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The Perfect Craigslist Ad?

by Jeff Logue on November 3, 2011 · 10 comments

  

According to site analytics, 63,216,431 people used Craigslist in the month of September. Based on this information, do you think there may be a slight possibility that you could generate additional leads and sales using Craigslist real estate marketing strategies for your business?

Although the answer to this question should be a resounding “yes,” there is certainly a right and wrong way to use this platform. Unfortunately, with our years of experience working with agents, investors and brokers around the country, we have found that many professionals are not initially implementing this technique correctly.

Here’s the major issue we have found. Since Craigslist closely resembles a form of traditional classifieds based advertising, a majority of users choose to utilize this real estate marketing tactic by simply running basic ads with no or a very poor call to action. We cannot expect visitors to contact us directly. Instead, online marketing strategies require us to be proactive instead.

A Craigslist Case Study

For instance, if you were to spend 15 minutes scanning over local postings on Craigslist, you would typically find a lot of listings that rattle off a bunch of features and benefits of a particular home, with perhaps a link to a website or property search tool.

However, the problem with this approach is that 95% of the population is doing the same exact thing! Unless that prospect is ready to buy or sell on the spot, your ad could quickly be glimpsed over with no action being taken. The difference with using Craigslist real estate marketing strategies is that you must focus on lead capture instead of simply advertising your goods and services to a huge marketplace.

True, this is a super simple concept to grasp, yet too many real estate professionals are still following outdated methodologies to build their lists. Consequently, this calls for a complete mindset shift in order to fully take advantage of all that Craigslist has to offer.

Introducing the Craigslist Ad Sandwich

Since Josh Schoenly decided to cover this exact topic in a recent video that we submitted, I am going to keep the text portion of this part short and sweet. Here is a basic Craigslist real estate marketing outline that you can refer to while viewing this video to get the real nuts and bolts of everything that is involved with this process:

  • Gripping Headline: What makes your listing or offer unique? Focus on features, benefits, and pain points that will grasp your audience’s attention. This has to be compelling to get people to first click on your ad.
  • Image/Banner Ad: Once a person opens your ad, the very first thing that should draw their attention is an image or banner ad with a very strong call to action. The offer should be something that will speak to your audience and cause them to click over to your opt in page.
  • Property Info With Link: This portion of the Craigslist real estate marketing ad should be very short and to the point. The property information can be followed by an HTML link that directs to a property specific landing page with lead capture for future follow up.
  • Final Call to Action: You can finish off your sandwich with an image or text link call to action. Create a twist on your top offer leading to the same landing page, or perhaps target buyers on your first image ad and sellers for the bottom portion.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Clothier November 3, 2011 at 11:49 am

Jeff –

Great article on using Craigslist. It’s nice to know that with no training we are actually using Craigslist the way some of the other best in the business are using it! It is a great marketing tool and anyone trying to generate business and buzz should be using it.

Good tips to help make everyone successful.

Chris

Reply

Dennis November 3, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Good stuff, Craigslist is a great tool that we use to convert renters into buyers. Recently We have noticed a change with Craigslist filters & seen many of postings being ghostwd by Craigslist. Have you this issue yet? If have you found a permanent solution?

Reply

Jeff Logue November 4, 2011 at 11:29 am

Hey Dennis. Funny you should ask! ( :

We just covered this very issue on our strategy session today. Short answer, we have not found any permanent solution, because Craigslist doesn’t following any one single formula. If there is something they or the system doesn’t like, you could be fair game for ghosting.

A few things that I have experienced in my own market would be over posting from one account, using similar text and/or images (from the same source) over and over again. But again, it could be any one thing that is unique to your situation.

I would recommend keeping track of what goes through and what gets ghosted so you can start to follow their rabbit trail on factors that may be an issue. Hope that helps!

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Jeff Logue November 5, 2011 at 5:33 am

One other thing I forgot to mention. Believe it or not, banner/image size can actually have an effect on ads that get ghosted. If you are having a lot of problems and your ads include these, try shrinking down the size to see if that helps. This has had a positive impact on some of our clients’ campaigns.

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Jim Ingersoll November 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Craigslist is great way to generate leads and to drive traffic. I always link to our youtube channel and to our website where we are either renting or selling houses.

It is by far the best way we get traffic to our sites for real estate.

Jim

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TomC November 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

Here is my normal ad on CL..

Rent from us and fire your lazy alcoholic landlord.
Can’t get your landlord to fix things, don’t complain any more, fire their ass and come rent with us!
Nice 3 bedroom family home with large kitchen and lots of cabinet space. Dining room and living room with full basement newly painted. Large covered front porch for your summer time enjoyment. Big 2 car garage with remote opener and storage area above. Security lighting around home, comes with dishwasher and stove. Nice area of , north side of , between hospitals. Will be ready Jan. 1st.

$600 per month + all utilities. $600 security deposit required
Contact us for more information

Pets O.K depending upon the breed.

Reply

Jim Sparkman November 8, 2011 at 3:32 am

This is a fantastic post, and very timely too Jeff! I have been trying to get back on Craigslist for quite some time now, ran into ghosting issues just recently, but finally got over that “hurtle” – so now I can focus on what you talk about here “ad quality” and truly setting the ad aside and making it totally “different” in every sense of the word so I’m not in the bunch with everyone else. Great points, Great post, cheers Jeff.

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Jeff Logue November 8, 2011 at 7:23 am

Thanks Jim and feel free to share your successes and results as you go along. By taking action and following these steps you are already separating yourself from the crowd. Best of luck to you!

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John December 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I too have noticed that my CL ad got ghosted maybe it’s due to the image ad. So you would suggest me to make the image smaller? This was my first CL post too.

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Jeff Logue December 6, 2011 at 6:26 am

Yes, I would recommend testing your image dimensions first. Unfortunately, it is never a one size fits all formula, so you may need to test other variables as well to uncover the issue. It could also be related to keywords in your title, body text, or even that your ad closely resembles another.

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