Craigslist is great for attracting an audience for your business. Every personal trainer, handyman, landscaper, and home re-modeler I know tells me it is absolutely essential for their business. It’s incredible that a free service can bring so much value to so many people. Today I am going to show you how to make your Craigslist efforts bear even more fruit.
Craigslist giveth and taketh away
Agreed, Craigslist can be wonderful. But even if you are the very best in your business at getting clients from Craigslist, it has it’s draw backs, too. Let’s review a few of them.
You must keep posting and posting and posting…
One is that you have to keep posting and posting again in an arms race to be at the top of the rankings. Because if you’re not on top of the listings when people come to look for what you’re selling, you’re toast.
Multiple ads.. multiple emails
Craigslist of course doesn’t want spammers on their website so they prevent you from running the same ad too many times. So now you have to juggle 8 different ads, possibly using God-knows how many email accounts – all in a effort not to get banned as a spammer!
Fighting the spammers
Speaking of spammers, most of the time you have to compete against a bunch of sharks that have nothing better to do than sit all day, mark your ads as spam, and re-post their ads. How are you supposed to both run your business AND be on top of Craigslist AND try to battle the spammers?
Convincing readers to open the blasted ad
Even after you post an ad you have to convince the reader to take an action – actually, you have to convince them to do 2 things.
The first thing is to get them to open your ad through some sort of clever headline. You see people trying ALL CAPS AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!! Like they are screaming at people.
***Other people try funky characters or slashes or asterisks in order to grab attention.***
In any case, it takes a lot of experimentation to figure out what kind of headlines will get people to open your ads.
Convincing people to buy!
The second thing is to get them to call you or email you – which they do in the middle of the day while you’re working! And if you run multiple ads – which you have to do so you can be on the top of the Craigslist pile – you really have no idea which ad they are referring to. And once they are on the phone, you have to see if they are for real or not – which takes a lot of time.
Now put yourself in their shoes. If you’ve ever bought something from someone on Craigslist you know the script. You’re wondering if the poster is a real person or a serial killer looking to rip your face off. OK, maybe that’s too extreme but you are wondering if they are going to scam you or not. If the deal is going to take place at your house, you’re wondering if you really, really want to give them you address and if it’s safe for them to be around your family. Finally, you’re wondering how many of these ads do I need to go through before I find the right one?
The Worst Part of Craigslist
And the next morning, you start it all over again. It’s like Bill Murray in Groundhog’s day. It never changes.
But you can’t stop. That would be suicide. That would dry up your leads and take food off your table.
There has to be a better way, doesn’t there?
What can you do? That’s the name of the game. The rules of the system. You can get better at it. You can hire an intern or a high school kid to post all day. But you can’t escape it…. or can you?
The better way
Instead of asking them to call you, try driving them to your website where you have a standing offer.
You have more time to explain who you are, what you do, why you’re the best.
You can get their contact information.
You know exactly what they are looking for.
Put them to a landing page. Or put them to a contact form. Or put them to an order form.
They can buy immediately or they can leave their contact information with you along with all the other info that would normally interrupt your day. You an have tons of testimonials on your page to seal the deal. You can expose them to other work you do. You can show off your BBB or Chamber of Commerce logos proving you’re a real business. You can put a video on your website showing the products and services you are selling and the quality of your work.
Once your visitors leave their contact information, you can call them that evening or first time the next morning – or you could put a ‘best time to call’ feature on your form and call them whenever or however they indicate.
The best part is that your website will be there for them to bookmark. They’ll come back to it. They can share it with their friends, families and neighbors. No one will do that with a Craigslist ad.
And this works with every kind of listing service. It works with Ebay. It works with Angie’s list. It works even with the ads you place in your local paper, mailers, or phone books. It works with Twitter, Facebook, and everything else. Get people to your website, show them you can be trusted to do a great job, and reap the rewards.
Getting a great business website up and running is not difficult. I can either build one for you or you can use my free website guides to get started. The key is to just get started.
So what do you think? Why not build a website to help you dominate your competition? Any questions on how to get started? Let me know in the comments or contact me here.