Craigslist is an enormously popular site in which you can post simple classified ads that can drive free traffic to your websites.
If you’re not using Craigslist right now as we approach 2015 its probably because you’ve used it in the past and gave up after they tightened their posting rules. It’s still a great place to generate free targeted traffic to your site but only if you know how to play the game within their new set of rules.
A decade ago Craigslist was the wild-wild west of classified ads for marketers where almost everything was allowed and most things worked. There was no moderation (can you imagine?) so it quickly became inhabited by every spammer on the planet who almost destroyed the site for everyone.
Craigslist has cleaned up the site and now has a user flagging system to quickly identify illegal inappropriate, and spammy postings. Unfortunately its common for us hard working marketers to have our ads flagged and deleted even if we thinks were within the Craigslist guidelines.
How To Drive Traffic With Craigslist:
- Once you sign up for an account at craigslist.org make sure to learn the Terms of Service to stay on Craig’s good side: http://www.craigslist.org/about/help/
- Log in and find a category that fits your product, service, or promotion. Once you find the right place for your ad use these tips to get the best response and traffic back to your site:
- Always use an image. Ads with images always get a higher click-through rate than ones that don’t.
- Unless your offer is localized post your ad in the 7 cities that get the most Craigslist traffic:
- San Francisco
- New York
- San Diego
- Los Angeles
- Craigslist only allows a few post per day so make several accounts with different email addresses. These days you’re usually asked for a phone verification for each account so you may be limited to the number of phone numbers you have access to.
- Hyper-link your ad to your website where possible. Unfortunately Craigslist has disabled this ability in most some categories but not all of them. Where you can use hyper-links use this simple HTML tag in the post body section: <a href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/”>Click Here Now</a>
- Where you cannot hyper-link your site make sure you at least put in your website address anyway “www.yourwebsite.com” and instruct your audience to cut and paste it into their browser.
- Make a compelling offer to get people to go to your site. Create or offer an ethical bribe such as an ebook, video tutorial, or special report with the information they’re looking for.
- Check out the Craigslist forums as well as the classified section. Find your topic and join in on the conversation. Build trust, demonstrate your expertise, help others, and be cool about it. Don’t blatantly sell, SPAM, or irritate.
Craigslist is still a good place to generate free traffic but it does take some effort and persistence. That, and paying attention to the constantly changing rules. There will be times you’ll be frustrated when your ads are flagged, deleted, or ‘ghosted’ by Craigslist but with some trial and error you’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t