I’ve spent the last two years researching, testing and implementing the best strategies for posting ads on Craigslist. This ongoing experiment has led me to a significantly higher response rate (ad view, click-throughs and closed sales) over the same time period. I’m now sharing my original secrets to success with others. You can get the best guide on Craigslist Posting Service.
Tip 1. Don’t mix in with the crowd.
A Craigslist visitor must first locate your ad in an unformatted, unorganized list of hundreds. You don’t want to get lost amongst the noise – although that’s much easier said than done.
Ensure that your ad title includes key keywords your potential customers are looking for. This will ensure that users find your listing by searching for the keyword in ‘titles’ only. You can avoid confusion and obscurity by being clear with your viewers.
You can make your title standout by using at least six special characters. Here are some special characters that I recommend for spiceing up your title from the boring category list. You can add a pair or two of right arrows (Alt+ 16) or a diamond (Alt+ 4) to your keyword to draw attention. A set of asterisks*** can also work well to draw attention. These characters can be copied-pasted from this page to be added to your ad. Tip: Firefox makes it easy to post stars correctly.
Avoid words with low credibility. Craigslist users tend to be skeptical of claims that something is free. Anything that smells or sounds like a milk (cheesy) or B.S. is probably too good to true. It won’t get the best response. Craigslisters tend to be bargain hunters, so a discount coupled with a time constraint will work well. This is why you should write a compelling call to action.
– Use appropriate terminology. When you post in the real estate section it is acceptable to use industry terms, such as W/D for washer/dryer and A Space to describe the building type. It’s not okay to use terms like “ROI” (for Return On Investment) in the creative section. Most viewers don’t know this term. I used ‘Increase sales’ or Attract more customers’ to get better results.
Tip #2: When Your Audience Looks at You.
Craigslist categories are sorted by when they were submitted. This pushes the newest posts to top. Posters should aim to place their ad at the top of their category when browsing. This key is crucial for categories that receive hundreds of postings per day and less for those that receive just a few.
If you are targeting consumers who have a day job, place your ad just before lunch (local) or right before 5pm (local). Although most consumers are at work until around noon, they will be more likely to visit Craigslist after lunch because they have the time and freedom to do so.
– Place your business-to-business services between 10am & 1:30pm. This is how I promote web design services. My audience goes to work every morning, reads their emails and texts from the previous working day and then finally takes the time to search for my services around 10. The same thing happens after lunch.
Tip #3: Make your Ad Appealing.
Now that your target has clicked on your stellar ad title they are ready for battle. Now, convince them to take the next step for your business.
– A visually stimulating layout is essential. Craigslist is stuffed with plain-text ads. These are usually formatted in the default settings (Times New Roman font; text that occupies the entire width and a minimal – at most – photo gallery). Don’t be one of the many. Make your own graphics or hire a designer to make them. Your ad will look more professional if you invest in its appearance. Because you spent more time crafting a great advertisement, your viewers will be more inclined to stare at it. Craigslist has limited HTML elements that can be used to organize your ad. But with some patience and skill (or hiring a professional to do it), you could create a design that is appealing to your target audience.
The hard sale is no good. You might be tempted to sell your visitors by giving them all the reasons to buy, translating features to benefits and handling objections. But, DON’T. Craigslist users aren’t looking to be sold on by pushy ads. Personal example: I have had great success by summarizing some benefits, showing past work (on-page photos of my recent website design projects) and providing my contact information.
– Follow the theme of the title. You don’t want a title that is one thing and an advertisement that is another. Instead, follow the lead of what your title says. Visitor who clicks on the title from the category pages expects to find more. You won’t be surprised that they are so spooky. To help them naturally and easily take the next steps, expand on your title.