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I recently read an article by Lenny Rudow from Boats.com regarding how to write an effective internet ad that will help you sell more boats in less time. Are you curious to find out how? Well to start out with.

1) Hook them with a headline. Consider this lesson number 1, the headline and first sentence of an ad are your best shot at drawing buyers in and getting them interested, but there’s a lot more to writing an effective ad than merely generating interest. You have to educate and more important excite the buyer. “We have found time and time again that the better the listing, the better the results” says Lex Raas, president of marketing, charter and special initiatives for Marine Max. “Many times a first impression is all you have with a customer and if that boat listing is our only shot, then we’d better make the most of it” Raas also feels that today’s buyer is well educated.

“Customers are coming in well informed about our inventory and the marketplace because they have done their homework. Websites like Boats.com offer customers a chance to get up and personal with the boat before they have even seen it, through photos, videos and the information entered on the listing”

2) Put your strongest selling point first. After drawing the buyer in, immediately start feeding them information that incorporates the strongest selling point or a unique feature of the boat. Something that’s likely to get the buyer excited. One example comes by way of a Bay Yacht Sales listing for a Sea Ray 630. The first sentence read “Rare two stateroom model, the only one on the west coast” Immediately anyone who lives on or near the west coast and wants the two stateroom version of this boat is going to be very interested. Many other ads would simply read unique model or limited availability, which might sound nice, but doesn’t give the reader as much information or a sense of urgency.

3) Make use of Bulleted lists. Another tactic used in this and many other successful ads is the use of bulleted lists. Condensing simple points into a bulleted lists such as recent upgrades or extra electronics allows the reader of your ad to gain a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time.

4) Use proper netiquette. While your feeding buyers this information you also need to treat them with respect and always keep internet etiquette (“netiquette”) in mind. Most importantly don’t shout at the reader by using all caps through the entire ad. Although this may seem like nitpicking, according to Miles Tinker a professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota who studied how eye movements and reader interpretation relates to font, people find capital letters less legible and tend to read them letter by letter instead of word by word as they do with lower case print. In other words, writing an ad in all caps, not only risks annoying readers it also physically slows them down, a sure-fire way to leave someone with a negative feeling when you want to leave them with a positive one. There are a few other netiquette issues to keep in mind, inserting too many bolded words, colored fonts and exclamation points can also do more harm than good. Use them but be judicious.

5) Don’t forget the specs. Now that you have the bulk of your ad written, you have grabbed your readers, and you have excited and educated them without annoying or slowing them down, it’s time to fill out all the blanks. Specifications count. Yes prospective buyers can check on the specs for virtually any model of boat elsewhere on the web, buy why would you want to drive them away from your listing? It’s true that gathering and imputing them takes time and extra effort on your part, but a buyer will also find it aggravating if they can’t get all of the information they want in one place, at the same time. On top of that missing specs can lead to mistaken assumptions, fuel capacity for example can vary from one year to another in the same model of boat. For some buyers, the difference could be a deal killer, so make sure they have all the information they need to make the right call.

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