The Classified Challenge: Sell Within SecondsWritten by Lisa Lake
Classified advertising is a marketing method that's hundreds of years old. In last digital decade online classified advertising has exploded. You can reach millions of readers within seconds after creating and posting an ad. It's an inexpensive way to market yourself, your service, or your product, and your customer comes LOOKING FOR YOU when reading classifieds. Yet too few of them score. Why not? They're vague. They don't sell within seconds.
Read through 20 or 30 online classifieds and you'll agree best ones stand out in three ways. They inform, they entice, or they challenge reader. This draws reader into ad immediately, likely ending with a phone call or website hit or better yet, a sale. Good classified ads needn't do all three. But they succeed in one of these - informing, enticing, or challenging reader -- and they get started right away with a strong headline.
Let's look at a couple of online classified categories to find some bombs and to find some winners. I chose 'Business Opportunities' for its sheer size online (huge), and 'Weddings', under Services.
Classified readers are exposed to loads of poorly written ads in Business Opportunities section. "Earn BIG BUCKS!!!" "Opportunity Knocking!" "Money Making Opportunity." "Don't Pass This Up!" "Earn Unbelievable Income This Week!" "Home-Based Business Opportunity." That last one does inform us, and you might even picture yourself working in your basement in your plaid bathrobe; problem is there are HUNDREDS of others today with same headline. What is something SPECIFIC about business opportunity you want to share with others?
On other hand, following ads are informative, telling me right away about nature of opportunity. "Book Travel >From Home." "NOT MLM." "Save 80% On Dental Services." "Order Processor - Work From Home." "Own Your Own Casino Website."
I realize with boom in online business opportunities, daily there are more and more of each of these examples of work opportunities available. So entice your reader. These are pretty persuasive: "Flock To Record-Breaking Company!" "Moms, Say Good-bye To Daycare!" And, "Follow A Proven Plan To Success."
Or challenge your reader. "On A Mission Moms?" "Serious Money For The Serious Minded" challenges experienced entrepreneur to stand up and be noticed. He might say to himself, 'I'm smart, I've been around block a few times; so I'll read your ad to see if YOU'RE serious.' A retired person without a lot of technical experience but who is curious about online businesses might respond to headline "Easy Set-Up" by saying, 'You mean even I could do it? Tell me more.'
After you write your all-important headline, or simply approve it after having an expert do it for you, ask yourself, would Joe Reader read on?
NEWS OR SNOOZE: Will Your Press Release be a Doosie or a Dud?Written by Meredith Pond
A press release can be an effective weapon in fight for media and public attention. In fact, many businesspeople don't even think twice before writing or ordering a press release, correctly assuming that a release can provide necessary publicity to boost sales.
As much as a well-written press release can do for your image, you need to be sure that your business or product is appropriate for a release. Believe it or not, a press release that isn't truly newsworthy can easily end up sounding like a sales pitch, which can do irreparable damage to your company's image.
A press release should make an announcement about a new product or service, an event, or a change in way a product or service is marketed. If your company has changed management, released or upgraded a product, or is staging an important event, you have material for a solid release.
Also, any little-known business or service can make a good release if it serves needs of public in an interesting way. For example, I just wrote a release for a gentleman who provides a service that allows homeowners to pay off their mortgages years sooner, without making larger payments or refinancing their current loans. With mortgage rates falling and real estate market picking up, that kind of material made a very good release.
So, a story that surrounds current events and peaks public interest usually makes good release material. Now, let's talk about what doesn't.
If your business is, for example, an MLM that hundreds of other people are taking part in and marketing on their own, chances are that media has already heard about it and won't pick up your story. I'm not saying that MLMs are automatic losers in media department, because a brand-new or extremely unique program may still be newsworthy. In most cases, however, people trying to market an MLM should rely mainly on classified ads or informative articles that dance around their business, then reveal contact information at end.