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6 Craigslist Hacks That Drive Leads

April 10 2013

edutizing mirrorCraigslist is one of the most important lead generation tools that agents have access to. The site is free to all users (beat that ROI!), and it has become the community information hub that newspaper classified ads used to be. Craigslist lets browsers find housing, cars for sale, event announcements, job postings and beyond.

It's a great place to attract first time homebuyers, too. Members of all generations, especially the youngest, are used to finding places to rent there. The online resource is likely to be the first place they turn when it's time to upgrade to homeownership.

Posting on Craigslist means posting where the buyers are. If you haven't incorporated it into your lead generation activities, start now. If you're totally new to the site, read this quick primer first. Then consider the following tips from Market Leader's new white paper, How to Generate Leads and Listings from Craigslist. These six 'hacks' will amplify the effectiveness of your postings and drive leads right into your capable hands.

1. Adjust your attitude. Though more of a 'life hack' than a tech hack, the first thing agents need to do is evaluate their perceptions of Craigslist. If you harbor self-defeating thoughts like 'Craigslist leads are bad leads' or 'I don't have enough time' or 'I'll never stand out among all the competition,' ditch them. Foster a mindset that breeds success instead--one that includes learning about the site in order to leverage it more effectively.

2. Post during peak hours. Craigslist's busiest times are early in the morning and late in the evening. People are most likely to search the site before work and after supper. If you're posting during regular business hours, your visibility may be suffering. Instead, post 1-2 hours before peak times to make your ads stand out.

3. Always link back to your website. Today's consumer doesn't want to immediately pick up the phone and call you after seeing your post. They want to learn more, first--more about the home, and more about you. Make it easy for them by linking back to your site. Be sure to have multiple methods of contact available, like phone or email. Capture forms work great, too.

4. Don't forget to leverage images. Want to multiply views of your ad? Craigslist denotes posts with images with a special tag. Browsers are far more likely to click listings with this tag next to it. Use a service like Image ShackImage Shack to host your photos. It's free, and it lets you link photos back to your website, meaning that every click on a photo drives leads to you.

5. Appeal to Sellers. Buyers aren't the only leads you can attract on Craigslist. Sellers won't necessarily be interested in property posts, though, so how do pique their interest? Appeal to what sellers most want to know--how their home stacks up against the current market. Invite them back to your website (where you will capture their contact information) for a home value comparison or to read about market trends. Try a headline like, "Is now the right time to sell?"

6. Use the right technology. To get the most out of Craigslist, you need the right tools. A little HTML can spice up your posts with better formatting and links to your site, but if you don't know how to code, this free online editorfree online editor can do it for you. If you don't have a connected CRM with lead reporting features, use to track the effectiveness of your ads. That way, you can evaluate what strategies are working for you,and which to toss.

That's just a fraction of the great tips Market Leader offers in their free white paper. To download the paper, click here: How to Generate Leads and Listings from Craigslist.

How about you? What tips and tricks do you use to make your Craigslist postings stand out?