There have always been opportunities to acquire new customers using good ol’ Craigslist, but ever since Craigslist started charging $5 for service postings, the opportunities have absolutely exploded!
Overnight this change stopped spammers and business owners who are not willing to invest in their businesses from competing for ad space on Craigslist. Since the competition has reduced, it’s currently possible to get several new clients every day from the site if you run your ads well. The best part about it is that generating leads from Craigslist is really easy. You don’t need a fancy website, or a super in-depth ad.
That being said, if you don’t get the essential parts right, you will likely find yourself frustrated with the lack of results. This article will go over how to write a good Craigslist ad for services that actually generates leads.
Why Are We Qualified?
We offer a Craigslist advertising service that uses the formula we are about to reveal to you to generate 1–6 leads per day for our clients. We have tested all kinds of things, and have come up with a few simple tactics that consistently generate leads from Craigslist.
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.
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.
Find Someone Local
Craigslist has been a community platform since it started, and with all of the massive franchises out there, we believe people turn to Craigslist to have a more personal experience with the company or service person they hire.
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 this platform.
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 the platform 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 Titles/Headlines for Craigslist
When someone searches for your services on Craigslist, your title is the only thing they have to go off initially. To get people to click your ad over the competitions ad, your title should be catchy and have keywords in it. For example, we used a similar title to the one below for some handyman advertising we ran:
“Joe’s Local Handyman Services — FREE ESTIMATES”
Let’s break this down…
In this case “Joe’s Local” indicates that Joe is part of the local community.
“Handyman Services” is our primary keyword, and it clearly describes to people exactly what our services are before they click into the ad.
“FREE ESTIMATES” is a special deal that we emphasized using all caps in order to entice people to click on our posting instead of the other ones. That being said, it also speaks directly to the people who are searching for affordable pricing on Craigslist, so this can be a double edged sword. We would suggest only using this in your title if your services are affordably priced compared to the competition. If they are not, we would recommend replacing that with something like “LICENSED AND INSURED” (assuming that you’re licensed and insured).
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 jobs. 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.
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.
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.
See the YouTube video below to learn how to make comma separated lists in Excel.
Note: try not to use too many keywords or do this in a spammy way because you may get your account banned by Craigslist.
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 2 easy to implement HTML tags that make your ads stand out out.
HTML Tag Recommendations
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.
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.
Handyman Advertising Example Body
Now that we have reviewed all of the main aspects that go into writing a good Craigslist ad for services, here is a high quality handyman ad body example:
Hi, my name is Joe and I am a jack of almost all trades. I pride myself on doing quality and affordable work for my clients.
Some of my services include:
- Tree work
- (include at least 20 more services using keyword related verb-age)
Call me today for a free estimate!
Keywords: (Include 10+ more keywords)
Why This Ad is Effective?
This ad checks all of the boxes that we mentioned before. It is personable, it implies affordability, it includes our services, it has keywords, it has HTML, and it has a simple call to action.
If you would like to download a more detailed ad template that we used to get over 30 leads per month from Craigslist, check out this link.
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. Craigslist’s posting limit policy requires that you wait 48 hours before posting the same ad over again, and we find that posting every 48 hours generally produces good results.
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.
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 you have a referral program, and it can be as simple as 6% of the cost of the job, or $50 in cash or gift cards.
Now that you have learned how to write a good craigslist ad for services, we urge you to start applying them so that you can land new clients consistently like us. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or ask us in our Facebook group. If you would like us to write an ad for you, check out our done for you service.