How To Write A Good Craigslist Ad For Services

Keywords Heaven
9 min readJun 8, 2018


Generating leads from Craigslist can be really easy or really frustrating depending on if you know what you’re doing.

The truth is that if you don’t get the essential parts right, you will likely find yourself with very little results. That’s why this article will go over how to write a good Craigslist ad for services that actually generates leads. We’ll reveal the exact formula that we use in our Craigslist advertising service to generate 1–6 new leads per day for our clients. During our years of advertising on Craigslist, we have tested all kinds of tactics and have come up with a few simple ones that consistently generate leads.

So what Craigslist advertising tips can we provide as professional lead generators?

Well, let’s start with a few of the main reasons why people use Craigslist over other platforms like Google and Yelp. That way we can craft our ads to cater to this.


People looking on Craigslist are generally looking to reach a small business with low overhead, so that they can be offered a good deal. This is good and bad for those who advertise on Craigslist because you can sometimes get price shoppers. That being said, if you have prices that are generally low when compared to your competition, then you’re in good shape.

Finding a Small Local Business

Craigslist has been a community platform since it started, and most of the businesses that advertise on Craigslist are small business. With all of the massive franchises out there, we believe people turn to Craigslist to have a more personal experience with a small local business.

Older People

The concept of classified ads has been alive long before the internet was popular. Google is like the Yellow Pages and the newspaper classified section is like Craigslist. It makes sense to older people to use Craigslist because the user interface is familiar to them.

Those Native to the Platform

There are people who make their living off of Craigslist, and we see that these people are also more likely to look for services on Craigslist because they have familiarity and trust with it.

How to Advertise on Craigslist Effectively

Now that we understand the main reasons why people use Craigslist over other platforms, we can start to shape our ads to cater to this. In the section below we will discuss the main aspects that you should focus on in order to get results.

1. Craft Catchy Keyword Rich Titles/Headlines for Craigslist

When someone searches for your services on Craigslist, your title is the only thing they have to go off of initially. To get people to click your ad over the competitions ad, your title should be catchy and have keywords in it. Also, putting keywords in your title will increase your rankings much more than putting keywords in your description, so it’s doubly important to do that.

For example, we used a similar title to the one below for some handyman advertising we ran:

“🛠 Joe’s Handyman Services 🛠 — FREE ESTIMATES”

Let’s break down why this title is so effective…

  1. Emojis help the title stand out more
  2. “Joe’s” personalizes the title
  3. “Handyman Services” is our primary keyword, and it clearly describes to people exactly what our services are before they click into the ad.
  4. “FREE ESTIMATES” is a special offer that we emphasized using all caps in order to entice people to click on our posting instead of the other ones. While this offer is not bad, you could easily make it more compelling in various ways depending on how your business is set up. For example, if you have really low prices, you could mention your rates in your title, or mention something like: “LOWEST PRICES GUARANTEED” to attract more clicks and leads. That being said, we suggest only using these types of offers in your title if your services are affordably priced compared to the competition. If your prices are average or on the higher side, we would recommend replacing the offer with something like: “LICENSED AND INSURED” (assuming that you’re licensed and insured), or “SAME DAY SERVICE” (assuming that you provide same day services).

2. Use Photos

If you have a photo of yourself on the job, this is going to help you look more personal, and possibly make people more comfortable allowing you in their house.

That being said, it is not required to do this to be successful on Craigslist. We have gotten a fair amount of calls just by posting photos of previous work. Just make sure the resolution on the photos is high and that they properly showcase your work.

3. Put Keywords in Your Craigslist Ads (Important)

Putting keywords in your ads will dramatically increase the amount of views you get from potential customers. We don’t see much of the competition doing this properly, so it creates a good opportunity if you can get it right.

Keyword Research

Keep in mind that you don’t want to just include random words that you come up with in your ads. Instead you should use keyword tools like the Google Keyword Planner in order to put together a list of at least 20 high search volume keywords in your industry.

Keyword Implementation

Once you find the keyword list that you want to use, you want to take the search words with the top stats, and put them primarily in 2 different sections of your ad. The first section that we usually include keywords is in the middle of the ad where we list our services, and the other section that we include keywords is in a comma separated list at the bottom the posting.

Note: try not to use too many keywords or include the same word over and over again because you may get your account banned by Craigslist.

