Is Advertising on Craigslist Good or Bad for Business?

By Qyou Stoval

Craigslist is an inexpensive way to advertise your product or service.
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Craigslist is a free community classifieds website that you can use to advertise your product or service as well as find employees. Craigslist can be a good resource for advertising if an effective ad is created. Craigslist will not benefit every business and can sometimes do more harm than good. Consider ways to test your advertising campaign to determine whether Craigslist would be effective for your business.

Target Market

Typical Craigslist browsers are looking for a deal. Your service or product should reflect a deal or special to attract Craigslist buyers. Craigslist allows you to narrow your audience to a specific city or region. If you want to market your product or service to multiple cities, try to create an ad every 48 hours. Craigslist will flag your business if the ads are too similar. Craigslist may require you to delete an ad before posting a similar ad in the same area. Ensure your audience does not feel you are are spamming or misusing the system.

Ad Construction

When potential clients click on your Craigslist ad, they need to be compelled to act. If you are a real estate agent, or selling products, add images to strengthen your ad. Creating an ad on Craigslist can hurt your business if your potential customers feel your product is low quality. Carefully check for spelling errors, and if you add an image, ensure it’s a clear and professional. Long ads with too much information may not appeal to a customer. Your ad needs to be concise. If your customers can physically come to your location for your service or product, you may have greater success.

Spam and Fraud

You may have to spend more time filtering through emails from people attempting to receive your product at no cost or to commit fraud. Craigslist appears to spend more time ensuring that the business or individual posting the ad are legitimate than it does screening customers. Be prepared to verify your email address before posting an ad or use your phone number for verification. To filter spam bots, tell your customer to input a certain word in the subject line of the email or call you directly to ensure it is not spam.

Testing Your Market

To determine whether Craigslist is good or bad for your business, you need to know what percentage of your business is coming from your Craigslist ad. You can test your market by asking your customer how they heard about your business. You can set up multiple ads by changing some of the ad copy or images to test which ads are getting more action than others. Sometimes Craigslist itself is not bad for your business, but your ad campaign is.