Top 6 things to remember about crafting a used car ad

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A good used car ad will not only catch a buyer's eye, it will facilitate the sale. Image: Flickr / ilamont / CC-BY

An effective used car ad is one that sells the vehicle and does so quickly. The best used car ads create the right impression so people who look at the vehicle see what they expect to see.

1 – Avoid generalities

General terms like “awesome” or “loaded” are not helpful to people who are looking to buy a car. Generalities are skipped over by most car buyers and do nothing but fill up space. Ads that are too long will lose attention, so skip the generalities and keep your advertisement specific.

2 – Let photographs do the talking

Photographs will say much more about the vehicle you are selling than words ever will. Take photographs in the daytime, of both the inside and outside of the vehicle. Take detail photographs of the engine, any dents or damage and the upholstery. If the place you are listing allows only for a few photographs, put more online and have them available for interested buyers.

3 – Name a starting price

Even though used car prices are usually negotiable, you should name a starting price in your advertisement. If you are willing to negotiate, then put “obo” or “b/o” to indicate “or best offer.” If you are not willing to negotiate on the price, say so as well by adding the word “firm” to the price.

4 – Be honest

If the car has dents or dings, or needs mechanical work, be honest about it. It is much better to have a buyer know what they are getting into than to have an issue after the purchase. “Reliable” means a vehicle that has few mechanical issues. “Clean” means that the interior and body of the vehicle are both clean and in good repair. “Mechanic’s Special” means that the vehicle needs work but has good bones. “Beater” or “beater with a heater” means the car is not in great condition, but does run for everyday running around. Most buyers will run a vehicle history report, and you do not want them to be surprised.

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5 – Make it personal

If at all possible, make the car ad personal. If you love that the vehicle gets 35 miles per gallon on the freeway, say so. If you’ve maintained the vehicle very carefully, highlight that. Highlight modifications, recent repairs or anything about the car that you love.

6 – Use proper grammar

The spelling and grammar in your advertisement set the tone for your interactions with potential car buyers. Using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation sets a positive tone that will follow through the rest of your interactions. If you know that you do not have great grammar or spelling, then ask someone else to go over your ad before you post it.

Sources

Cars.com
AutoTrader
Auto Dealer Monthly

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