By: Chad Bell
Craigslist can be a great source for new customers once you learn to create and manage your ads effectively. Zen Den’s Craigslist ads prompt at least 25 calls each week and the majority of these calls become solid leads.
So how can you generate a solid stream of leads from your CL ads? This article outlines what we do here at Zen Den to create effective ads.
1. Look at Other Ads – and Take Notes
Pay special attention to those ads that are offering similar products or services to yours. This will help you generate ideas for your ads as you learn what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. There is a lot of poor marketing and advertising out there. If you pay attention, you can avoid becoming a contributor.
2. Gain Ad Presence – Create as Many Craigslist Accounts as You Can
The frequency at which you are able to post your ads increases with the number of accounts you accumulate. Keep them at the top of the daily posts. In order to post an ad in the services section of CL, you must create an account and verify it with a phone number. The problem is you can only have one account associated with each number, so you will have to get creative here if you want to have more than one.
3. Create Many Unique Ads
CL prevents you from posting identical ads. But don’t consider this as a drawback, as it allows you to experiment with your ad copy. Take advantage of this feature by taking different approaches to pitch your products or services and then post these ads in separate categories. Alternatively, if you have little time or resources, you can still create several ads for each of your CL accounts by slightly tweaking the copy of your original.
4. Know Your Audience
Create a great title for your ad by including words that Craigslist users use in their search. Don’t use all caps, I know its tempting, but I feel that it is more effective to only capitalize the first letter of each word. And avoid unnecessary use of keyboard characters.
We’ve all seen this before: “!!!!!!!THE BEST COMPUTER REPAIR!!!!!!”
Now compare that to: “Quality and Reliable Computer Repair Service”
One of these communicates professionalism – I’ll let you decide which.
5. Give Your Ad a Make-Over
Utilize the images and HTML options for your ads. You can easily give your ads more pop by changing the font size, type, and color. More importantly, including your business logo and other relevant images from your website will strengthen your brand recognition and identity.
6. Go Old-School
If you want serious inquiries, then you have to encourage them to call, not just send an email. We learned this the hard way from the 50+ emails/day we used to receive inquiring only “how much for a website”. We found that it was almost always a total waste of time to respond to this type of inquiry, so why not eliminate it if you can?
Check HIDE in the ‘reply to’ field when creating ads. Then, prominently display your phone number in the ad. You can also include a clickable image that links to your website, and create a contact form that requires a name and phone number. So, if a visitor wants to contact you they have 2 options: call or fill out the contact form on your site. These tactics serve to weed out non-serious inquiries. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity.
7. Include Keywords in the Footer
When creating our ads, we first brainstormed a bank of keywords using tools such as the Google Keyword Tool and Wonder Wheel. After determining which words CL users are likely to use when searching for web services, we reduced the font size and then placed them in the footer of our ad. By incorporating these tags, our ads will get caught in a much wider search net than it would have otherwise.
One of the huge upsides to Craigslist is that it doesn’t cost you anything. But along with that comes the downside; greater user-volume. In other words, you’ve got competition. So, whether you are selling cars, offering massage, or teaching music, your ads need to stand out from the crowd. Take the extra time to create better ads and the effort will pay off. As always, if you have anything to add, agree or disagree with anything we write here at Zen News, leave us a comment!