Craigslist.com has an estimated 20 billion page views per MONTH. Not only that, but it’s free, which means it’s a fantastic opportunity to drive targeted traffic to your websites if you know how to leverage its power. Just imagine gaining access to a website seen by over 50 million people in the US alone per month. Using your keywords, you can even boost your SEO with Craigslist, as I’ll show you in a moment.
Of course, like anything else online it’s your offer that’s important, and you also need to follow Craigslist’s rules so you don’t get banned. Here I’m going to show you what not to do as well as giving you a step-by-step method for using Craigslist to drive traffic to your websites.
First, here the highlights of the rules to follow:
ñ Post in the correct geographical region and in the right category for your offer
ñ Don’t post the same item until you’ve deleted the original posting. (You can always set up additional accounts with different addresses to circumvent this restriction.)
ñ Do not post the same item twice in 48 hours
ñ Don’t post commercial website links. (Instead, ask readers to send you an email for more information, using your autoresponder to reply and provide them with your URL.)
ñ Your ad should properly describe your product or service
ñ Know that other users can flag your ad if they think it’s inappropriate
For more details on the Craigslist rules, please visit http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use
Formulate your offer:
ñ Choose a specific niche within your market to target. Better targeting equals better results. Ex: If your market is gardeners, target rose lovers, garlic growers, tomato gardeners, etc. rather than simply targeting gardeners in general.
ñ Identify what this niche specifically wants through online research or asking your current customers
ñ If you already have a product or service that will work in this niche, you can use that.
ñ If you don’t already have a product to use, you’ll need to create one. Consider hiring someone to write it for you, or possibly adapting PLR into a product. Be sure your product is of high quality, useful and fulfills any promises you make in your ad. If it’s an info-product, it doesn’t need to be big so much as packed with great info. A 7-10 page report that solves a problem can be better than a rambling 100 page report they never read.
ñ Decide if you will give the product away for free (to build your mailing list) or charge for it (to build your mailing list of buyers.) Choose a price based upon competitors’ offers. (Suggested: If charging, choose a low intro price since these people don’t know you yet – $5 to $7)
ñ Based upon your research into your target niche, choose appropriate long-tail keywords. Use a keyword tool for help in identifying the strongest keywords. Narrow the list to the 10 to 20 best keywords that closely target your offer
ñ Determine where your target market is likely to live. Big cities? Rural areas? Certain geographical locations? If your product or service can only be delivered locally, then naturally you will be targeting locally. But if it’s delivered electronically, you can choose from anywhere on this massive list: http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites
ñ All else being equal, choose a Craigslist sites that appear to get plenty of traffic such as a major metropolitan areas.
ñ To circumvent the duplicate ad posting rule (you cannot post 2 or more duplicate ads on Craigslist) write a different ad for each posting.
ñ Use a strong call to action in your ad, telling your readers exactly what you want them to do – for example, going to your website to get your free report, sending an email to your autoresponder, etc.
ñ Post your ads when your audience is most likely to be on Craigslist – for example, early evening if your target market works 9-5.
ñ Delete your ad every 48 hours and repost so that you stay at the top of the listings.
ñ Remember, if you are posting in 2 or more categories or on 2 or more Craigslist locations, you must reword your add to make it unique.
ñ If possible, use a unique email address for each posting – this will make it far less likely that your ads will be removed for duplicate posting.
ñ If you are sending people from your email to a squeeze page, consider using a different squeeze page for each ad, on either different domains or subdomains.
ñ Be sure your squeeze page’s message is directly aligned with your Craigslist ad, and be sure your autoresponder is loaded with at least the first couple of messages before posting to Craigslist.
As with anything else, driving traffic with Craigslist takes a little time to learn. You’ll want to track to see what’s working the best and duplicate those efforts. And once you’ve got your own system perfected, by all means outsource the work to someone else so you can then focus your efforts elsewhere.