Effective Advertising On Trade Bulletin Boards

Trade Bulletin Boards are very effective in reaching right audience. Whether you are buying, selling or offering some service - trade BBS can get you instant response at zero cost. However, quality response depends a great deal on your advertisement copy - how effectively it conveys your message.

The goal of this article is to share with you my experience in writing what is considered effective advertisement on the on-line "Offer/Demand" Trade Bulletin Boards. Most of these BBS are free and so attract hundreds of advertisements from all over the world everyday. How to make your advertisement stand out among so many Demands and Offers ? Here are a few tips:

Let us keep in mind that our on-line audience are trigger happy busy people. They love to hit the delete button. They are intelligent and bright so we are not going to insult their intelligence. They hate words associated with spam like: Get-Rich-Quick, Earn Easy Money, The Best Product On The Net, Let Me Show You etc.. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be creative in writing your ads.

Short and Sweet:

Your ad has only few seconds to live on those people monitors or die for ever. So we are not going to write a long love story. Our ad should just serve to trigger action (response). No more no less. We wish people to visit our websites looking for more detailed information or better contact us for the same.

Let us start by writing the Ad: In my opinion, the ingredients of any good ad shall cover:


30-40 characters (not words) that indicates the content of the ad without using spam related attention-grabbers similar to those in get-rich-quick ads. Write about key benefits of your product/ service in few words. Some of the words that work well in the subject are: Quality, Reliable, Serious, Competitive, Effective, Free, Your, How, Secrets, Improve and Discover. However, this is only a suggestion, you only know the keywords that generate curiosity in reader. Think of yourself as the reader and critically judge the words. Remember, the SUBJECT is the most important aspect of your ad.

Body (copy):

To be short. 5-10 lines of 55 characters each. Offer/Sell: The body shall cover the most important benefits related to your product/Service. So think Benefits ! Ask yourself: What do my buyers get out of purchasing my product? Mention the benefits not only the description and details of your product.


The body shall cover the exact specifications (if possible) of the required product. It should also contain quantity, packing, delivery period, payment terms and target price (if possible). If you prefer products of particular origin/ brand etc, please mention that to avoid irrelevant responses.

Misc (miscellaneous):

The body could be any of the two above cases or just a clear written announcement.

In all above three cases, it is recommended that the ad ends with a Call For Action like: "Visit our web site for more details" or "Write us for more information and prices" etc.. You must tell the readers what you want them to do. Remember to provide your complete contact details.

In general every ad should contain 4 elements - AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.

A few more ground rules:

  • Prefer multi-post services that re-post to BBS, Newsgroups and ETO

  • Stay focusased - do not write unrelated facts. Stick to a single topic in each ad copy. If necessary, place separate ads for separate products.

  • Write in a lucid, simple manner so that even a stranger can understand what you wish to buy or sell. Avoid flowery, verbose sentences. Before posting, ask an outsider to read your ad copy for comprehension.

  • Always write down your complete contact details (company, contact person, mailing address, tel, fax, e-mail, web-site URL). Absence of contact details may be perceived as lack of seriousness by readers.

  • Do not write history of your company. Leave that to a page in your web-site for history lovers.

  • Be careful about spellings and grammatical mistakes. It communicates a negative image about the company.

  • Do not hesitate to re-post your ad after 15 days in case it does not generate enough response.

  • Reply to all responses within 24 hours.

Lastly, never write advertisements on-line, you are likely to make mistakes. We should keep in mind that ethical on-line FREE advertising takes lots of time. Please prepare your ad material with care, examine them critically taking as much time as required and save these in a word-processor file. Simply Cut and paste the ad at the BBS.

Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol II, Issue 4; June 19' 2001

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at amit@infobanc.com )

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