It’s not very often that powerful marketing tools are offered to the masses for free.  Whether you are looking to sell a vehicle, real estate or furniture or offer cleaning or childcare services, Craigslist is an extremely valuable marketing platform that should be included in your digital marketing campaign.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the power of this highly trafficked site, consider that 60 million Americans use Craigslist each month and that the site ranks in the top 50 of most visited sites worldwide (comScore).

Convinced you should be using Craigslist to market your business or product?  Then read below so you can begin posting ads for your [rental] today! 

10 Craigslist Marketing Tips 

Catchy Title

The title of your post is undoubtedly the most important component of your ad.  Be clear and descriptive when including price and key details of your product or service and avoid using too many characters such as exclamation points or anything that might seem “spammy”. 

Keyword Rich Text

Most users filter before searching making keywords very important.  Keywords should be used through the title and body of your ad. 

Keep it Simple

Craigslist sees heavy HTML code as a sign of spam or fraudulent posts.  Keep your ad mostly text based with simple code only and working in creative bolding. 

Include Pictures

While Craigslist users prefer text ads, they also love pictures.  Many times, visitors will filter to exclude posts without images.  Use the photo uploader provided by the site, or upload images to your own site and embed.  (This is also useful for getting your images above the fold.) 

Include a Link

Somewhere in the text of your ad, include a link to your website.  This link should not go to your homepage – instead link directly to a specific product page. 

Post Often

It has become widely accepted Craigslist practice to post and re-post often – in extreme cases, multiple times daily in or der to stay on the first page of results.  Be Warned:  Craigslist policy states that the same ad may not be re-posted within a 48 hour window.  If you do so, your ad will not show within search results – known as “ghosting.” 

Delete Old Ads

Once 48 hours has passed, you may post a similar ad, but remember to delete your previous post to avoid being flagged for removal. 

Use Varied Ads

To avoid being marked as spam and flagged for removal, it is helpful to use varied ads.  Do not use duplicate content, switch up the title, etc.  It’s helpful to have multiple variations of your ad ready in advance which will make posting  throughout the week a very simple and efficient process. 

Track Results

Keep track of which versions of your ads are getting more clicks.  There are many Craigslist tracking services, but he most popular tracking service is Craigslist Ad Tracker, which offers free and premium account options. 

Test

Use A/B testing to create the best possible performing ad.  To get started, post and ad for your product or service and track the results over a given period of time.  When you’re ready to re-post the ad, make sure this newer version incorporates a few subtle changes (e.g. tweak only the title or one component of the ad), keeping the rest of the ad as similar to the original version as possible.  Once posted, be sure to track the results over a specific time period and then compare the results of the new version to the results of your original to determine which one generated more click-throughs to your website and ultimately more inquires. 

With a little preparation and consistent posting and testing strategy, Craigslist can be an effective source of clicks and leads for your business at little or no cost. 

Reprinted with permission of the Wisconsin Apartment Association News.