Inch for inch, a small ad just might be the best advertising deal around. If done right, a small space or classified ad can bring you profits far exceeding what a larger often produces. Here are some ideas to get more bang for your buck with small ads:

  1. Use small ads to test headlines and other key elements before you pay for a larger ad. Headlines are funny things, you really never know which one will take off and be your best money maker. Instead, you have to let the people who read your ad “vote” for the headline that appeals to them the most with how they respond. So it makes a lot more sense to test headlines on small ads before you spend money on a larger ad.

  2. Use small ads to generate leads. Offer a free booklet or some other free information product in your small ad. When the reader gets your information, make sure it contains far more useful information than sales message. But even then you will have much more space to sell than in a full space ad in a publication.

  3. Of course you should also make use of the leads generated by your small ad. Send these people follow up information. This way, your single small ad enables you to recontact the same interested people over and over again.

  4. Instead of using a single, large ad to tell about your wide list of services or products, use several small ads to target each niche you cover. For example, the Yellow Page ads of many law firms are little more than laundry lists of the services they provide. A more effective campaign might be to target each specialty with a single small ad. Take this one step further, and the law firms might offer different free information products or white papers on each small ad targeting each specialty.

  5. Speaking of Yellow Page ads, many businesses make the expensive mistake of putting up a year-long ad without testing. Since the Yellow Pages only come out once a year, it is not feasible to test the ad there. But you can run several small ads in local publications to see which one is most effective and choose the winner as your year-long Yellow Page ad. Running an untested Yellow Page ad is one mistake that can cost you not only in a poor return on investment, it also causes you to go a whole year with a lower sales than you might otherwise have been able to realize.

  6. If your product has multiple uses or benefits, highlight each use or benefit in separate ads. Don’t count on readers wading through a long list text to get to the single benefit that appeals to them.

  7. Test, test and then test again. Small ads give you a cost-effective way to compare many different ideas to see which ones pull in the highest response from readers.

  8. Effective headlines for small ads can be shorter and punchier than larger ads. Try to compress as much meaning as possible in five words or less. Here are some headlines that have worked very well on small ads:
    $500 a Week

    15 Minutes a Day

    Free 48 Page Booklet

    Anyone Can Learn


    No Obligation

    Money Back If Not Delighted

    Send No Money

    Mrs. E.C. Made $65

    Learn In 6 Weeks

    (reprinted from Tested Advertising Methods, 5th Edition, by John Caples)

  9. If you are using the small ad to generate leads offering free information, give your booklet or information product a good title and experiment with using that title as your headline (but test, test, test). For example, “101 Ways To Help Your Child Get Better Grades,” or “33 Ways To Unlock The Hidden Job Market.”

It is hard to imagine any marketing plan that cannot be made better with the smart use of small ads. They are cost effective, allow you to more precisely target your intended audience and …..can be tested.

freelance copywriter, writing web content, copywriting tips

COPYRIGHT(C)2006, Charles Brown. All rights reserved.


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