Newspapers are still a viable means for selling a used car. Just make the right choice when it comes to the newspaper you use. Otherwise, you’re going to be throwing good money after bad.
Do you have a fairly common used car you want to sell? Your best bet is going to be a smaller daily newspaper. Why? Your ad is not going to get lost among lots of other ads for the same vehicle. There’s actually little reason to post an ad for a 2005 Pontiac G6 in a large newspaper that has access to a website like cars.com with its listings.
Instead, put your ad in your regional daily newspaper. The aim is not always to reach the widest market. You want to reach the market that is going to buy your car.
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. There are three Pontiac G6s for sale. One is 10 miles away. Another is 25 miles and the third is 50 miles. A perusal of my Sunday classifieds unveiled that same scenario. Frankly, with all three roughly the same price, I’m going to buy the car that’s roughly in my neighborhood.
There is another advantage to advertising in smaller publications: ads run longer for a similar (if not lower) price. Here’s one example from two Connecticut publications where I live:
Journal Inquirer (Manchester, CT) - Automotive Sure Deal - Sure Deal Classifieds $41.50 - for items priced $1000 or over. 5 lines for 30 days, includes a photo if provided. Private party advertisers only selling autos or merchandise, no refunds. $4 each additional line.
Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) - 7 Days Print - 14 Online - Renew Print - $45 - 4 lines, 7 days in the Courant - One free photo in print ad - Expanded ad on cars.com for 14 days - One free 7-day print renewal - Add'l print lines available for $11.35 per line - For private party customers only - 3 of your photos on cars.com.
The Journal Inquirer ad is the better value because the ad runs for longer, at a lower price, with an additional line of space. The downside is there is no online component to the ad, but there are also not a lot of waste eyeballs look at your used car ad.
One final piece of advice: stick with paid newspapers that people have delivered to their homes or offices. Specialty publications that you find at your Chinese takeout restaurant are good options for advertising your used car.