Ever since the beginning of the digital age, marketers have been bypassing classified ads as they attempted to gain customers through websites, social media, search engine marketing and pay per click advertising. Despite all those options, sometimes a classified ad site is ideal for making a sale or buying a product. If you sell cars or buy cars, if you want to rent a flat, or if you’re interested in buying and selling property, chances are a classified ad site has exactly what you need.
The History of Classified Ads
Classified ads have changed a lot since they were created and they’ve been around a lot longer than you might think. The earliest known instance of a classified ad occurred all the way back in 2000 B.C. The Egyptians would carve public notices into steel, or put up flyers and notices on papyrus. The Romans had their own means of creating classified ads, with something called the Acta Diurna (Daily Acts) notice for residents to read. Through time, classified ads became more and more popular. It wouldn’t be until 1704 that the first newspaper advertisement would be placed in the Boston News Letter. That one advertisement would be the beginning of a million dollar industry.
With the invention of the internet, classified ads changed and went digital. Craigslist, a site designed to be a classified ad site, went viral and soon people were taking their classified ad searches to the internet. Enter today, and mobile marketing, where Smartphone aps are being developed and intregrated with local search in order to create even more classified ads.
With how long the classified ad craze has been going on, it’s clear people trust and enjoy using these sites in order to find products and services, both in their communities and globally.
The Benefits of Classified Ad Sites
There are many different reasons that both people and businesses prefer using classified ad sites in order to advertise their products. Some of these reasons include their economical costs, the speed at which they can be created, their personal experience and finally, their high success rate.
Cost – Most classified ad sites allow individuals to list items for free or for a nominal cost. Advertising on television, setting up websites and doing radio commercials are all expensive undertakings that don’t have a very high success rate. With classified ads, there is very little to lose because the cost of placing these ads is so nominal.
Speed – It literally takes under an hour to create a classified ad. Most classified ad sites will allow you to add pictures, links to your site and numbers to call to allow you to get the maximum exposure in the fastest amount of time.
The Personal Touch – When someone is looking for something personal, like a home to live in or a used car to buy, they don’t want to deal with a large impersonal company. They want to deal with someone they can talk to face to face. Classified ads allow this connection and give a personal touch to advertisements.
A High Success Rate – There are two major types of marketing than can be applied to every medium. The first is outbound marketing. This happens when you ‘cold call’ someone or contact them about your service before they seek you out. Outbound marketing has lower success rates because the person you’re contacting isn’t guaranteed to be in the market for what you offer. As a result, you might have to contact hundreds of potential customers before you find one that’s interested in what you have to offer.
Then, there’s inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is when a customer comes to you. These customers are more motivated to buy because they’re actually seeking the product you sell. Using a classified ad site reaches these inbound marketing customers, who are specifically looking for your product, and improves the likelihood that they will buy your product.
Most Popular Products in Classified Ads
When it comes to classified ads, there are certain products that do better than others. It’s not uncommon for people to go to classified ads first when seeking one of these products. Some to consider include;
Cars – Whether they’re buying a new car, or selling their old one, people love using classified ad sites to buy cars and sell cars. This is because they are more likely to be able to find a good price when buying privately, and they are able to find vehicles locally. When people go to a dealership’s website, they might have to deal with heavy markups and hard sell tactics, or be pressured into buying a vehicle they don’t want. With classified ads, they can see the one specific vehicle they want, in their price range and not have to worry about being up-sold at the dealership.
In addition, private individuals can sell their old cars easily, get lots of responses from people in their area, and avoid dealership or salvage fees that occur when selling through a company. Generally, a dealership will give someone less than the value on their old car so they can make a profit on it. By selling though classified ads, that person can make that value their minimum asking price and get a better deal.
Property – People like to buy property through classified ads for the same reason they like to buy cars there. It’s much easier to get a good idea of what the property looks like and the buyer won’t have to worry about a slick corporation misrepresenting a property or even pulling the old bait and switch. Instead, they can find a place specific to their needs, in their price range.
Sellers looking to sell property through classified ads get an even bigger benefit. They can avoid the huge commission a real estate agent will take and instead, pocket all the money from the sale of their property. With classified ads, they can set up their own open houses and their own appointments, in order to save them costs on selling their homes.
