Opening New Doors: Posting Free Ads on Craigslist
Craigslist sees more than 50 billion page views a month. Small businesses should consider how they can best get their products and services listed for free on this local community marketplace. Here are some of our tips for posting advertisements, avoiding spam flags and not getting scammed.
Content Marketing Services for Craigslist?
If your business sells goods or offers a service, then craigslist is right up your alley. If you’ve never used craigslist, it is very much like the classified ads of an online paper. The ads may offer things for sale in the area or requests for items someone is looking to buy. Craigslist is divided into regions and communities, so businesses can target exactly the audience who will be likely to purchase their products or need their services.
Craigslist sees over 60 million US consumers visit its pages each month. Each visitor is looking to buy or sell something through the site. Since posting ads is free, businesses should be taking full opportunity to reach such a large audience at such a low cost.
How to Effectively Market Your Business on Craigslist
It is very important to realize that your posts can get flagged as spam and taken down. It takes more than one user to report your post as spam, but the exact number is known by no man (except maybe Craig himself). You could get flagged for a number of reasons, many of them are preventable:
Cranky Users – There are a lot of us out there who don’t appreciate wading through a sea of ads that don’t even come close to what we are looking for. Chances are, if you posted in the wrong section or added keywords to try to trick users into clicking on your ad (keyword stuffing), you will get flagged by at least a few users. SOLUTION: Stop trying to cheat (or start paying attention) and post where you are supposed to and with keywords that will help your ad pop up for the right audience. No posting your brand new car under “used” or “Miami beach condo.” No one likes a poster like that.
Competition – This one is a bit depressing, but there are actually competitive posters out there who will flag your ads to try to knock down the competition. Everyone hates these people – so if you are thinking about becoming one, stop right now and go find another site to ruin. SOLUTION: If you are a victim of these obnoxious brutes, just keep posting. They will eventually give up and go find a hole to live in somewhere.
You are Boring Us – If you are a business, it makes sense that you will continue to advertise your products over and over. The problem comes in when you just keep posting the same old ad. Surely you are more creative than that, right? Right. SOLUTION: Create multiple ads focusing on different products, services or aspects of your business (with different wording and keywords) and use different pictures. Don’t post the same ad within 48 hours – keep rotating your ads and add in new ones so us craigslist users don’t feel spammed.
You Sound Scary – Most users will only meet a business or person selling in a public location in their area. If you are requesting payment ahead of time, anything besides cash (or a credit card onsite) or get too nosy when we inquire about your item, then we just might get freaked out and hit the spam flag. Everyone is worried about getting mugged or scammed, so we are all following craigslist safety tips. SOLUTION: Be clear and honest about who you are and what you offer. Provide accessible contact information and be upfront with a customer about who you are and what you do when they call. Don’t be shady and we will feel much better about you and doing business with you.
Unprofessionalism – If you write poorly, then we might begin to wonder what kind of proprietor is selling the item we are looking at. Again, you don’t want to sound scary or inept. SOLUTION: Hire a writer if this is going to be a struggle for you in any way.
Alethea M is a corporate blogging guru and freelance writer for WriterAccess. She often uses interesting facts from her article research to impress friends at dinner parties. Her husband is her biggest fan — though this may be because her writing income allows her to share in bill-paying each month.