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Quick Tips for Contractors #68 – Use Classifed Ads

I knew a guy that lived in a castle (literally) here in Philly from the money he made advertising his business in the classified section. He has since lost the castle because he failed to pay his income tax, but that’s a different blog. The point I want to get across here is that classified ads are still a great way to advertise on the cheap, but there are some tricks to it. But do it right and the upside is huge. So here are the 5 things you want to make sure you do when marketing for your construction company in the classified section:

1. A phone number that is indigenous to the local market-Not only the area code, but the prefix too. Your brand new cell phone number with a new area code isn’t going to cut it!
2. An interest-creating remark-What’s in it for the reader? Classified ads are all about them, and nothing about you!
3. A Offer-People are looking in the classifieds for a deal. If you don’t have one in your ad, why did you place it in the first place?
4. A Call to action-As I always say, people are sheep, they need to be told what to do. As a matter of fact, they WANT to be told what to do.
5. Answer the phone when it rings – If I have to teach this one, then we are not communicating!

Now, do this in as many papers in your market as you can afford. And make sure you do it repeatedly since booking business with classifieds is based on people who have a specific need at a particular moment in time and are looking in the classifieds to hire, not tire kick. So make sure you are there when they are ready to buy!




8 responses to “Quick Tips for Contractors #68 – Use Classifed Ads”

  1. Heidi Nyline Avatar
    Heidi Nyline

    Darren, Interesting article. I always see the ads in the back of the local papers but have never considered advertising. I assumed it would be targeting low budget jobs – not my market. Any thoughts?

    1. Darren Avatar

      Hey Heidi,

      Look at you commenting in the middle of the night! Thanks for stopping by. Everyone says the lower-end of the market “isn’t for them”, and while that may be true, people don’t always know what they need, they only know what they want. So, if in your case, you advertised a 2 room/hall special for say…$999, I bet your chances are good to: A. Upsell them B. Get referral work from them C. Sell them something else later down the road. D. All of the above. You see, classifieds are good for new movers, which is a demo I imagine you want to get a hold of right? Because people spend more on their new homes in the 1st 5 months they are there then the next 5 YEARS. So, a little $20-$25 dollar ad could really reap some solid rewards. It’s all about low-hanging fruit, people who are shopping in the classifieds are READY TO BUY, they have cash in hand and are looking for someone to spend it on.

  2. Heidi Nyline Avatar
    Heidi Nyline

    Thanks so much for the tips Darren. We are already planning our Fall marketing for when the summer exterior market slows down so this is something to definitely consider. I’ll let you know how it goes.
    BTW – It was only midnight in the East.

    1. Darren Avatar

      You are welcome! I guess when I looked it was 1am or so here in the east, it was late somewhere! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Mike Pierce Avatar
    Mike Pierce


    Good idea to push the classifieds. Seems all to often this gets overlooked by a lot of folks.

    A quick follow up to point 1 and 5. I had a buddy that used a VOIP service from a company called phone.com. With them he was able to get phone numbers in all the markets he was advertising in and then forward those calls to his cell phone. Hence, he ran an ad on Craigslist in Houston with a 713 are code and one in Austin with a 512 area code. I’m sure they have tutorials on how to set it up if you go for it.

    Happy hunting,


    1. Darren Avatar

      That is an awesome suggestion Mike! Thanks!

  4. JW Avatar

    Mike brings up an interesting point. How about Craigslist marketing? Is it effective if done properly?

    1. Darren Avatar

      I use it…and it works well. Could work in your world too JW.