There is an art to writing an effective motoring classified ad whether it is going to go into a newspaper, car magazine or online. It is 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 advertisement is not so much to fully describe the car as 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.
The ten most important elements in the perfect motoring classified ad are:
- Year and registered letter/number – The buyer needs to know exactly which model you are selling. There can be a huge amount of difference between models and it may well be worth adding things like ‘face-lifted’, ‘more powerful’, ‘higher specification’ model. 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 it is 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 does not have it as that’s illegal. Make sure there are stamps and bills to back your claim up.
- Mileage – 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 are flogging a banger.
- Model – 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, so state 1.6, 2.0, diesel and whether gearbox is automatic. Don’t waste words on the spec, unless there is anything unusual such as sat-nav, and air conditioning is always worth mentioning.
- Colour – A crucial buying factor for many people, 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’, a simple white will do. It is also worth mentioning whether it is a metallic finish or not.
- Condition – Honesty really is the best policy. If there is 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 is a big dent down the side.
- Price – The word ‘offers’ or ‘ono’ (or near offer) at the end of the description indicates that you are desperate to sell at any price so don’t use it. Buyers always make an offer anyway. Never put POA (price on application), that is something else which can get a buyer’s back up, they want to know what the price is to begin with and resent having to phone for more details.
- Telephone number – Obvious plus a phrase like ‘ring between 6-7pm’ means that you don’t become a prisoner to the phone, but a divert to your mobile is essential. 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.
- Owners – If you have been the only owner, or there have only been a couple in the last decade, this is another reassuring indicator for the potential purchaser.
- Warranties – Any existing guarantees, or warranties, especially if provided by the manufacturer, should be mentioned.