The Power of Craigslist

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craigslist_blogDid you know that Craigslist generates more than 20 billion page views per month, making it the 7th overall most trafficked website in the world? Many sales associates take advantage of Craigslist as a listing resource, but they aren’t using it effectively.

Craigslist isn’t like eBay or other auction sites that charge you to post an item and takes a percentage of the selling price. It’s free to have an account, and you aren’t charged for posting or selling a home, so it’s no wonder that agents across the country use this tool to augment their selling power.

Here are some tips for using Craigslist successfully:

Creating a Craigslist Ad

Typically, the selling process looks something like this: You post a home to Craigslist, the lead finds your post and the lead contacts you for more information. While this might be one way to gain a new lead for your listing, it’s not the best way.

First, you should always direct the customer to your agent website, specifically to your listing on your website. Your agent website allows them to look at more listings than just your own, and they will have your contact information readily available to call or email you.

Want to create a great ad?

  • Start with a gripping headline. Focus on features, benefits and other points that will grab a buyer’s attention. Remember, the headline is the only thing a visitor sees on Craigslist when looking through the listings their search brought up. They don’t see a photo unless they click on the listing.
  • Consider keywords. Keep in mind how people are searching for properties. Put yourself in their shoes and see if you can find your property. You will want to include zip code, relevant counties, neighborhood points of interest, number of bedrooms and other relevant items.
  • Use short sentences and bulleted lists. Buyers want to get a quick feel for the property, not an in-depth analysis. Plus, you want it to be a teaser, so that they will want to visit your website.
  • Include a photo. Remind them that they can view more photos by visiting your website.
  • Use a template. BHGRE Metro Brokers agents can use the DigitalMarketingCenter in the Greenhouse to create a Craigslist ad template that looks great.
  • Follow the GREC guidelines. Make sure to include all of the information required by the Georgia Real Estate Commission (GREC). This includes your brokerage name and company phone number.

This should help you create a great ad that will get some views.

How Often Should I Post Ads?

If you’ve ever used Craigslist in the past, you’ll know that the most recently posted ads appear first when you do a search. While it’s important to stay near the top of the list, it’s also important not to “spam” the system. You’ll get passed over by searchers and possibly flagged for misuse.

I would suggest posting ads no more than four times daily. You should also post only 1-2 listings at a time. If you have a ton of listings, it becomes hard to manage.

The best times to post are between 7 and 8am in the morning, at noon and between 6 and 7pm in the evening. These are the times that buyers are most likely to look on Craigslist for a home.

If you follow this advice, it should create a small, but constant stream of posts that you can manage and track.

Other Ad Ideas, Beyond Just Listings

There are several methods that you can use to generate leads on Craigslist beyond using a typical listing post.

For example, let’s say that you list – or farm – homes in your neighborhood “Sample Community”. You might want to consider creating a post with the title “Great Homes in Sample Community in Atlanta”, including some basic information about the community in the description and linking to a listing results page on your agent website with all of the available listings in the neighborhood.

You can use this same method for lake homes, foreclosures, short sales and more. As long as you aren’t specifically listing another agent’s home in the ad, you are free to link to available listings on your website.

For even better results, you can create a custom page on your website with information on the community or niche that you’re trying to sell (and link directly to that page)!

Craigslist DON’Ts

  • AVOID ALL CAPS! This screams look at me and FLAG me.
  • Don’t use the word “List” as in “List of all the foreclosures”… Also “Listings”. This goes against the tennets of Craigslist.
  • Don’t over-post. You should only do about four posts daily max. If you over-post, you look like a spammer and will be overlooked and likely flagged.

Are My Ads Generating Interest?

While the amount of leads you’re receiving from an ad is a surefire method of telling how effective your Craiglist ad is, you also want to see the amount of people that are viewing your ad and not clicking through.

I strongly suggest signing up for Craigslistadtracker.com. You get a free one month trial, and it gives you all the information you could want: Number of views, clicks, etc. With this tool, you can see which ads are most effective and which ones need to be worked on.

Do you use Craigslist for your listings? How has your experience been with Craigslist? What are your tips? Please comment below!

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2 Responses to “The Power of Craigslist”

  1. jeff claeson Says:

    Well one thing is for sure with craigslist. If my wife ever leaves me there will be no shortage of ladies from Russia and Bulgaria who are just dying to marry me.

  2. Jody Steinberg Says:

    BE CONSIDERATE! If you are posting FOUR times a day (!!), which is just short of spam, or even Once a day, PLEASE remove all prior posts! Also, be honest about posting “by agent” vs. “by owner.”
    One of the reasons we must post frequently is that so many people post over and over and over. It makes it hard for searchers to.filter through the junk and find the good posts – especially frustrating when agents are helping our clients cull the listings for a good find.

    Also, INCLUDE a phone number in the body of the post! So many copy-cat ads will reproduce your post with a different email at a lower price and hope that they can find a naive buyer who will send them money based on the ad and a direct email link. If you include a phone number, it will not get deleted from the copy cat ad, and ultimately, someone will call and alert you that they ran into a scam listing related to your property.

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