Craigslist: Free Display Advertising for Newbies

Craigslist offers access to millions of potential customers free or real cheap but it takes some marketing know how to tap into this mother load of traffic. Most advertisers get a zero response rate or get booted quickly simply because they really don’t know how to use Craigslist effectively. Here are some important tips.

Smart marketers know how to make advertising on Craigslist pay off. The site is great for just about any business offering products or services, whether these products are offered through e-commerce websites or physical stores. Internet marketers are quietly making huge financial gains through advertising for free on Craigslist.

Unlike other advertising opportunities there is very little risk involved in posting on Craigslist. With the exception of job postings and housing listings in specific cities, advertising is free on Craigslist. Users are asked to agree to the terms of service of the community and are expected to follow specific guidelines when posting advertisements but there are no financial obligations to those placing advertisements on Craigslist.

While there may not be a financial investment, those who post advertisements still have to be concerned with whether or not the advertisement they place will meet their expectations in terms of sales generated because time is money, after all. The time one spends trying to crack Craigslist for free is time that could be spent on other forms of advertising that nearly always produce results. Article marketing is one such free alternative.

That said, reaching potential customers on Craigslist can generate many more prospects much faster than article marketing. Posting advertisements for products or services on Craigslist is so worthwhile because of the likelihood of reaching an audience of millions of potential customers. The traffic on Craigslist is astounding.

A review of Craigslist’s fact sheet reveals some startling information regarding the amount of traffic the website receives. You will find this hard to imagine: Craigslist receives approximately four billion page views each month from ten million people using Craigslist each month! From these statistics it is clear why smart marketers use the site as a major source of traffic and profits. With such large numbers, advertisements placed on Craiglist are likely to receive at least some attention from potential clients.

With so many visitors using Craigslist each month the advertising possibilities are limitless. However, there are no guarantees any of these visitors will be interested in your products or services. Like any marketing campaign, your advertisements on Craigslist must be intriguing, informative, and in a category where you will reach your target audience.

Smart Internet marketers have perfected their methods through much trial and error. One of the keys to their success is they know how to find their target audience and give that audience what they are looking for.

The number of visitors using Craigslist each month will be out of reach for newbie marketers without understanding that the key to taking advantage of these numbers is to compose your advertising in a way that is sure to reach your target audience as opposed to a wide audience of individuals who have no specific interest in your products or services. It’s a common mistake made by newbies.

It is much more worthwhile to reach a small (target) audience of those more likely to have a keen interest in your products or services than to reach a much larger audience made up of many people who likely are just not interested. Those who have an interest in your products or services are your target audience and will not be reached by advertising in a “general” category. It’s a case of quality over quantity.

The key to reaching your target audience on Craigslist is placing your advertisement in the most appropriate category. Craigslist has specific categories for businesses to advertise their products or services. The main categories are broken down into a number of sub-categories. For example, those who are in the business of computer repair would be wise to place their advertisement in the computer section that caters to people looking for repair resources as opposed to the section dealing with gaming because individuals looking for computer help will naturally migrate to the computer section that solves their problem.

This is true of anything you want to sell. Never place your ad in the main category. Drill down a bit to find the closest section that matches your product of service. It may sometimes be appropriate to place an advertisement in more than one section. This is acceptable as long as it does not cross the line to spamming the section. But, be sure your advertising copy and layout are different so your ad is not flagged as spamming the site.

If there is not a specific section for the products or services offered by your business there are a couple of options. You can place an advertisement in the section for small business advertisements where it might be found by those doing a search in this section. This will not be greatly effective but, at least, your ad might catch the interest of the casual surfer. Alternately, the you can contact Craigslist to suggest the addition of a new category. They might be willing to oblige if they believe your suggested category warrants an addition based upon potential interest in your product or service but it had better be unique.

A major reason for the success of smart marketers with Craigslist is they know the difference between advertising and spamming. They know it’s smarter to bend the rules without breaking them so they never stoop to spamming or so-called black-hat tactics. There is too much to lose if caught.

While placing an advertisement in an appropriate section of Craigslist is acceptable, placing the same advertisement in nearly every category of Craigslist for a number of different geographical regions is considered spam. Spam is ineffective for a number of reasons. First of all, members of the Craigslist community who see a particular advertisement in a number of different locations will quickly recognize this spamming technique and will just as quickly report you to the site administrators. Also, if Craigslist detects the practice of spamming, they will delete all of your postings and could potentially ban advertisements from you forever.

Craigslist can be a powerful source for free traffic if you will learn how to play by the rules.