Churchill magazine

How to write a good car advertisement

Updated on: 18 January 2021

car advertisement

There's an art to writing an effective motoring classified ad, whether it's for a newspaper, car magazine or online. It's crucial to get the wording right, otherwise you won’t get a response, and if you do, it won’t necessarily be successful.

The purpose of the ad is to get interested parties to contact you and come and view and buy it. Overall, stick to the facts and don’t use superlatives and exaggerations.

What to include in your car advertisement…

The ten most important elements in the perfect motoring classified ad are:

Year and registered letter/number
There can be a huge difference between models from one year to another, so it may be worth adding things like ‘face-lifted’ to your ad. This is because manufacturers usually upgrade a whole range for a new year and many clued up buyers are aware of this. It also means buyers will understand why you have set the price at a particular level.

Service history
If you’ve got it, flaunt it. ‘FSH’ (full service history) is an accepted abbreviation. Also mention if it's main agent servicing, which on some high value and sports cars makes it even more attractive. Don’t be tempted to state full history if your car doesn't have it as that’s illegal. Make sure there are stamps and bills to back your claim up.

Be specific if the car has a low mileage as buyers regard this as very important. However, mileage becomes less of an issue as the car gets older and can be dropped if you're flogging a banger.

This is vitally important in a marketplace that places emphasis on differences between an L and GL. Buyers also want to know the engine size, fuel type and if it's a manual or automatic transmission. Don’t waste words on the spec, unless it's a real selling point, such as aircon.

A crucial buying factor for many people, and remember that a picture ad may be too small and blurry to correctly identify it. You don’t have to use the manufacturer’s description like ‘Arctic White’, but it's worth mentioning whether it's a metallic finish or not.

Honesty really is the best policy. If there's a major fault, then mention it. ‘Good condition, but gearbox needs attention hence…’ that lovely word ‘hence’ qualifies the defect and justifies a lower than normal price. You don’t want to put someone off, but a buyer won’t be happy if they make a journey to see a car and find that there's a big dent down the side.

The word ‘offers’ or ‘ono’ (or near offer) at the end of the description indicates that you're desperate to sell at any price, so don’t use it. Buyers always make an offer anyway. Never put POA (price on application), as a buyer wants to know the price and may resent having to contact you for more details.

Telephone number
It seems obvious, but you might want to include a phrase like ‘ring between 6-7pm’, so you don’t become a prisoner to the phone. List as many ways to contact you as possible, including an email address which is a good way to make first contact and send pictures.

If you've been the only owner, or there have only been a couple in the last decade, this is another reassuring indicator for the potential purchaser.

Any existing guarantees or warranties, especially if provided by the manufacturer, should be mentioned.

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