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craigslistIt’s simple, easy to use, provides a great service, and it is the 10th most visited website in the world. This of course makes Craig’s List a prime target for businesses that hope to increase their customer base, find great employees to hire, and for a range of other reasons.

How do you ensure the ads you place Craig’s List are effective though?

One of the unique features of Craig’s List is that users are able to “flag” any entry if they consider it spam, and that entry is generally quickly removed. That means businesses who just post “We’re number 1!” or whatever without offering anything to those browsing the site are basically wasting a whole lot of time and money. Add to that all of the competition and getting results can be daunting.

There is hope. This is the right way to post anything on Craig’s List:

1. You need a headline that grabs their attention, but it cannot be misleading. Don’t make it over the top hard sell either. Users don’t seem to like this and will be more likely to flag the post if they see it.

2. Keep the copy tight.
Users respond to short and precise sentences.
Try to make your ad look something like this.

3. Include your website address. This is sort of a no-brainer, but many people forget. Users want to check out your site and see what you’re all about before making any purchase or taking any other action. Ads with websites linked always do better business on Craig’s List.

4. Use testimonials within your ad.

5. Research what your competitors are doing on Craig’s List. Where are they posting? How often? This might let you know where to post and how often if it seems they’ve been successful, saving you a lot of trial and error.

6. Use photos and visual aids in your ad if possible, especially if you’re selling a product.

7. Consider offering some benefit for responding. “Contact us right now and get 10% off your purchase.” Or whatever works for you.

8. Use keywords within the text of your ad. Craig’s List has a search function and visitors use it all the time. If you don’t have the keyword or phrase they enter than they aren’t going to find your ad.