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Marketing 101: How to Write The Perfect Classified Ad

by Hello Harold

Posted on July 8th , 2019 at 5:00 PM

The classified marketplace makes everything seem so easy; all you have to do is click a picture, throw in a headline, and the Internet does all the advertising for you. Unfortunately, no matter how reputable the platform is, classified ads, unless marketed right, usually end up thrown in a pile of hundreds and thousands of ads just like it, creating a huge barrier between the product and its potential buyer. So, what now? Aren’t classified websites supposed to do the exact opposite by opening up direct channels to link sellers and buyers? Is everything you know a lie? Is the ceiling crashing down? Here’s the trick, and it’s not new. The secret to putting your classified ad out there, and having it actually reach your targeted audience, is hidden in marketing plans. Don’t panic, here’s a crash course: Welcome to Marketing 101.

Your basic baby steps

  • Choose a popular and reputable classifieds website with a significant amount of advertisements, as these are characteristics that guarantee a decent reader traffic.

  • Analyze ad rankings within each domain and try to build a similar ad to be listed at the top.

  • Create eye-catching, scroll-stopping material. How? Keep reading.

Creating the Perfect Classified: A Secret Recipe

The recipe to a perfect ad has recently been dug up from the piles of pie charts and data analyses from the great marketing father’s basement. After years and years of digging up scrolls and archiving material, this magic concoction was, at last, found again. A perfect ad is made up of four ingredients:


It’s no secret that the first sought element is attention. Your potential buyer would be scrolling through tons of similar classifieds, between which your ad can be found. Their focus must be directly caught and cooked to its pull potential: a sale. Though graphics are usually unfound in classifieds, it’ll come down to the choice of word you garnish your ad with. However, you wouldn’t want your ad to be too garish. That’s not very appetizing. Throwing in too many exclamation marks, WILLINGLY FORGETTING TO TURN YOUR CAPS KEY OFF, **AdDiNg SHaPeS &^% and all that shimmer will not grab attention, but would rather turn the reader’s focus point away from what you’re trying to sell.


Do you know what goes well with attention? Interest. It shouldn’t just look good, it should be good – that’s the only way to grab your reader’s interest. Think of it as a chocolate chip cookie that’s fresh out the oven. You bite into it, and suddenly realize that you’re eating an oatmeal-raisin cookie. It certainly grabbed your attention with how it looks, but your interest died out pretty quickly. Your classified has to be appealing beyond looks. Once the prospect buyer looks into the ad and absorbs the words (or bites the cookie,) they should be reading added-value benefits and features to keep turn mere attention into interest. Demographics play a major role in understanding interests, as they vary from location to another. For that reason, you should develop an image of your target audience, and get in their shoes, before asking yourself: which aspects of my product should I shed light on in order to attract my target audience?


Appealing to your prospect buyer’s interest is a necessary step, but it is certainly not the last. A guaranteed sale must stimulate the buyer even further by playing on emotional terms and reactions. What kind of feel does your product project? Beauty, power, or hope? Does the product appeal to a specific sense? Make them feel like they are in need of your product.


Here is the last ingredient of our secret recipe: the call to action. Without it, even if you’ve mastered all previous steps, you have basically landed yourself a direct F – there is no sale without the prospect buyer’s action to it. This may sound hard, but it actually is the simplest (but most impactful) step. Spice your ad up with a psychological directive, to which a common reaction would be to conform. Consider a scenario as such: you are on the bus, and you turn to the person sitting next to you and say, “give me that newspaper you’re holding, please” – chances are, they would (unless you’re asking them for something too valuable or dangerous.) If you asked them a question rather then threw in a direct sentence, the subject would have taken the time to think and consider their options, which may have led to a simple rejection. If your ad contains a directive, such as “visit this website,” “call us now,” “hurry up and book your seats,” with the right usage of the previous steps, you’re guaranteed an action on behalf of the prospect buyer.

The Power of Words – Season Your Recipe Right

As previously mentioned, you want your reader to project feelings when reading through your ad. This is achieved through the right wording. To illustrate, imagine reading this on a menu: “A piece of salmon cooked with vegetables and lemon-flavored sauce,” versus reading something like “sizzling grilled salmon garnished with colorful greens, drizzled with a rich lemony sauce.” Which one would you be most likely to order? The same would apply to your ads. Words have hidden powers, and your choices will impact your success. Decide on the feeling you want to ignite within the prospect buyer before making your choices, and write down your words with a few alternatives to choose from.

The Right Choice of Presentation

Classified ads fall under three categories:

The Qualified Ad

A qualified ad is focused on the product. It contains information about the product itself, in so far as the product, in itself, is a must-have. It could be highly luxurious item, or an item that already has a reputable function. This type of advertisement is more likely to result in an actual sale than it is likely to receive a high number of responses.

The Semi-Qualified Ad

The semi-qualified ad relies not on the product, but on added benefits that can complement the sale. For instance, if you’re selling a car, you could add in a “free car-polish,” “free full-tank on the house,” or something to interest the buyer. Detailed information about the product itself is not provided, which forces interested buyers to comply with your directive to receive more information about the product.

The Blind Ad

As the name explains it, this type of ad is short and concise, throwing in a headline such as “very good price,” “special offer,” or something along the lines of the preceding. Blind ads quickly gather up responses, but often result in failure to sell, as there could be a defect with the product listed for sale, which would make sense as to why no details are provided.

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