Writing Classified Ads that pull

Writing Classified Ads that pull
by James Miller

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When writing classified ads, it is good to keep in mind that the ad has one primary purpose and one secondary purpose. The primary purpose is usually to get people to contact you in some way, whether it be pick up the telephone, or send you an e-mail. The secondary (and more hidden) purpose of an ad is to prescreen the people who will be calling you.

If you have one home for sale and selling that property is all you are after, then you may want to get specific with your advertising, listing prices, and specific terms. People who cannot afford, or don’t want to pay your price, will not call and automatically screen themselves out.
I have a lot of homes for sale at all times, so my ads tend to be more general. I want to get everyone who is interested in buying a home to call me.  Even if I don’t have what they are after right now, I may in the future, so it isn’t a waste of my time to talk to them now.

You can think of it as how narrow or wide you want to cast your advertising net.

Here are a few of the ads that I run:

When I am interested in Buying Houses:

NEED to sell your house?
I buy houses

Investor looking to buy houses
in [your area].
Any condition, any price.

I am sure a lot of you out there have the same apprehension running these ads as I first did. It just seems to sound too cheesy…. Like I just got done with one of those late night infomercial courses and are out to score my first deal.

Well, regardless of how you feel about it, the honest truth is that these ads get the phone to ring. They are simple straightforward messages that bring in sellers.

If someone thinks too little of the ad to call, then the ad has also done it’s job prescreening out that person as someone who can afford to wait to sell their home. If you are in dire straights and need to get rid of your home, an ad like the ones above are manna from Heaven.  You certainly won’t turn up your nose at it.

When I am interested in Selling Homes I place ads likes these:

Rent to own home for sale
Owner will finance, Bad credit ok
3 bedroom 2 bath home in [your town]
Call now to set up a showing
or for more information

Easy to finance home for sale.
$5000 down gets you into a 3 bed 2 bath
Ranch style home in [your town]
Perfect for someone who has troubled
credit, but a small down payment.

I am sure many of you are thinking that classified ads this big are gong to cost some money. It’s true, they do, but what costs even more is a vacant house.  The small extra amount you spend getting your message across is insignificant if you can shave a month off of your hold time.

If the cost of the ad is a concern, you can try a two-step advertising approach where you use minimal words to direct people to a low cost web site where you do all of your selling.  In that case you can use ads like this:

Homes for sale at bargian prices
http://www.[your web site].com

When they get to the site you can have all kinds of information and photos about the properties you have. Google Sites allows you to set up a web site for free where you can post your property.

Buy a House, Sell a home.

Did you notice that I always buy a “House”, but sell a “Home”. In my mind these words have two very different connotations. To me, a “house” is a small building with a bunch of empty rooms inside, whereas a “home” is a furnished building with people living inside of it.  I envision friends gathered around a  fireplace eating holiday goodies and having an enjoyable time. I think this is what people tend to think of, and are in fact, after when buying a home to live in.

This also comes into play when you are looking at ads of properties for sale. Someone selling a “house” has less emotional attachment than a person selling their “home”.

While I am not always as good at using it as I should be, effective advertising normally ends with a “call to action” or some request of the reader. For me it is usually “call now” or “go to [website]”. It is some sort of instruction to motivate you to get up and take action.

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