How to Write Order-Pulling Classified Ads

Classified ads are the ads from which all successful

businesses are started. These small, relatively inexpensive ads,

give the beginner an opportunity to advertise his product or

service without losing his shirt if the ad doesn't pull or the

people don't break his door down with demands for his product.

Classified ads are written according to all the advertising rules.

What is said in a classified ad is the same that's said in a

larger, more elaborate type of ad, excepting in condensed form.

To start learning how to write good classified ads, clip ten

classified ads from ten different mail order type publications -

ads that you think are pretty good. Paste each of these ads onto

a separate sheet of paper.

Analyze each of these ads: How has the writer attracted your

attention - what about the ads keeps your interest - are you

stimulated to want to know more about the product being advertised

- and finally, what action must you take? Are all of these points

covered in the ad? How strongly are you "turned on" by each of

these ads?

Rate these ads on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the

best according to the formula I've given you. Now, just for

practice, without clipping the ads, do the same thing with ten

different ads from a Sears, Wards or JC Penney's catalog. In

fact, every ad you see from now on, quickly analyze it, and rate

it somewhere on your scale. If you'll practice this exercise on a

regular basis, you'll soon be able to quickly recognize the "Power

Points" of any ad you see, and know within your own mind whether

an ad is good, bad or otherwise, and what makes it so.

Practice for an hour each day, write the ads you've rated 8,

9, and 10 exactly as they've been written. This will give you the

"feel" of the fundamentals and style necessary in writing

classified ads.

Your next project will be to pick out what you consider to be

the ten "worst" ads you can find in the classifieds sections.

Clip these out and paste them onto a sheet of paper so you can

work with them.

Read these ads over a couple of times, and then beside each of

them, write a short comment stating why you think it's bad, lost

in the crowd, doesn't attract attention - doesn't hold the

reader's interest - nothing special to make the reader want to

own the product - no demand for action.

You probably already know what's coming next, and that's

right, break out those pencils, erasers and scratch paper - and

start rewriting these ads to include the missing elements.

Each day for the next month, practice writing the ten best ads

for an hour, just the way they were originally written. Pick out

ten of the worst ads, analyze those ads, and then practice

rewriting those until they measure up to doing the job they were

intended to do.

Once you're satisfied that the ads you've rewritten are

perfect, go back into each ad and cross out the words that can be

eliminated without detracting from the ad. Classified ads are

almost always "finalized" in the style of a telegram.

EXAMPLE: I'll arrive at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, the 15th.

Meet me at Sardi's. All my love, Jim.

EDITED FOR SENDING: Arrive 2 pm - 15th - Sardi's. Love, Jim.

CLASSIFIED AD: Save on your food bills! Reduced prices on every

shelf in the store! Stock up now while supplies are complete!

Come on in today, to Jerry's Family Supermarkets!

EDITED FOR PUBLICATION: Save on Food! Everything bargain priced!

Limited supplies! Hurry! Jerry's Markets!

It takes dedicated and regular practice, but you can do it.

Simply recognize and understand the basic formula - practice

reading and writing the good ones - and rewriting the bad ones to

make them better. Practice, and keep at it, over and over, every

day - until the formula, the idea, and the feel of this kind of ad

writing becomes second nature to you. This is the ONLY WAY to gain

expertise in writing good classified ads.


John Brennan Ed.D. Dr. Brennan is President of Interpersonal Development, LLC, a training and development firm. Interpersonal Development has provided sales training and coaching to more than 3,000 sales reps from over 100 companies. A native of Australia, Dr. Brennan received his doctorate from the University of Rochester. His dissertation researched the effectiveness of Behavioral Modeling Technology in training people in interpersonal skills. While he has spent most of his career designing...

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