I’ve been using Craigslist for about three years or more. it is poorly presented, often dysfunctional, inhabited by “trolls” who like to flag stuff, is operated by nitwits who have an odd perception of what marketing means. and represents a dangerous place to put personal information of any kind.
That all said, it’s free, and anything you get for free is…(fill in the blank).
To be fair, we don’t really find CL useful for finding deals, as much as we find it useful for selling.
Advertising fundamental don’t change just because it doesn’t cost anything. We still have to have what people want. We still have to write ad copy that will get people to call. Also, there are some assumptions to consider using craigslist.
People were first attracted to cl, because it was like a giant, free garage sale where everybody listed their crap. The entire thing was organic. There were no slick html coded formats, just lines of texts and a place for pictures of whatever was for sale at the bottom.
People still expect this. They want to see low-budget, organic presentations.
My partner writes four or five lines of text into a CL ad and won’t even make the link to our website work. He leaves off the http:// or www so the link is dead. People have to copy and paste the link into their browser. How stupid, I told him. You’ve got to make it “easy” for people to get to our website.
I put a beautiful html coded page into CL, with live links and pictures.
Guess who gets more hits? Guess which ads, people call the most on?
If you said the “four or five lines of text and a dead link” you win the prize.
If we really need to sift out the curious, and the disqualify the not-so-serious, then we should add more information to our ads to keep the time wasters at bay. After all, we really don’t get paid to answer the phone, we get paid to close on deals. So, it makes sense to focus our time on the best prospects.
BTW, I think this is why using an outgoing message with lots of additional details about our property is a fairly good way to sift out the curious and not serious and discourage them from pushing “zero” and getting us to pick up the phone.
Anyway, we have to have what people want and expect. Craigslist users don’t go there to find slick ads. They go to find low-budget, poorly written ads by regular people that don’t represent a threat.
Try this for giggles:
Putting three or four short lines about your property along with a non-hyper-linked web page url that you maintain for you property on craigslist.
At the same time, put your beautiful html coded ad, postlets.com, or use.com or whatever, for a different, but similar property on CL and see which ad draws better responses the fastest.
Here’s a sample ad my partner uses all the time that gets calls…
WE BUY HOUSES CASH
any coundtion or situation
call Jim 951 XXX 0109
Notice the misspelling! It’s on purpose. He even misspells the name of the area we’re advertising in.
We learned to misspell words and/or include off the wall marks like these in our headlines #,@,#,$,%,^ because it catches reader’s eyes and doesn’t detract from our message.
& We Buy Houses Cash (Sacrmento, CA)
Anyway, hope this stirs your imagination and reminds that it’s not just the medium, it’s also the message.