How to make a strong Craigslist ad
Jana Haecherl |February 15, 2017 |5 min read
If you’ve ever checked out Craigslist, you probably noticed plenty of unique things for sale, like vintage soda machines and sold-out concert tickets. But storage brands routinely advertise on Craigslist as well! Many people check out Craigslist when they’re moving, downsizing, or looking to find cheap, local housing or storage.
Google regularly picks up Craigslist when someone searches for “Your town name self storage.” If your storage business is advertising on Craigslist, then Google will display your business along with other self storage Craigslist results. Plus, creating an ad is simple, even if you’re not an experienced user.
The basics of advertising on Craigslist:
On the Craigslist homepage, make sure the location listed at the top is the correct location for your ad. If not, select the location for which you want your ad to show.
Click “post to classifieds” in the top left corner.
Next, select the “housing offered” category for your post. In the “housing offered” subcategory, you can further specify your post as “parking & storage.” In some metro areas, you can further select a subarea (i.e. “Manhattan”) and neighborhood (i.e. “SoHo”).
After you’ve categorized your post you will be prompted to enter the title, price, description, and contact information for your ad. Here you can style your post using HTML formatting and add descriptive content.
Add images to your post. Craigslist recommends using all image space available to maximize your ad’s engagement with users.
Preview your ad, confirm your ad via email, and voila! You’re done!
To make your ad stand out amongst all the other Craigslist fish in the sea and maximize your lead generation potential, check out these five quick tips!
1. Always include high quality pictures.
Craigslist lets you include up to four pictures with your ad, and we recommend using all four pictures. Many searchers filter out ads that don’t include photos, and including images helps you stand out from the text-heavy ads. For the most part, Craigslist is black and white, so ads with images really pop compared to the rest of the site. If you don’t have a lot of images of your facility, at least upload an image of your business logo and the street view of your facility. Use large file size (at least 600 x 450 pixels), well-lit images from a smartphone or DSLR camera, and you’ll be set!
2. Use professional-looking formatting.
Craigslist uses HTML formatting in all their ads and posts. Make sure your ad looks great and stands out by bolding and centering titles, listing your top amenities, linking back to your website, and including high quality pictures. You don’t have to know HTML to format your ad content - check out this HTML cheat sheet to make it easy. Don’t forget to include your business name, address, and phone number, as well as your available unit sizes, prices, hours, and current promotions.
3. Follow Craigslist’s advertising rules.
With every online classifieds site comes a plethora of rules. Craigslist routinely scans their website to look for spam, inappropriate content, and duplicate posts. Make sure you’re following their advertising rules to avoid getting ghosted or flagged as spam.
Don’t overpost. If you’re in a low competition area, you may not need to post Craigslist ads more than once or twice a month. But if you’re in a high competition area, you might see REITs and other large brands posting several ads per day. Craigslist will flag your ads as spam if you post over X amount from your user account. If you must post more to keep up with the competition, there is a workaround for the rule: use more than one company email address and user account when posting company ads.
Don’t reuse old ads. We’re all for copying and pasting your previous ad’s formatting, but make sure you change up the content by creating a new ad title, re-ordering your images, and changing up your body copy with every new ad.
Don’t use spam phrases. Craigslist is always on the lookout for spam posts, and sometimes your legitimate ad can get flagged because of your use of spam-type phrases like “100% free,” “credit card,” or “weight loss.” All-caps titles are also more likely to be flagged as spam.
Don’t look too commercial. Craigslisters don’t care for traditional advertising messages like you’d see on TV or in a magazine. Make sure your content reads conversationally and always include a personal, human touch to your ad.
4. Keep track of incoming leads.
This easy tip can save you a ton of hassle: when you get a new lead for your storage business, just ask them where they found you. You might be surprised at the results! For example, the Craigslist pages for large cities are typically much more competitive, and your ad is more likely to get buried by other ads. When small business ads are pushed off the pages of large cities quickly, these businesses often post to the pages of smaller surrounding towns to get on the first page. Try this for your storage business! Post in nearby neighborhoods and small towns. These posts are more likely to perform better and can help expand your customer base to neighboring communities.
5. Get creative.
Your posts can be about more than just your current specials and unit prices. Post about upcoming auctions, community service events, and more! Make sure to check your state’s lien laws to find out where you can legally advertise storage auctions. If you have a mascot or resident guard-cat at your facility, include a picture of them with your storage ad. Maybe you’re right next to a high school or a donut shop with a wacky sign. Anything you can do to add a little personality to your business will help you bring in leads.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck from Facebook Ads, 5 Building Blocks of a Successful Social Media Strategy, and How to Choose between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.