As a free advertising platform that draws about 60 million viewers each month in the U.S., Craigslist can be a rich resource for some types of small businesses.
Creating an ad that will generate sales is a matter of following a few basic guidelines, said David Chapman, CEO of 919 Marketing in Holly Springs.
Craigslist is transaction based, so businesses selling products or offering a one-time professional service are good candidates, Chapman said. The people browsing the ads aren’t as likely to be searching for high-end items or long-term relationships with a company.
“People tend to go to Craigslist looking for an amazing deal,” Chapman said.
Advertising on Craigslist can be a permanent marketing method or just a temporary solution. A new business or a shop that has changed or added locations can greatly benefit from Craigslist.
When creating an ad, a business owner should pay attention to other ads offering the same service or product and make sure his or her ad stands out.
“You’ve got to look different,” Chapman said.
Because many Craigslist users are wary of scams, an ad should convey legitimacy by looking professional and including a website link, email address and phone number, as well as additional resources such as a LinkedIn profile.
“Anything that looks a little shady, I’m not going there,” Chapman said. Also, people generally are seeking goods and services from local sources and shy away from generic ads from national chains. “It needs to be hyper-local,” he said.
Having testimonials also can make a difference. Long ads are fine, as long as they’re done well, Chapman said. People will read them. A brief but poorly written one is much less effective.
Images can boost an ad’s effect. That includes a photo of the business owner. Potential customers want to know they’re dealing with other people, and it can make a seller seem more approachable, Chapman said.
Advertisers can make sure they connect with the potential customers by choosing the right category for their ads and also identifying the best keywords to include, something that can be researched online.