Outstanding Classified Advertising Must Stand Out

When the advertising budget doesn’t allow for display advertising or when the marketing strategy suggests a lower cost, lower risk test campaign, classified and directory advertising offer an alternative that reaches the same target audience online and in print. But while large, display advertising can command attention simply by dominating the page, small classified advertising needs to work much, much harder to get noticed. Often sized at a mere 1/16 of a page or at one column by a couple of inches, these ads face a number of factors working against their success – and ad size is just one factor:

  • These ads typically run on pages surrounded by other ads, each one trying to outdo the others for attention. 
  • Classified sections typically run in back of the issue.
  • No articles on the page to bring readers

See how these three classified advertising examples from epr were designed to stand out:

“Kids Love It!”

This one column x two-inch square ad for a pool and spa products e-commerce Website featured thick swaths of contrasting orange and blue against a white page background framing an action photo with people (the human eye is naturally drawn to look at other people in advertising) to stand out on the page. Neither the other two square ads nor the six other product showcase ads stood a chance. Securing a position like this at the top of the page with relatively little competition requires reading every issue of the magazine, in this case, Aquatics International, to gauge the competitive environment and see what may be needed to stand out. A companion, online version ran on the Website with animation showing the basketball fall through the basket to capture on-screen attention.

“Protect Your High End Linens”

This one column x four-inch ad for a commercial laundry cart manufacturer features bold blue, green and orange colors to stand out from the light page background and from the frenzy of other ads in various sizes, colors and styles. It conveys a single message to hoteliers investing in costly, high quality linens. The cart is shown open with the linens and closed to show its sleek, attractive exterior. Securing this ad position as the first in the Laundry category above a top competitor that comes first alphabetically required a skilled, experienced media buyer from epr.

“Paid for itself in Two Weeks!”

If this quarter-page ad had run on the previous page at 181 as a display ad, it would’ve cost twice the rate of it running on page 183 as a classified ad. Knowing the ad was to be surrounded by three other quarter-page ads on a white page background, epr designed this ad featuring a thick, royal blue background framing a happy wedding couple that immediately grabs attention and moves the reader into the copy.

Given this reverse style with the ad copy in white on dark instead of the easier to read dark on white, the copywriting is kept short and on-message. Running in Rental Management magazine, the ad headline speaks directly to the thought process rental shop owners use to assess the purchase of new products.

For a free conversation about your advertising strategy, email paul at eprmarketing.com or call 908.479.4231.

See more classified advertising examples here.

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Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life explores every facet of marketing from advertising, PR and lead generation to content marketing, direct response and the latest in marketing automation – and more. Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life provides real-life insight into the relationship among sales, marketing, and customer service – and the customer – plus quick commentary from epr founder, Paul Entin.