[Revised from Classified Ads Are Dead, In 2020 Do Better - March 17, 2020]
You might be entering this post and thinking, “classified ads have been dead for a long time”. While you may be thinking this, classified ads are not dead in the sense that you may believe. They are very much alive and well— they have just evolved beyond your recognition. Classified ads serve one of the most important functions in your business. They help you make user connections.
This concept is confusing for most small business owners who believe user connections are made by posting on social media, email marketing, and blogging. While these things seem to be necessary, their importance has been overblown by the few entrepreneurs that have had major success in executing these actions. However, business and marketing is never a one size fits all.
To put it into perspective in his book, The Content Trap, Bharat Anan explains that the predominant factor in the decline of newspaper sales over the last 50 years wasn’t the failure to move news articles into the fortress of the internet, but the failure to move classifieds. In a big picture overview, classifieds accounted for the highest levels of readership and revenue for our world’s largest periodicals.
While newsies fought to get news online, their effort wasn’t as valiant when it came to the classifieds. Long story short, the news companies lost their readers by allowing job seekers to go to Indeed or Monster.com, apartment seekers to go to Zillow or Apartments.com, car seekers to go to Auto Trader, and garage sale bargain hunters to go to Craigslist and LetGo.
If any of those companies can offer monetary evidence, they would show that classifieds are very much alive and have branched out in unimaginable ways. Also, consider the fact that we now have Match.com or Tindr as an alternative to the personals section, and sponsored blogs and social media posts have replaced the need for a full-page, half, or quarter-page ad spread. As overwhelming as it all seems, the market has been niched down so much that it saves you effort in finding your tribe, all you have to do is connect with their existing community.
So if you’re a small business owner that’s after making a bit of money, it’s time to try to break into the new era of classified ads and the marketing efforts that have replaced them. If you are ready to scale your business in order to play in the big leagues but you’re not quite sure how— don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In the following post, I’m going to share several ways to jump into advertising your small business on both a physical and digital plane because with the introduction of the internet, the world is now the classifieds section.