. Without the
appeal of a meaningful reward, how likely is it that your
prospect will get out of his comfortable chair and do what
is necessary to connect with you?
Inaction is always easier for
the prospect. It's the inertia factor. In order to
move your prospect to action, you've got to dangle a "carrot".
And, the "carrot" you choose must be of vital importance
to your prospect.
Not addressing what's most important to your prospect.
This mistake is easily preventable
by knowing your audience. The wrong appeal simply won't
work. This should seem obvious to anyone who's prepared
to spend hard-earned cash on a classified ad, but I see
it all the time. Some ads have no apparent appeal at all,
they just take response for granted. You may get a trickle
of response this way but high levels of response can only
be won by utilizing intelligent marketing strategies. You
can only do that with a strong appeal that is interesting,
inviting and appealing to your target audience.
MISTAKE #7: Offering
something that seems to be readily available elsewhere.
Nothing can take the place of
uniqueness in terms of what you offer in the marketplace.
If generating a huge response from your classified
ad is your goal, then you need to offer some sort solution
to a problem that is not readily available to your target
If what you have to offer can
be had through a number of other sources, and this is common
knowledge to your audience, then what you offer has no original
advantage. If your product or service can be obtained elsewhere,
possibly with less effort and expense, perhaps even through
a source that is well-known, why would a prospect even be
interested in responding to your ad? A competitive advantage
would certainly help, such as a bargain price, but that
in itself may not be enough to move your audience to contact
you. Repackage, re-invent or re-engineer your product or
service so that you can position it as something that is
unequalled in the marketplace. Be different!
Using someone's name (who's name is not of the household
variety) in an attempt to attract attention and interest.
Assuming that your audience will
immediately recognize a name and hold that name with the
same reverence that you might, is arguably the biggest mistake
on the list and the easiest way to kiss your advertising
dollars goodbye. This mistake is most prevalent in the multi-level
or network marketing field. Here is an actual ad as it appeared
in a national magazine.
MLM - *Rick Ramjet challenges
America, "Join Me Step-by-Step to Freedom" Information:
What's wrong with this ad? Well,
there's plenty, but point I want to drive home here is this:
using names as drawing cards in classified ads can never work
as effectively as a direct benefit statement. This advertiser
assumes that his or her prospect not only knows the Rick Ramjet
name, but will want to take action simply to join along with
Where's the benefit in this ad?
You might say the benefit is the "Step-by-Step to Freedom".
Although it's a weak generalization, at least it offers
some promise to the reader. For that reason alone, this
particular advertiser would have fared better to lead with
that benefit, instead of "MLM - Rick Ramjet challenges America..."
* the actual name has been changed to protect the inexperienced
Providing one option only as the sole means of contacting
you, when that option may not be accessible to the entire
potential readership of your ad.
This can be very frustrating to
a prospect; I know from personal experience. For example,
living in Canada, I have often been shut off from an advertiser
simply because I could not make the connection to an 800
line. In many cases I was anxious; I really wanted what
the advertiser promised. I was sold! But, I was also stuck.
What could I do? I usually tried
to call more than once, only to hear the same voice tell
me the number was not accessible from my area code. Very
frustrating for a prospect. Very costly to the advertiser
in terms of lost sales. To what extent? No one can be certain,
but the solution has got to be to provide alternate means
of contact. All you need to do is provide a mailing address,
a fax number or even an E-mail address; anything that would
allow any possible prospect to respond. You never know from
where in the world a response may come. This is particularly
true with on-line marketing, but it also applies to any
major publication you may choose to advertise in. Be available
to anyone who may want what you have to sell.
Making a claim that is too general or too unreal.
To proclaim that one can "make
a fortune" or "earn six figures" overnight by performing
some simple task rarely, if ever, works for an advertiser.
Instead, such claims triggers doubt, disbelief and inaction.
Everyone has heard it all before and many have been fooled,
at least once, into replying, only to be deeply disappointed
at some point. Anyone can make a general claim, but you
can enjoy a far greater rate of response by being specific,
with actual numbers; numbers that appear to be realistic.
In no way am I implying that you should manipulate the numbers
so that your statement of claim seems very real to your
prospect. What I am saying is that whatever claims you make
must appear to be truthful in the eyes of your prospect.
Real, actual figures can help you achieve this objective.
For more information on creating
winning classified ads, see my book,
Magic ...How To Make Your Small Ads Pay Off BIG!
Copyright 1999 by:
Robert D. Boduch. All Rights Reserved.