Furniture – Whether you’re looking to get rid of old furniture, or need a cheap way to furnish a home, classified ads are a great way to find furniture and even yard sales. Most people who are moving put it up there at a reasonable price in order to move it quickly. In some cases, it can even be an excellent way to buy or sell antiques, again without having to pay a commission to a consignment store to sell it for you.
Rentals – Whether it’s a college student who wants to rent a flat, or a tourist looking for a seasonal place, classified ads are frequently the first stop. When it comes to rentals, there aren’t a lot of online resources that allow people to browse listings. With classified ads, you can rent out a flat, or rent one for yourself, without having to parse through pages of properties for sale.
Pitfalls to Avoid with Classified Ads
Of course, no marketing stream is perfect. There are always going to be certain things to avoid. However, as long as you know about them, it’s easy to protect yourself.
Potential Scams – Unfortunately, certain scammers have seen the benefits of classified ads as well. It’s a place where they can post false advertisements or search for victims. One common scam occurs when a seller places a classified ad. The scammer will contact them and offer to pay much, much more than the asking price. The only catch is they’re sending a check and the seller needs to send back some of the money to them from the check.
This is always a scam. The scammer will send a fake check, the seller sends real money, and then the fake check gets returned, leaving the seller without their property and without their money. This scam is seen with jobs, with property sales, rentals and with car sales. However, this scam is easy to avoid. Simply remember if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Report the scammer and move on.
False Listings – Some less ethical businesses use the classified ads to put the old bait and switch on potential customers. They might put up a car for sale, and then when someone calls about it, say it just sold yesterday. Then, they’ll try and up-sell that customer on something else. This one is easily avoided as well, simply by hanging up the phone when the up-sell starts. For sellers, it’s important to take down a classified ad as soon as the item sells, so they won’t be seen as one of those bait and switch companies.
Clutter and Spam – Spammers might try out classified ad boards as well, in an attempt to drive people to their websites. This spam can clutter up a site and make it difficult to find what you want or get attention for what you’re selling. That’s why when setting your ad, you should use specific keywords, local to your area, and choose the best, most narrow category for your advertisement. This will help customers find you and keep you from getting buried in spam.
How to Place Classified Ads Online
The key to obtaining all the benefits of classified ad sites is making sure your classified ad is as optimized as possible. One line advertisements will usually get ignored. When placing a classified ad, remember the following;
Pictures – People will always chose an ad that has pictures, over one that doesn’t. Whether you’re selling a car, a house or trying to rent out an apartment, people will want to see as many pictures as possible. Make sure to get good clear shots with a digital camera, from multiple angles, and post as many pictures as you are allowed to maximize your exposure.
Contact Methods – Offer multiple ways to contact you, and not just one. Some customers are phone shy, while others don’t like using email. Even more might want to check out your website before they decide whether or not to go with you. When possible offer all the contact information you can, including email, telephone, address and website information. That way, you’ll have an easy way for anyone to contact you.
Appropriate Length – You want to give a thorough description of your product or service, without going on so long that customers lose interest. Use only enough words to describe what you are selling, and don’t include unnecessary information, like pages of testimonials or overly complicated wording. Make sure you break up the text into paragraphs and use formatting to make it attractive as well.
Creating Buzz with Classified Ads
Classified ads have been around for centuries for one major reason; they work. From Ancient Egypt’s papyrus posters, all the way to EBay’s mobile aps, classified ad sites continue to be a great way to sell products and services. People trust them and they use them regularly.
They offer tons of benefits to advertisers. These ads can be had for a nominal cost, or even a small percentage of the profits from a sale. They can be used to get both global and local customers, and they can be targeted to very specific individuals. In addition, when someone is looking in the classified ads, they are already motivated to buy a product. Classified ad sites deliver inbound customers right to your door, leaving you with little to do but complete the sale.
You no longer have to compete with large websites online, especially if you’re looking to sell or buy vehicles, property or rentals. People go to the classified ads for these things because they want to buy from someone local, and not a big online website that is going to have a huge markup.
Classified ads are no longer those tiny blocks of text in the newspaper. Instead, they’ve changed with the times and have become digital and mobile. It’s easy to create buzz about your product with these ads, because they’re accessible to everybody. This tried and true method of advertising works. That’s why the benefits of classified ad sites can’t be underestimated.