One great aspect of classified ads marketing in publications, such as newspapers, magazines and small handouts, is that you can target your prospects pretty well. The more you can target your audience with any marketing weapon, the bigger bang for your marketing buck you'll get.
With newspapers, you have city newspapers and neighborhood newspapers. You know that if you test out your classified ads marketing campaign in the Seattle Times, most of the people reading that ad will be living in Seattle. If that's your geographic market you work as a Realtor or agent, your ad dollars could be well spent.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you're targeting Seattle residents with your classified ads marketing, you don't want to place an ad in the New York Times in hopes that some folks from Seattle will read it. It's an extreme example, but you get my point. The "targeting" of your prospects has basically been done for you, at least in terms of location.
The same can be said if you want to place an ad in a magazine or other circulated publication. There are countless publications that circulate only in your local neighborhood or area.
Some are about local tourism, food, dining, recreation, home and garden, etc. You may read some of these already. What's great is that you can contact these publications and most will have demographic information on their subscribers to give you before you test your classified ads marketing campaign.
In many cases, you can get their income range, gender, ownership status/rental status, how long they lived in the area, etc. That way you can narrow down your "target market" even more. The more you target, the better value you'll get on the marketing dollars you're spending.
The next issue that can make or break your ad, as a Realtor or agent, is the ad itself. Do you bite the bullet and take out a full page, 4-color ad or start out with a small 1x2 inch text ad?
As with any marketing weapon you are trying for the first time, you need to test. I can't emphasize that enough. Don't get sold by the ad rep. you're talking to and buy a full page ad for 12 months when you don't even know if your ad will pull results in that publication.
Start out small. It doesn't need to be the most tiny text ad in the whole publication but get one of the smaller ads (in terms of size and price) and see if you get results for 2, 3, 6 months. I would say you need to lean towards the 6 month timeframe so you have time to adequately tell if you're getting results or not. 2 months is just not enough time to test any classified ads marketing campaign.
If you start getting responses (you'll be directing them to your site or phone), you know you can move up in size and price and theoretically get solid results.
Eventually, if you're getting a good return-on-investment on your ad dollars, you can buy that full page ad and own that publication as the top agent. But don't jump there from day 1. Take it slowly or else you'll be sad when you've blown you're entire $13,000 classified ads marketing budget and have to go find a job at McDonald's.
The classified "ad" itself is a topic of its own. It really comes down to sales copy and ad design. You'll want to brush up on your copywriting and ad design skills so you can get the highest response rate possible.
The ad needs to be able to the grab reader's attention and reel them in. It's an art and a science to write and/or design a solid ad. You may be able to do it yourself or you may want to outsource that to an expert through Elance.com.
In addition, you don't need to limit yourself to placing classifieds ads only in offline publications. There are many more sources online that you can utilize. Just do a search in Google for "classified ad placement" and your area. See what comes up.
The obvious place to start might be Craigslist although you may want to find some paid sources as Craigslist may not be extremely effective when placing an ad as an agent. But it's worth a shot.
An offline vendor I recommend for newspaper advertising would be NationwideAdvertising.com. They have placement options that cover up to 100 million readers. You can search by state to see which newspapers are available, the circulation numbers and prices. It's so much easier than trying to search for all the individual newspapers one-by-one. Check them out and see if you want to use them in your marketing arsenal.
About the Author:
Josh F. Sanders is a Real Estate Broker and the Founder of Shiloh Street University in Seattle, WA, an online marketing school designed specifically for Realtors and agents.
SSU's purpose is to "Create Wealthy Agents through World-Class Marketing" by providing step-by-step video marketing tutorials, lead-generation lessons, tips, articles, recommended marketing vendors and much more.