Until you can find the right words you will not get any response. Ken Kerr puts two ads in the same paper with different wording, then he waits to see which one pulls the most response. He takes the best one and changes ONE WORD. He never changes more than one word at a time. Runs it again. If it is better he keeps trying and changing until he has an ad that will get calls every time he puts it in a paper. He then puts it in the larger local news paper and makes it a little bigger. If it still works, then he puts it in the papers in 3 or 4 large cities like Seattle, Dallas and Denver. If it works there, then he puts it in every news paper in the country. What is it he is doing here? In his own words, "TESTING, TESTING, TESTING".
Is it hard to put an ad in the paper? NO! But you have to test it. Why test it in the Phoenix Sun for $300 a day, if you can test it first in the free NICKLE ads. TESTING, TESTING, TESTING. Be patient. Don't try to do it all in one day. TEST, TEST, TEST.
Here are Cordell's 9 rules that will help you with a classified ad:
1. TARGETED CUSTOMER: Know who your customer is. (Remember we talked about that in other newsletters)
2. HEADLINE: Have a headline in your ad that is powerful. It is the most important part of your ad. That is really what you are testing. Try your headline out on some friends first and see what they think. If you can not catch people with your headline, it does not matter what else is in your ad. They are not going to read it. Here are some PROVEN HEADLINE WORDS that sell (proven by who? Ken Kerr of course and others)
GUARANTEED (and a little note: if you are not willing to guarantee it, don't advertise it)
PROVEN NEW EASY WAY
Which of all of those do you think is the biggest pulling headline? HOW TO........ Write a headline that says HOW TO xxxxxxxxx and you have an almost sure winner.
3. BE UNDERSTANDABLE: Don't try to be cute! Normally things that are cute to you are not cute to others and they often don't get the pun. TEST, TEST,TEST. If you have a headline, test it on your friends and see if they think it is too clever.
4.WIIFM: That is your radio station. It stands for What's In It For Me. You have to answer that question in your ad or no one will call you.
5. ACTION PHRASE: You have to do something in your ad to get them to take action. You can do this by creating a sense of urgency. "This is a one time offer". "Call today while supplies last". "Sale ends Saturday Night". Ever heard any of those expressions in an ad? WHY? They want you to take action. Put an action statement in your ad. Call now... or Don't wait for example... something that encourages them to take action NOW!
6. BIGGER IS NOT BETTER: Your words are what counts not the size. Only go bigger once you have tested it and know that the words you are using will PULL. Then you can go to bigger newspapers and bigger size ads. TEST, TEST, TEST. (Getting it now?)
7. KEEP IT SIMPLE: If it is very complicated, people will move on. Save your more complex information for your sales letter that you will send to them if they call.
8. HAVE AN 800 NUMBER: For about $6 to $10 a month you can have an 800 number service that people can call. (If you don't have one email me and I will help you get one). You do not want them calling you. People normally do not want to talk to a live salesperson. SO HAVE A FREE RECORDED MESSAGE on an 800 number. If they are interested they will leave their name and number. That saves you a lot of that work you hate called "PROSPECTING". You need to filter the people. Make them show you they are interested before you actually take the time to talk to them. If they will not listen to your free recorded message and leave their name and number you don't likely want them in your organization anyway.
9. TEST TEST TEST: (Getting it yet?) Those are the battle words. It is so important that you test you ad. If it does not work change it. Do not change more than one word at a time or you will not know which word made the difference. On man put a full page ad in the LA TIMES which cost thousands and did not get one call. Then he changed his ad from saying you can make $100,000 to you can make $50,000 and his phone rang off the wall. Why? Because $50,000 was more believable. He made over a million dollars on the second ad. Not one cent on the first one. Maybe someone should have told him about testing in the local classified ads first
So give it a whirl. Don't be afraid to try. If it is a free ad what can you loose? Test the wording out on your friends first. By the way, that is a great way to present something to family members or close friends, if you don't want to approach them about your business. Just send them and email and ask them if they would help you by giving you their opinion. Ask them to tell you what they think of your ad before you put it in the paper. That way you are not SELLING THEM. You are asking their advice, but you are also giving them an opportunity to tell you if they are interested without you asking.
Another side note.... Many people are all fired up about the Internet and think that is the place to solve all their advertising problems. That may be true. It is the fastest growing industry around. But remember there are less that 20% of the people who have access to the Internet even now. So don't miss out on the other 80% who only read classified ads.
See you at the bank
Cordell Vail, W.B.
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