Craigslist is a buy - sell - trade - employment - housing - meetup - classified wonderland. You can travel from category to category and find the most incredible items to decorate your home, sell your old ratty couch and even join a group and meet a whole new set of friends. AND...for realtors...it is an endless opportunity to find prospects and clients.
At no cost to you (craigslist is always free) you can generate leads with a simple advertisement and description of a home. But, there is a system involved if you want to get leads. Like many social media platforms, craigslist get hit with trolls, bots and spammers. So, you could place and ad for a beautiful home and get over 100 inquiries! But, reality sets in when you try to contact the people and find that they are not people at all but an automated response to your ad that wants you to sign up for a service. The good news is that this kind of inquiry can be controlled by following some guidelines and rules in your ad and follow the process to format and publish the best ads. This process will also help you from getting banned, flagged, or ruining Craigslist as a lead generation platform for you.
To get real estate leads from craigslist, you will want to post various ads about your properties. You will have to post each property that you have individually because you can no longer refer back to your MLS listings. Do not put your website URL, your email address or phone number in your ad. All of this information needs to be put into the information box that will appear when the interested party hits the “contact” button in your post. This means that if you want to get leads, you will have to instruct users to look for more information about the property, they will need to call/text the number in your contact information. You will also have to tell them to text a number for them to see more images of the property and receive further information. Then, agents can reply to the clients by asking for additional contact information. If they contact you via phone, ask them to provide an email address so that you can send a link that describes the property in detail. At this point, you will have all the information you need to get them onto a mailing list. This is an acceptable method of communication from craigslist and should help get more leads.
Writing the ads can be a bit tricky. Of course, you need to include relevant information about the specific property. Don’t generalize property descriptions if you are listing several properties. Just stick to the facts about one property at a time. You will need several high quality photographs of the specific property in the ad. These pictures should show off the house and make it look enticing. Craigslist allows you to include lots of pictures, so if you have them, then post them.
Next, is the headline for your ad. The headline will appear as your main information on the overall list. This is where people scroll down and when they see a headline they like, they will click on it to go to the ad site. No pictures are in the headline listing so it is important that you use a description that will get people excited to see the property. The posts that stand out paint a story about the property. They intrigue the reader. You will have to stand out from the crowd. Double check that your headline isn’t boring because people will just skim over it and not click on it for more information. Even if someone is looking for a different type of house, if you headline is interesting, enticing and tells that story, they will look at your ad! But...you have to make sure that your beautiful and descriptive ad fits the home! Don’t exaggerate to the point that they don’t recognize the house from the headline! The key to the headline is to write an attractive description that is a basic picture. You can get into endless details when you write the content of the ad. The headline is just to get their interest. And in the content section, make sure that you have a definite call to action and your name. Your contact information will appear in the contact box with the button. Some people do not like to add the price because it will cause the people to call you to get the answer!
The amount of times you post a listing can depend on how big your market is and how many others are posting at the same time in the same category. Because posts move down the list as others post on top, if you are in a market with high competition, you will want to post as often as possible to keep your listings showing near the top. If you are posting in a category that has little competition, you can leave your ad the way it is until you write a new one. Craigslist ads disappear very quickly in populous areas. Monitor your ads and decide when you think it’s appropriate to repost.
Because craigslist is open to anyone, there is a lot of deception in the ads. Scammers and spammers all show up on this platform. So, to be a respected poster and business person, don’t bluff people to get their information. You will lose credibility. Include street address of the house and for the location, use the craigslist map Do not included graphics or cartoons or photos of yourself or other people in your ads. Don’t post links to other websites or landing pages or to other listings. Don’t advertise for services for financing or loans or advice about buying or selling. Just post about the property otherwise craigslist will remove you. Any form of lead capture, loans, financing, services or other services such as offers to buy, lists, directories or driving users to a website are not allowed on craigslist. Much of this platform is self governing and people will flag your ad if they think you are trying to do something that is not allowed. Just post ads that are like you!...a great person!.
Finally, a few extra tips. Research shows that Craigslist is most visited in the mornings between 8:30 am and 9 am. Post during these hours for a greater response. Nighttime traffic is a little less predictable and changes with the seasons. Writing ads with an emotional flair will resonate with people’s feelings and they respond quickly. Calls to action should be a predominant feature of your ads and have a solid timeline for response. Send inquiries to the single property website or landing page. No one wants to filter through pages and pages of information they have no need for. Your conversion rate is higher if they can get right to your information. Make sure that you follow through with responses and inquiries quickly and within hours. Craigslist is a fast moving machine and users know to respond immediately if they are interested in something. Otherwise, it is gone forever!
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