Cash-strapped new businesses can seldom afford to splash out on advertising, and online platforms such as classifieds can offer large volumes of traffic for a marginal price. But there is a science to it, says Francois Labuschagne, Product and Marketing Manager for Junk Mail South Africa.
“It’s true that classifieds offer businesses a huge audience, but that also means that you are competing with a lot of rival companies,” says Labuschagne. “You have to view classifieds as your shop front and make sure it stands out from the rest.”
Labuschagne offers the following advice for discerning businesses hoping to make use of the platform:
1. DO use appealing visuals
“Ads with pictures are twice as likely to get noticed and clicked on,” he says. “Make sure your visuals are appealing. You don’t necessarily need professional shots of your goods or services – you can download non-copyprotected images from the Internet or even take a picture from your phone. Just make sure the image isn’t grainy or blurred.”
2. DO use keywords
“Your chances of getting found within the classified portal (and Google) are much better if you use a detailed description. An example would be to state that you “sell and plant roll-on lawn including Kikuyu, Buffalo and Bermuda at R80 per square meter in Pretoria”, as opposed to just using the words “roll-on lawn sales”,” says Labuschagne. “Mention the various locations, products and services you offer in as much detail as possible.”
3. DO proofread
“Go through each advert carefully before publishing. Make sure your contact details are correct and that you’ve used the correct spelling. It creates a favourable response.”
4. DO opt for a Pro Account
“Always opt for a professional account if it’s on offer. The fee is usually minimal and it allows you to manage your ads from a unique dashboard, whilst giving your ads greater visibility on the site.”
5. DON’T neglect your ads (or your customers)
“Once your ad has gone up, be sure to regularly update it. With mobile integration, you should be able to keep an eye on your ads, even whilst on the go. Update it when new stock arrives and always respond to queries,” Labushagne advises.
6. DON’T give up
“The beauty of online classifieds is that the ads are modifiable,” Labushagne says. “If your ad isn’t generating the response you want, change it. Keep experimenting until you find the formula that works.”