This might be a little too much ;)

4. Use HTML on Craigslist to Help Your Ad Stand Out

Craigslist allows you to use certain HTML tags in their listings, and we highly recommend that you do so to enhance your ads.

In this section of the article we will discuss how to make your Craigslist ad stand out with 2 easy to implement HTML tags.

HTML Tag Recommendations

<big> tag

The <big> tag enlarges the text that is put within it. To use this tag, we recommend putting <big> in the beginning of your listing, and put </big> at the end of your listing to close the tag.

<u> tag

The <u> tag will underline the text that is put within it, so we recommend using it when you want to emphasize something in your ad. A good use case for this is on your phone number/call to action.

5. Include a Call-to-Action

Once you have hooked the person with your ad, it is time to get them to reach out to you. To do this we recommend simply putting: “call now for a free quote” at the bottom of your ad along with your phone number. If your ad is long, you may want to include the call to action twice. You can also put it in one or more of your photos with some simple photo editing.

Handyman Advertising Craigslist Posting Body Example

Now that we have reviewed all of the main aspects that go into writing a good Craigslist ad for services, all you need to do is bring it all together. Here’s an example of what a high quality handyman Craigslist ad looks like:


Hi, my name is Joe and I’m a jack of almost all trades. I pride myself on doing quality and affordable work for my clients.

Some of my services include:

  • Roofing
  • Painting
  • Tree work
  • Landscaping
  • (include at least 20 more services using keyword related verb-age)

Call me today for a free estimate!

<u>(phone number)</u>


Keywords: (Include 20+ more keywords)

Why This is an Effective Craigslist Ad?

Believe it or not, a simple ad like this is enough to generate 30 plus leads per month from Craigslist. This ad works because it checks all of the boxes that we mentioned before. It is personable, it implies affordability, it includes our services, it has keywords, the HTML makes it stand out, and it has a simple and clear call to action. That being said, you cannot simply copy and paste this ad and get the same results that we are getting because the keywords and the ad text will vary for each business.

In order to truly be successful on Craigslist, you must write captivating ads that showcase the best qualities of your specific business, and include the proper keywords. Notice how we said “proper keywords” because it takes expert keyword research to identify the best ones to put in your ads. That’s where our Craigslist advertising services can really help people who are not experts at SEO. We will write you a professional ad and include more of the proper keywords than you can even imagine. Which will ultimately translate into a lot more ad clicks and leads for your business. We are so sure that it will work for you in fact that we even offer a results based money back guarantee! Check out our Craigslist service for more information.

How Often Should You Post Your Ads?

Now that you’ve got your high converting ad ready to go, it is important to make sure that you are renewing it as often as Craigslist will allow you to in order to maximize your exposure.

The good news is that now that Craigslist services ads are paid, you won’t have to post 6 times a day in order to stand out like you used to in the past. While Craigslist doesn’t specify a specific posting limit for paid ads, it’s generally a good idea not to post too much as you could still get banned. We find that reposting the ad every 48 hours is enough to produce good results while at the same time not being spammy.

Best Day and Time to Post on Craigslist

Weekends seem to be the best time to post on Craigslist because people often look on Craigslist when they get off of work. When it comes to the best time of day to post, the morning usually produces good results. Again, we think this is due to the fact that most people browse Craigslist when they don’t have work.

Bonus Tips

Now that you know how to write a good Craigslist ad for services, you should be able to generate 30+ leads per month like us. That being said, the following tactics can expand your business even further.

Keep in Touch with the Clients

When you do a job, collect the customers’ information. You can use this information to stay in touch with your customers by sending them emails on their birthday and holidays, and special promotions (every once in awhile) for example. This will keep you at the top of their minds, and make them more likely to hire you for future work.

Offer a Referral Program

If you do good work, chances are people will refer you even without a financial incentive to do so, but offering some kind of reward can increase your likelihood of getting referred. The other benefit to having a referral program is that you can network with other businesses that can refer you.

Simply let people know that you have a referral program and that you’re willing to compensate them if they send any customers your way. The compensation can be something like 6% of the cost of the job, or $50 in cash for example.

Take Action!

Now that you have learned how to write a good craigslist ad for services, we urge you to start applying what you have learned so that you can land new clients consistently like us. If you would like us to shortcut this process and ensure your success, the best way you can do that is by having a professional with a proven track record in craigslist advertising write your ad for you. Check out our done for you service here.

Happy posting!