Communication skills

My Gumtree ad fail. People laughed. I learnt.

- April 29, 2019 2 MIN READ

Here’s what NOT to do if you write a Gumtree ad, writes Lucinda Lions. She explains what went wrong and how to write better ads.

I recently tried to get rid of some free, old, treated wood on Gumtree.Perhaps if it was old gumtree wood, I’d have had more success.

My ad didn’t go well, in fact, people laughed at it.

Perhaps you will too?

Here’s the ad!


We are re-landscaping our backyard, and this wood is from a deck we ripped up.


Unlike snobby, slender palings, these blocks of brawn will do the hard, supporting work without insisting on having regular sanding, painting, massages and wheatgrass smoothies.

Features and Benefits:

• Complimentary splinters

• Made from genuine wood

• Rusty, sharp nails sticking out – enjoy the danger, feel alive again!

• Probably treated, but not psychologically

• Rare, stunning colour – “Sunset poo”, also known as “Brown”

If you have a project planned for 2019, this is exactly the type of wood you want sitting around gathering dust. Or, Valentine’s Day is coming up, what better gift for your loved one?

Let’s reduce landfill together. If you can use these rare, precious items, we’d love you to have them.

It got attention, but…

I received a number of messages from lovely Gumtree-ers, like, “I wish I wanted the wood” and “your ad made my day”. But nothing along the lines of, “Gimme gimme gimme some of that sunset poo!”

What went wrong?

Like the plumber with a leaky tap, I was just too busy with paid client work to put any effort into selling my own stuff in any serious way. I learned that if I wanted to get results, I had to practice what I preach, and write my own copy in the way I do for my clients – persuasively!

How could I have made the ad better?

If I’d have bothered, I could have included:

Since that fateful, splinter-focused missive, I have since written another Gumtree ad, and the product sold within days. It’s amazing what happens when you practice what you preach!

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you have any ad-writing tips?

Here’s why you need to upgrade your Flying Solo membership pronto!

  • Share your business journey in an exclusive member profile
  • Get free lifetime access to our Going It Alone digital course
  • Participate in members-only events and experiences
  • Boost your business’ visibility with a Directory listing

$149.95 + GST
Billed annually
  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"