How To Write and Answer An Ad

by Harlan L. Jacobsen

So you're all set to meet someone new, interesting and exciting. One of the best ways to find those exciting singles is with a personal ad. It's not the fastest way in the world to get something going, and you sometimes have to meet dozens of people to find just the right one, but it's still a good way to do it.

But, what if you write an ad and nobody answers? It has happened, you know. Some ads get dozens of replies; others get little or no response.

HOW DO YOU WRITE AN EFFECTIVE PERSONAL AD? It isn't as easy as it looks, but the following check list will help you find the people you want:

BE CLEAR. Figure out just who you want to meet and for what type of relationship. Do you want a long-term, one-person exclusive relationship? Some one just for dates? Are you looking for marriage? Companionship, someone to go dancing with? Pin it down and then say specifically what you want.

BE TRUTHFUL Everybody's going to try to present themselves in the most favorable light, but there is a moment of truth when you meet. Don't lie or exaggerate about yourself or your appearance. There's nothing more disappointing than finding out that the "attractive, sexy girl" weighs 350 lbs. and looks like she crawled out from under a flat rock, or the "handsome guy" whose face would stop a clock. If you lie about yourself, you're just wasting your time and everyone else's.

BE SPECIFIC. You can figure that anyone reading this paper is single and is interested in meeting other singles just like you are. What specific things do you do, what do you like that is different that might help attract the kind of people you like? It's the differences that make the difference; be sure to put them in your ad.

BE IMAGINATIVE. Don't put down "boy wants to meet girl." Why else would you run a personal ad? Find a new or amusing or different way to get your message across, to make your ad stand out from the rest. Give people some idea of what you're like by the way you write your ad. Be original if you can. Give people a reason to like you or want to meet you.

RUN YOUR AD LONGER. The ads that run for 4 issues usually get 4 times the replies over those that run only once. There is no way to know that the people you want to meet will read a specific issue of this newspaper, or that they will feel like answering an ad that time. Run your ad as long as you can and you'll just keep getting answers. Run it just once or twice and you could miss who you want.

ANSWER. If somebody answers your ad, answer them back promptly. Don't leave them hanging. Even if you don't want to meet them, at least give them the courtesy of telling them "no thanks." And, if they send you a picture, send it back. It may be the only one they have.

HOW TO ANSWER ADS. Okay, now let's turn around and talk about answering an ad that attracts you. It's easier than writing an ad, but the same guidelines apply to writing replies.

Send a photo. When answering, we can almost guarantee that a photo will get you many times more responses from answers you send in than a regular letter alone. If you want results with less wasted time on the wrong ones, that photo really makes a difference. If you're attractive, it helps even more.

Remember this is your only shot. If you don't come across as the kind of person the advertiser wants to meet, you're out of luck, so don't hold back. Tell it like it is. All of it. In a letter, take two or three pages if you need to. By the time they finish reading, they should feel as if they know you and they should like you.

The single greatest mistake you can make in answering a personal is to make it too short, such as "Saw your ad and I'm interested. Give me a call at.." That's really exciting, isn't it? It really makes you want to rush right to the phone, doesn't it?

Remember that the advertiser (if they wrote a good ad) probably got dozens of responses. They'll be busy just acknowledging them, and they're only going to answer seriously the few that turn them on. If your reply doesn't arouse some interest, they'll be in no rush to respond. After all, they paid good money to try to find the singles they want to meet, and they are going to expect to meet some. If you're not it, somebody else will be.

We hope this advice will help. We like to see people getting together and enjoying themselves. That's one of the nicer things about publishing a paper like ours. Good luck and good hunting.  


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