Five keys to writing Craigslist ads that sell


by @PaulFiarkoski

If you have you been thinking about trying to post something for sale on craiglist.com but have been hesitant because you don’t know how to go about it, read on.

In 2012 I sold no less than two dozen items using Craigslist. To date, I have a 100% success rate. I also have a bachelors degree in advertising, but my advice here comes more from my actual experience using Craigslist.

craigslist selling tips

Craigslist is a free website you can use to sell items around your house.

1) Write to an audience of one  Knowing and writing to your audience is key to success for any ad. Since you likely only have one item for each ad, you don’t need the type of door buster ad that we see around Thanksgiving. In most cases your target audience is just one person out of a hundred or so that will see your ad. What does that one person need to know about the item you’re selling?

2) Keep it simple  Use simple language. Keep your sentences short; a bullet pointed list is more effective than sentences. Tell as much as you can in the title: brand, color, model, year, etc. This helps people find your ad when they perform a search.

3) List the price  In the world of Craigslist, price is a big motivator. Unless you’re selling something so unique that it can’t be found elsewhere, your ad will likely flop if you don’t offer the item(s) at a bargain price. If you don’t tell them your price, potential buyers are more likely to skip on to the next seller’s ad. Based on my experience, Craigslist buyers aren’t as likely to haggle as garage sale or old-school classified ad shoppers. So you don’t need to price it higher than you really want to sell it for in order to give yourself wiggle room.

Tip: my 100% success rate with Craigslist ads is due in part to my willingness to drop my price (if necessary) over a number of weeks until the item was attractive enough to a buyer.

4) Post pictures Many Craigslist shoppers won’t even open your ad if they don’t see the image icon next to your title.  Craigslist now allows you to upload as many as six pictures per post. Use that to your advantage by showing the item(s) from many different angles. Since the first image you upload is the one that shoppers will see first, make sure it’s the most representative picture. Don’t hide the flaws though. Showing imperfections up front will make the transaction go much smoother when the buyer shows up at your house with the cash.

5) Give your phone number  This is critical. Craigslist buyers tend to be spontaneous. They feel like they need to strike quickly in order to get a good deal and won’t take the time to send and manage a number of emails. Be prepared to delete your ad as soon as it sells so you can eliminate unnecessary calls or text messages.

Tip: It’s best if you give a cell phone number and mention that they can call or text you. This works better for you too, because you can answer or respond to calls if you’re away from home.

Follow the five tips above and you’ll be selling your stuff on Craigslist with the best of ’em in no time. It’s a great way to turn unwanted items around your house into cash.

For examples of what not to do when you write a Craigslist ad, see these OMG Craiglist ads (intended to be humorous).

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About Paul Fiarkoski

New age marketer
This entry was posted in Life, Money, Social Media and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Five keys to writing Craigslist ads that sell

  1. Pingback: How I sold my truck on Craigslist in 15 minutes | Paul Fiarkoski

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