Since its launch in 1995 Craigslist has quietly become the largest online classifieds website in the world with a regional presence in 190 cities and across 35 countries. Each month over 10 million people log on to the 7th most popular website to buy and sell just about everything. From real estate to furniture, promoting services such as contracting, house cleaning and even babysitting, Craigslist is the one spot where anyone can connect regionally to fill a need.
As its popularity has continued to increase, so have the possibilities for vendors large and small to market their wares on Craigslist. What’s the big attraction? For the most part Craigslist is 100% free to post and search. Only job postings in San Francisco, L.A and New York City cost a small fee to post. Otherwise, Craigslist is an open free source for new targeted customers, ripe for the picking, just waiting for your business to give them what they want.
Craigslist is a regionally-based website that truly promotes community involvement. However, you can post in any of the available metros and multiple metros as well. The trick is in designing an ad that gets people attention, getting on a regular posting schedule, following the rules (or at least not overtly breaking them) and searching for new customers daily.
Simplicity in ad design is paramount and it matches the vibe that Craigslist likes to attract—peer-to-peer, real human interaction. It lacks the commercial aspects that add fluff and confusion in exchange for simple ads, most posted by real folks. Design your ad to fit into that scheme is key to a successful campaign.
Get into the habit of posting often on Craigslist and hit multiple metros with different ads to get more reach (if you business can support it). It’s free to post so what do you have to lose!
Understanding Craigslist rules are fairly simple as they are openly published. They are super picky about what you can post, but there are exceptions like livestock and anything illegal (drugs, guns, etc.). One of the major rules that we see as a marketing rule more than a terms of service rule is to post in the category that best corresponds with your product type. This ensures your ad will reach the best target without adding to useless clutter.
Over 8 million people post monthly on Craigslist and that number grows every day. Don’t just sit back and post ads, answer ads seeking your products and services as well.
Craigslist is one of the best ways for every business, large and small to find a new voice online for little more than elbow grease.
It is only natural that Craigslist has to grow and protect its integrity and reputation over the years. Since it had begun to sniff out advertisers employing unauthorised black-hat tactics and simply non-mainstream ads, it has recently introduced new tools to wrangle loan scammers, prostitution peddlers, and just-plain greedy marketers.
The Craigslist staff are even working with the police to keep tabs on possible cyber-crimes and potential offenders in its ad network, so much so that “innocent bystanders” can get flagged in a situation not unlike that of getting your AdSense account suspended for the slightest reason.
Thus it becomes ever more important on the part of online marketers to assume responsiblity and best advertising practices without saying…which leads to the question, “What should I know and do to be a highly esteemed advertiser in Craigslist?” There are some well-known rules:
1) Do NOT post exact ad in multiple cities/categories. Make sure your ad fits that category you’re posting in.
2) Use different e-mail addresses if you’re going to post several ads.
3) Do NOT abuse Craigslist by over-posting. Post 2-3 ads (reword them a bit), then wait 3 days before posting again. If you can’t post, try again in a few days because you may be banned temporarily.
4) Don’t waste money on so-called Craigslist auto-posting software. You only take a larger step closer to getting banned.
With all that being said, we found a great book that can help you to become a reputable and profitable Craigslist poster:
Shanon Lewis’s “The Unofficial Craigslist Book” includes dozens of tips for marketing via Craigslist, including ideas for hot products and services that sell big on the site. She has written it in a way that appeals to all businessmen and women of just about any industry, and anyone can use her strategies to get better exposure for their businesses, better sales conversion and build strong, powerful relationships regionally. Shanon can show you insider tricks beyond mere posting of ads.