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How to Generate Leads and Customers From Classified Ads

by Hippo-Marketing

If done properly, classified ads can easily generate you a ton of leads & business. The key of course would be placing the classified ad in the proper category.

When I was in the teeth whitening business, we were looking for dealers to buy our product in bulk to resell. In essence, we were searching out business opportunity seekers. The USA Today Newspaper had a Business Opportunity section in their classified ads section. Our average dealer package cost $1,999.00.

Why did we choose USA Today? Well, we calculated that the readers of USA Today had a little more disposable income, they were more educated and if they were looking in the Business Opportunity section of the newspaper, then we could probably sell them.

We ran our ad in the weekend edition (Friday, Saturday & Sunday). I believe the ad cost us about $475 and the ad read something like this:

Cash in on this amazing industry. Thanks to
TV shows like Extreme Makeover, you're only
1 phone-call away from being Filthy RICH!
FREE Info at:
Or Call Toll-FREE: 1.800.888.8888

Did it work? Yes it did. On average, we received about 30-35 calls every weekend. With the average dealer package costing $1,999.00, we generally closed on 3-4 deals…EACH WEEK! That's $8,000 weekly, from a $475 investment!

It doesn't matter what industry you're in. Each paper has a variety of categories and if you match your product/service to the proper category, you can achieve some amazing results. When writing classified ads, you need to follow a few tips to maximize the response rate.

#1, don't try and sell your product in the ad. There simply isn't enough space to do that. The people who saw our ad had the option to go to the website or call us for additional information. Did I try to sell them on the phone? No I didn't. My goal was to get their name, mailing address, email address and phone number. I sent them a package outlining the business opportunity. That package was designed to sell them on the business, not me.

If they went to the website, the website sold the heck out of them. The website had everything the mailing piece had. Either way, they received all the information they needed to make a decision.

Most people make the mistake of trying to sell their product in the ad and that's bad. As stated earlier, there is no room in that small space to create value of the product or service. That could only be done with a direct mail piece or a direct response written website.

And I'm going to repeat this one more time. Don't ever try to sell your product in that ad. You should craft a very detailed information package to send to these 'qualified prospects'. Your ad should direct them to request more information…whether it instructs them to download a free report from your website, or to call your 24-hour voicemail recording and leave their name and address to receive their free information package.

Trust me…they'll leave their name and address to receive the package if you wrote the ad properly. Here's an example:

Anti-Aging Secrets Exposed!
Try it and see the results for yourself.
Leave name & address on 24-hr
recording to receive FREE samples
via mail. 404.404.4040

This is an ad I ran for an Arbonne distributor who had sample packs for an anti-aging product. The ad work extremely well…and while she sold many anti-aging products, she got even more customers to buy other Arbonne products. Why was this ad effective…. let's break it down!

Everybody loves a secret and giving away free samples didn't hurt either. If we didn't put the following: "Leave name and address on 24-hr recording" we would not have received nearly as many calls. How do I know? Because we tested it. By allowing people to leave a message on a recording, they don't feel threatened. They know they're isn't going to be someone on the other end of the phone trying to sell them something. That's why this works so well…

It's our job to sell them…when people left their names and addresses, we sent them the samples, along with a sales letter…several purchased right away, while it took a 2nd letter to get more to buy…on the third mailing we sent a Arbonne catalog. Can you guess what happened? Many of them actually picked up the phone and called the distributor to purchase other beauty related products.

The ad above cost about $47 dollars to run for 7 days…this was in one of those counties that had their own newspaper, with a population of about 90,000 people.

I don't mean to babble on, but I want to give you as much information as possible. In another example, I ran a roommate matching service. I grew the business strictly through classified ads. Here is an example of the ad I ran (I don't have it in front of me, so it may vary slightly).

Find a Local Roommate
to Share the Expenses
We match them, screen
them, & do background
checks. Call 24-hr recording
for more info: 404.404.4040

What did they hear on that voice recording? Well…it was a 7 minute pitch explaining exactly what it was we do…I know, some of you are thinking who in the world would listen to a 7 minute spill on the telephone?

Well…anybody looking for a roommate would listen to a 20 minute spill if it lasted that long. The people looking to use my service want all the information they'd need to make a decision on whether or not to use my service.

The 7-minute pitch discussed how we match them and screen them. It also discussed the type of background checks being performed. It also explained how much they'd pay and it also discussed some very basic safety issues.

We charged $150 bucks to be split amongst the 2 roommates once we made a match.

Now…after listening to a 7-minute pitch, it told them to leave their name and telephone number if they were interested in moving forward. And guess what? Those who left their names and phone numbers didn't have to be sold. They were already sold! And, I didn't have to go over the same spill 30 times a day…. the voice recording did it for me and I simply checked my messages twice a day and spent the rest of my day 'having a life'.

Classified ads marketing works and it works well…Try it!

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