Posting ads on Craigslist is not only cost effective, but it also only needs to take a minute or two of your day. Once you have all your ads actively running, all you need to do is renew or repost your ad.
For starters, most of the time your ads will have a renew link in which you can bring an actively running ad to the top of the search results. This table is displayed once you log in. Your active ads will be highlighted in green with the newest postings being at the top. Each day, all you need to do is log in and renew the bottom green ad (the oldest active ad).
To prevent spam robots from auto-posting, Craigslist will periodically remove the renew link from some of your ads. When this happens, you will have to click the ‘delete’ link and repost the ad. This involves a couple of extra steps but will also not take more than a couple of minutes or two.
What is really nice about this feature is that Craigslist automatically stores copies of your ads for you. This is especially handy when using html formatted ads. After creating an ad for the first time, it’s still best to save it as a backup on you computer. To do this, simply open Notepad, copy the html code, then save the file. This is useful in keeping a backup copy of your ads. You can also go Edit/Modify page, copy & paste your ad, and make changes in the future. This is much better than having to start each ad from scratch.
Each Ad Must be Unique
If you have multiple ads running at once, be sure each ad is unique. If you post an ad that is very similar to another ad you already have running, Craigslist will not allow you to run it. Their server checks for duplicate content.
If you run into this problem, I would recommend by focusing on your different products and different target markets. For example, imagine you’re a tax accountant. You can have one ad targeted for individual taxpayers who need their income taxes prepared. You can craft another ad targeted to small businesses for accounting services. From here, you can offer an ad that reveals how taxpayers can deal with IRS problems. Think of different problems and different needs that your client base has. Then, draft an ad that specifically meets those needs.
Once you have created a collection of at least 5 ads, the hard work is done. The initial effort you put into these is critical. You should spend a significant amount of time drafting and revising your ads. Once they are done well, all you have left to do on a regular basis is to renew them. This is where persistence pays off. People who post consistently will get great results.
Creating quality html craigslist ads doesn’t require you to know any html or host your own website. Keep in mind that Craigslist will not allow you to upload images in certain categories. Photobucket and Classified Ad Wizard can easily step in and fill the void.
Simply create a free account on Photobucket’s website. It’s fairly straightforward and user friendly. Once you create your account, you can start uploading your photos. If you’re uploading a lot of images, you can hold down the control key to select multiple images.
After your images have been uploaded, you can then mouseover the images from the dashboard. You will then be given four options. If you’re using the wizard, you only need to click the “direct link” field. This is the location (url) of the image. Once, clicked, the image is automatically copied to your clipboard.
From that point, all you need to do is click the image icon in the Classified Ad Wizard template that you’re working on. Simply right-click & paste the link into the popup box. Your image should now be inside the ad.
You can also make your images clickable. That is, if someone clicks on the image, he/she would then be taken to your website. This is especially handy when you embed a button into your image and are offering a free download. To accomplish this, make sure you have clicked on the image. A border should be displayed with the options to resize the image. Then, click the chain link above the add. Enter your website’s url into the popup box. Now your image is also a link inside your ad.
Remember, Craigslist does not allow you to wrap text around your images. Their server will strip out the styling that makes this happen. Instead, you can put the image in the right sidebar assuming you’re using a two column template. You can also use images that are wide.
I constantly get skeptical responses when I recommend that business owners advertise on Craigslist. First of all, advertising on Craigslist is completely free and the process of posting (and re-posting) only takes about a couple minutes a day.
The perception that Craigslist only attracts low end customers and cheapskates is wrong. Business owners will often say “I tried that already. It didn’t bring in any quality customers.” When I see one of their ads, the problem is almost always because the marketer didn’t put any effort into their ad. Often there are misspelled words and the whole message is in plain text with everything clumped into a single paragraph. Hardly an effort that would deserve any success.
The benefits you get out of running your ads (anywhere, not just on Craigslist) is a direct impact on the effort you put into constructing it.
If you’re still skeptical about Craigslist buyers being “low-lifes”, I will list the demographic facts for you:
- 24% have incomes between 30 to 60k
- 29% have incomes between 60 and 100k
- 32% have incomes over $100k
- 44% have attended college
- 16% have graduate level degrees
- 46% of visitors are between 18 and 34
- 35% are between 35 and 49
The news media loves to publicize each time a tragedy or something negative happens. However, people who only deal locally and in accordance with Craigslist’s terms of service seldom have any problems. Most fraud incidences occur with selling items to people who are not local and involve payment systems such as Western Union.
Craigslist is no more dangerous than anywhere else if you use it properly. In the physical world, being somewhere after midnight is generally more dangerous than if you were at that same location in the middle of the afternoon. The same principal applies on the web. If you are dealing locally, you should make sure you are in a neutral, safe, public place when meeting someone for the first time.
You should also never include your email address in your ads. Craigslist already embeds an email reply service that hides your email address. Although you will get a spam email through this occasionally, they are far less common than if you list your email somewhere publicly on the web. There are software programs that scan the web looking for email addresses. So, be careful where you list your email.
It is also important to note that your most serious customers will call. An individual who only emails is less likely to take any action when it comes to buying your product or service. Many times, they use email as being an easy way to shop around for the cheapest price. It’s vital that you display your phone number in bold at the top and bottom of your ad, especially if it’s long and users have to scroll down to read the entire message.
In the services section, Craigslist does not allow users to upload photos to their server. However, this doesn’t prevent you from using images. In fact, you can create dynamic, attractive ads that will easily stand out from your competitors. You can also leverage your social media efforts with Classified Ad Wizard’s social media template.
Before we jump into how we will construct our html ads, it’s important that you have taken some time to draft your content. Putting effort into creating the content of your ad will pay off. It takes more time initially. But, you can re-use the same ad to repost every few days. You ad’s headline needs to offer the user to click on your ad. Capital letters work well to make you ad stand out on a long list. You can also put in a couple special characters at the beginning and/or the end of a headline.
For the main body of your ad, you should include some bullet points. And, you should avoid long sentences and paragraphs. Make it easy for your potential buyers/customers to read.
You should also spend some time to understand the true benefits of your product/service. These do not focus just on the product and its features. But, rather focuses on what the customer is trying to accomplish. This is commonly referred to as “selling the sizzle not the steak.”
Now, lets use the social media template inside the Classified Ad Wizard. On the first screen, you simply enter the website information (url) for each social media service you want your customers to see. You can include just one or all of these options. Your choices are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Youtube. The services you don’t want you can just leave blank. If you don’t know what url to use, then click on the question mark next to the text field. The link is ultimately your choice. For example, for YouTube, you can link to your channel page or a single video.
After you add the social media services you want, click next. The wizard will automatically create the social media buttons for you.
This is where you can add your content. Filler content has been put in here to show you the recommended formatting. But, you’re free to format your ad however you want. Only the social media buttons in which you have included your link are shown.
Photos can be added two different ways. You can use photos from your own website. Click on the image icon and apop-up box will be displayed asking for the location of the photo. If you have your own website, go ahead and load it in a different tab. If you’re a Firefox user, you can simply right-click and select “copy image location” (Internet Explorer users: right-click on image -> select ‘properties -> copy the address). The paste the address (url) in the Image Url field in the pop-up box.
An alternative method to adding photos is through free photo sharing sites such as Flickr. This works perfectly if you don’t have a website. Simply sign up for a free account and upload an image. If you are using Flickr, make sure that you click on “view all sizes”.
You ad should feature a call to action in both the top and bottom portions of the ad. For many local businesses, this will simply be a phone number. Once you have finished, click the “Get Code” button below the text editor. Then, copy and paste the generated code into your Craigslist or Backpage ad.