March 31, 2008
Classified ads have been around as long as I can remember. Whether you’re reading a newspaper or perusing the back of a magazine, you see classified ads. Before the advent of online marketing, placing classified ads in print publications was the method many people used to sell their products or services.
What has worked for years in traditional marketing is also quite effective in online marketing. Advertising in email newsletters with ads is one of the greatest adverting bargains available today. Moreover, it can be a very effective strategy to help you grow your mailing list and drive traffic to your website.
There are thousands of ezine publishers eagerly standing by to take your money for a classified ad in their publication. And, writing an ezine ad isn’t quite as easy as it looks. How do you know the ad will be effective, and how do you create an ad that will result in a desired action?
Here are 10 steps to help you write a profitable classified ad for an ezine:
- Choose your publication. Finding the right publication that goes out to the right target market is the key first step in this process. Optimally, you want an active list of at least 10,000 double opt-in subscribers who are accustomed to receiving regular ezines from the publisher (publishes weekly). Unfortunately, not everyone opens every email that they receive, so ask the publisher about her “open rate,” which is the number of subscribers who actually open and read the ezine. A respectable and reasonable open rate is 30-40%. A great place to look for ezine publishers who sell ads in their email newsletters is Charlie Page’s Directory of Ezines, http://www.directoryofezines.com.
- Be one of few, not one of many. Check out the publisher’s sample email newsletter, as well as back issues, before you decided to advertise. How many ads does the publisher run in one issue? For maximum effectiveness, choose one that runs 5 or less ads per issue. This gives you a much better chance of being seen when your ad is competing against a smaller number of ads.
- Craft an attention-getting headline. Your headline is the part of your ad that must grab your reader’s attention immediately. Otherwise, the reader scans right past your ad to the next one. Use action words that emphasize a solution to a problem that your target market has. Or, ask a question that attracts the reader’s interest. In order for your ad to be read, your headline must effectively answer the reader’s most basic question, “What’s in it for me?”
- Outline your benefits in the body. Don’t use the body of the ad to promote your products or service. You’ll get the best results when you offer readers something that they can get immediately at no cost, like an ebook, audio, special report, ecourse, etc. Readers never want to learn more for the sake of learning. They want to get to the benefits you promised, or what it will do for them, instead.
- Create a call to action. Tell the reader what to do next — what action to take. Typically this means directing them via your URL to a web page to take this action. This step is even more effective if you create a sense of urgency — give them a reason to act immediately.
- Keep it short. Most ezine ads vary between 25 and 50 words, including your URL. This means that you have limited space to create maximum impact.
- Design your landing page. Make sure your landing page listed in your call to action speaks specifically to the readers of that ezine. Don’t send them to a generic page of your site and expect them to be able to figure out where to go on that page and what to do. Greet them by name, i.e. Welcome subscribers to ABC Marketing Ezine, and reiterate who you are, what you’re offering, and how they can receive your offer.
- Track your results. Truly effective advertising is only effective if it creates your desired result. Be sure that you have a tracking mechanism in place, like ad tracker software, so that you can see exactly how many people took action on your ad and exactly where they came from. If your ad tracking system is integrated with your shopping cart, you’ll also be able to track how many sales resulted from your ad.
- Test and change. You may actually come up with 10 or 20 variations as you design your. Don’t discard any of them, as you may find them useful in the future, especially as you test which versions of your ad are effective. Test different headlines or different calls to action over a period of time in the same publication and see which versions get the best results.
- Run multiple times. A one-shot ad never works. Plan to advertise at least 4 consecutive times in an ezine to see how you do. The more the ad appears, the greater the likelihood that the ezine reader will notice it. Over time, you will begin to see which versions of your ad are more effective with what kinds of target markets.
Ezine advertising is a proven, low-cost strategy to help you market your online business, grow your lists, and increase your profits. Start writing your classified ad today!
Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at http://www.OnlineBizU.com. Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at http://www.AskDonnaGunter.com.