Craigslist: The Super-Micro Marketing Machine

Moving Boxes with Craigslist

I’m moving and having the time of my life. Painting, boxing up items and hauling them away to my new place have taken me to a place of peaceful serenity. I count down the hours until I can do it again.

Sarcastic? No. A Tom Sawyer-esque attempt at tricking you into helping? Could be. Yes, it’s moving time again and I’m finding it more difficult than ever to squeeze in time to make the jump. Scaling down from a two-bedroom loft to a one-bedroom apartment leaves me with extra things that I don’t necessarily need.

So, where to dump off the excess inventory? Social media sites such as Facebook are helpful when you want to sell to friends, but I’m looking for a bigger market. EBay takes time to set up the auction and costs money for the listing. I’m a college student. I’d like to keep as many of my Washingtons as I can.

It’s easy for once popular websites to get lost in the mix of the ever-increasing options on the web. But Craigslist is still the micro-market sales gold standard. Before unloading my rugs, kitchen appliances, and cabinets to the world, I did some research on what separates the good Craigslist ads from the bad.

Picture the product. As I was perusing Craigslist, I noticed myself only clicking on ads that had a photo of the product. Pictures are important to consumers because it gives a visual of what they can expect. Otherwise, I’m going off of a description by a stranger of a product they need to get rid of. Bias anyone? The picture quality of your product is just as important as the product quality. There is no shortage of poorly taken, out of focus, “cat in the background” or even “cat on the product” pictures on Craigslist.

Obey your English teacher. A largely informal, Times New Roman ridden site doesn’t give a free pass to be lax in your copy. Spellchecking, forming coherent sentences and correct punctuation instantly sets an ad above the rest. Focus on selling. List out the benefits of the product as well as the features. Don’t muddle the ad with back-stories and anecdotes about your product.

Open up the communication. An essential part of the Craigslist selling process is setting up the meeting. E-mail is provided, but don’t rely on it. It works great for making initial contact, but any communication beyond that should be done over the phone. Phone conversations are more personal than text. A call increases your accessibility, further develops the relationship and in the end, sells the product.

Craigslist is a great public tool for selling to local markets. Treat your ads as though they are an extension of your personal or business website. Advanced sellers on Craigslist routinely link to their own website, even other products that they offer on the list.

It seems there is a new web trend every day, and older sites get lost in the shuffle. However, Craigslist is still an effective way to micro-market if done correctly. A well-done ad will garner a lot of traffic and prospective customers.


Leah K.

2:05pm, June 7, 2010

Bennett, well written and so true! Good piece.


6:45pm, June 11, 2010

Bennett a very well written true version of the modern college students trials and tribulations. Keep up the good work, look forward to more insight in the future.


10:16am, June 16, 2010

I just recently started posting my services on craigslist so thank you for your insight, much appreciated!

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