How to Use Classified Ads to Gain Leads for Your Business

Classified ads are an underappreciated marketing tool. They allow you to reach local markets and target specific ones. This method of direct advertising is quite affordable and remains effective since you can control the content that you present. Classified ads are thus a valuable way to generate leads for any business. Here are a few tips on how to use classified ads to gain leads for your business.

Recognize That It Isn’t Just in the Printed Newspaper

The traditional classified ad is in your local newspaper. And yes, there are still people who open the printed sheets and read them. However, the same newspapers are posting classified ads online to generate traffic. This means your classified ads do end up online and searchable. Your ad in the local phone book could end up on their website, too, depending on terms and conditions. These ads could end up next to paid advertisers, but you don’t have to manage a display advertising campaign.

Use the Right Format

People scanning the ads are literally skimming the content. Your ads will be missed if it is a large chunk of generic text.

You need to start with what will attract their attention and give them a reason to keep reading. Your ad needs to hook them in the first few words. Use as few words as possible because they will move on if your ad is too long.

Rely on actionable language to engage the audience; tell them what to do instead of asking them questions. Have a clear call to action, whether “call us” or “visit our website”. Always provide your phone number or other contact information, and make sure that information is right. Also, carefully review the ad for spelling and grammar mistakes since that will kill your credibility with readers.

Put Ads in the Right Place

First, determine what your target demographic is reading. Then, consider advertising wherever your customers are. This means you should research putting classified ads in trade magazines, niche publications, relevant blogs, online news sites, and Craigslist.

Select the publications that are in the same area as your customers if you’re looking for local leads. You may need to do a Craigslist search by state to find the right categories and local markets for your ads. Put the ads in the right category so that it shows up to the right people. If you don’t really know where your ads could go, look at where your competition is putting their classified ads.

Perform A/B Testing

You’re not going to get the wording exactly right the first time. Fortunately, classified ads are easy to run A/B testing with. Have two versions of the ad’s wording. Post one ad one week and the other ad the other week. That’s your A/B test. See which one brought in more leads or generated greater sales. Sometimes minor differences in wording have a significant impact on the end results, so don’t assume your good classified ad campaign can’t be improved.


Classified ads are an affordable form of marketing that can generate a significant return on the investment when done right. You can maximize the leads generated by these ads and improve on them incrementally to create targeted ads for each demographic.