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Online Classifieds – Choosing a Website and Creating Advertisements

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The internet has opened a vast number of doors for people to market their products and services. Becoming self-employed and obtaining a national or global audience has never been easier. Many of these quality Classified Websites will provide Entrepreneurs with their own storefront. In addition, their is no or little programming knowledge required for a Website, as the administrator of the Classifieds Website will ensure modern and enhanced features, for consumers to find and purchase products or services. However, there are a few elements to familiarize yourself with, prior to deciding where you want to advertise.

Free Classified Ads

If you scout the Internet, you will find a variety of Websites that are promoting, “Free Classified Ads”. Many advertisers will rush in and take advantage of these offers, without investigation. However, you should use caution when dealing with these types of Websites. If they do not provide a Privacy Policy, avoid them all together.

Always remember, maintaining a Website has a price. If they are not selling their advertisement space, another method is being used to generate income.

A common practice is the sale of E-mail addresses. In an online report by Tim Williams (Technical Services Specialist University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory [http://www.u.arizona.edu/~trw/spam/]), describing how spammers obtain Email addresses, he found, “Many sites, when the dot-bomb implosion hit, realized a list of email address was an asset to be sold. The people buying didn’t care if you only opted in one site they had your address used it and probably sold it off again”. There is a big market for Email addresses. The value of an E-mail address rose significantly with the new legislation that enforced the, “Can-Spam Act”. By opting in to a Website, and providing your E-mail address, you are opening the doors for E-mail Advertisers to safely market your address.

There are some Free Classified Websites that are legitimate. Some sites may advertise, “Free Classifieds,” but charge for extended time-frames of the advertisements run. For example, an advertisement that will run for one week is free. In contrast, an advertisement that runs for one month has a fee. In addition, some free classified Websites may charge a fee for additional features. This may include Featured Advertisements, Bold Text, Placing your advertisement above all others within a category. In any case, look for a Privacy Policy. Ensure that Website clearly states they will not sell, trade, or share your registration information.

Features to look for in a Classified Website

When choosing a Classified Website to utilize, take a look at some of the features they offer. A good advertising venue should focus on consumer friendliness. Navigation should be clear and simple for the consumer. They should offer features that help consumers shop and compare. This is what will make consumers comeback to the resource for their shopping needs.

Here are some basic features to look for:

Classified Search Engine: While some people enjoy shopping through the variety of Classified Ads, others want a Search Engine that will filter out the ads that are not of interest to them. The site should offer a search engine, and an advanced search engine that allows consumers to sort ads by item specific information. For example, a consumer should be able to shop for cars by the Manufacture, model, location, price range, Mileage, and other details related to the car they want.

Classified Watch List’s: Watch Lists are a newer feature that will automatically notify a consumer when an item is advertised on the Website. This feature ensures that advertisements are targeted to consumers that are interested in the offering you have. In addition, it informs the consumer without the need to continually browse the internet.

Simple Navigation: The consumer side of the Website should have clear and central navigation. If a consumer needs to pass through several pages before seeing items for sale, avoid the site. Consumers will not enjoy having to click on a variety of links to find offerings. Classification of the items listed on the Website should be easy and direct.

Target Audience: The Website you are advertising has a Target Audience. If you are advertising something in England, it would not be practical to place the advertisement on a Classified Website for the United States. This will hold true for other countries that speak similar languages.

Other Content: In addition to a Classified Marketplace, Websites need to offer additional content to ensure that users enjoy the Website. Content is what keeps people coming back, or draws people to a Website.

Writing your Classified Ad

What many may consider the most important part of advertising is writing an effective ad. The information that you provide in your classified ad may be the deciding factor if it is successful or a, “bomb”. Create a variety of advertisements that utilize various approaches. Be prepared to revise your content on occasion. This ensures that you are demonstrating different aspects of your offering. In addition, you can promote your offering from different angles, to see what will achieve the best results.

Choosing the angle of your advertising may vary, depending on what you are offering. Writing a Classified Ad is not much different than writing an essay, with the exception of a literary work. There are three general angles that you should consider using to promote your offering. These are Expressive ads, Persuasive ads, and Informative Ads. However, you should always implement a call to action regardless of the angle you choose. Additionally, it may not be a good idea to mix any of the three angles. This is because advertisements need to have focus and be concise.

