How to write classified ads that drive traffic

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Whether you operate online, offline or both, classified ads are a wonderful way to drive traffic to your business.

Classified ads are effective because they’re what people use to search for things they want to buy. Another bonus is that there are tons of free to post classified ad sites on the internet, which means that you can post a high volume of ads creating links to your site for the cost of your time to do so.

Print classifieds are normally paid, but can also be worthwhile if you’re selling in a limited geographic area. Many community newspapers run special packages or sections within the classified section which offer good pricing.  Using local classifieds to drive traffic to a local business can be a useful alternative or addition to other print advertising.

For instance, one of my clients opened a high end  baby store in my town after doing extensive research to find the best location. They paid a market research company a bundle and were presented with an impressive report which indicated that this town was the ideal location for their store.

A few months after opening they came to me mystified because they had almost no traffic,  By now, their budget depleted, they were seriously in need of cash flow but didn’t have much money to invest.  I suggested swopping their expensive print ads for classified ads within the town and for all the communities in a 60km radius.

To their delight (and surprise) traffic began flowing into the store – from the furthest away communities.  While locals had a tendency to be tight fisted when it came to spending money on high end baby gear, more metropolitan areas were not only happy to spend, but were also prepared to travel to acquire higher end brands and looks that fitted their image of themselves as parents and grandparents.

These days, experimenting to see what will work best for your business is easy and inexpensive. Classifieds are often overlooked, particularly by the business community – however I believe this is a mistake.  Even businesses can benefit from carefully placed classifieds.

So how do you write a classified ad that will drive qualified traffic to your site?

Because online classified ads usually allow a fair number of words, it’s easier to write a good online classified than it is to write a print classified where you’re restricted by cost.

The keys to writing an effective ad are:

  1. identify the major benefit to the customer and hone in on this e.g. “No time to exercise? Try this amazing 10 minute a day exercise therapy used by celebrities, athletes and cosmonauts…”
  2. Then go on to provide some proof that substantiates your attention grabber, for example: “Whole body vibration technology was developed by Russian scientists for the Russian space program to overcome the issue of bone density loss in zero gravity conditions.  Today it’s used by celebrities like Madonna, Will I Am, Shaquille O’Neal and even Prince Albert of Monaco to help them stay in shape…”
  3. Then provide a call to action:  “Find out how you can own this now affordable technology and enjoy it’s more than 20 health and wellness benefits in the comfort of your own home.  Check it out at

On visiting the site, the prospect is then given more information and further calls to action.

The classified url can then also be pinged at which will help it gain ranking in the search engines.

The same approach can be used to drive traffic to a physical location.  Simply list the physical location instead of the web address when you’re advertising in a local area.

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