Here are definitions and examples for the different types of advertising:

Writing an Expressive Classified Ad

An expressive advertisement is very personal. Expressive ads may be a good idea for a small scale business, wanting to utilize a personal approach. When taking an expressive approach, think of writing an excerpt of the day in a journal. As the writer of the advertisement, you want to express your personal feelings, thoughts, or opinions related to the offerings. For example, a Business Opportunity may be advertised as, “I made over $100,000.00 in one year. I cannot believe how easy it was”. This eliminates the need to use examples or testimonials, as the author becomes the example.

Writing a Persuasive Classified Ad

A persuasive advertisement is used to convince the reader or change their opinion. To be successful with a persuasive classified ad, the writer needs to have a firm, direct, and clear point. The goal is to evoke a reaction that causes the reader to have the same point-of-view as the Author. A very common form of advertising, that uses a Persuasive approach, is the Governments, “Register to Vote,” Campaigns. They are generally direct and to the point. They provide a concise reason why you should register to vote, “Make your voice heard”. By pointing out a simple benefit, they are achieving the task of the persuasive advertisement, getting unregistered citizens to register.

Writing an Informative Classified Ad

Informative advertising provides information to the readers and generally explains what is being offered. When constructing such an advertisement, the author should demonstrate observations, ideas, facts, statistics, or research data. This is becoming very common on the internet, as more people are becoming information hungry. Consumers want to know what they are buying. In addition, this is a wise choice, if consumers cannot physically see the item you are selling.

An example of Informative Advertising is an Auto Manufactures advertisement for their vehicles (Not Dealerships). They generally print large advertisements that inform readers of the Vehicles Engine Horsepower, Torque, Maintenance Schedule, Improvements from prior models, available colors, Wheelbase, seating, trunk size, etc… All the information is based on facts and research. It allows consumers to compare their vehicles to similar Auto Models, without taking a test drive.

Headlines and Body of your Classified Advertisements

Headlines are often referred to as titles, and are very important in catching the readers’ eye. Headlines should always be typed in capital letters. In addition, use simple name recognition techniques. For example, if you are advertising a Car for Sale, input the Make and Model for the headline. In contrast, if you are selling Real Estate, you should use the street and Town the property is located.

Business advertisements should always use the name of the company. The more the name is seen, the better your Public Relations becomes. Don’t overextend the headline. An example of an overextended headline is adding, “Car for Sale,” when placing an advertisement under a, “Cars for Sale,” category. This text is simply not needed, as the consumer is already aware that they are looking at, “Cars for Sale”. Consider what you see from professional journalists that write columns in a newspaper. Simple and Straight forward, inform the readers what the Classified Ad is promoting. They never mention the words that already exist in the columns’ header (Entertainment, Movies, Lifestyle, etc..).

The context or body of your classified is very important. First, the body of your advertisement needs to have proper grammar. Having a Classified advertisement with, “Typo’s,” gives a bad impression.

Next, make sure the body is easy to read. This can be accomplished by using paragraphs with short sentences and avoiding all capital letters. Keep in mind, the body is not a headline; you already grabbed the consumers’ attention, as they are reading your advertisement. The goal should be to make it pleasant at this point.

Finally, end the advertisement with a call to action. How does a consumer proceed to accept your offer? What is the next step they need to take? Use power phrases similar to, “Call Now for Further Details”.

Consider the season of your target audience (Dependent on the Offering). In the winter, people may have different motives than in the hot summer. In addition, take into consideration up-and-coming Holidays. Simply wishing a, “Merry Christmas,” will evoke warm emotions when people are reading your advertisements. This may help take away the Hard-sell frame of mind the consumer has, while reading your advertisements.

Michael J. Medeiros is the owner of www.Mjmls.com. He has worked as an Independent Real Estate Agent for three years, in New Jersey. He has an extensive background in Business and Marketing. Michaels latest research and attention has been devoted to online business development and the Internet.

Online Classifieds – Choosing a Website and Creating Advertisements
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