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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Craigs list?

This is a really interesting post from Brian of Singer Construction in Orange County, CA on the forum.

Tricks for Craigs list.
Craigslist is great, but of course, like anything else it takes practice. When I place an ad, the phone starts ringing usually within 30 minutes. I get so many phone calls I have to eventually stop answering the phone.(FYI, I'm advertising for handyman services in the So Cal area.) 1) The #1 trick to using Craigs list is writing a GREAT ad. The search feature on craigs list works just like google. You need to have lots of relevant keywords in your ad. Example, if you are a Roofing Contractor, include in your ad, roofing contractor, roofer, roof, shingles, tile roofs, etc. and anything else relevant to what you are selling. A person looking for a roofer, might search for "Spanish tile".Also, take the time to write a really good compelling ad. Just because it's free, doesn't mean you shouldn't devote some time to it. Before placing an ad, sit down and write 1 or 2 paragraphs about your company and what you are selling. If you browse through the ads that are similar to yours, you will get a really good idea of who is serious about it and who the flakes are. The flakes usually have 1 or 2 sentences and a phone number. For example, here is an ad I looked up under "roofing" :ROOF REPAIRS. 23 YEARS EXP IN THE ROOFING TRADE. I WILL FIX THOSE PROBLEMS. CALL DAN 714 XXX-XXXXWould you call this guy? He obviously doesn't care enough to sit down and write a decent ad for his company, so why should I call him? Take the time to write a decent ad, and don't write IN ALL CAPS.Also, a well written ad with links to your web site and relevant keywords will help Google find your web site. Even with no calls, that benefit makes it worth your time.2) Next, write a really good Title. Something like this, !! ROOFER - best in the business - Licensed Roofing Contractor !!This step will take some practice. Try a new title each week until you find the right one.3) I never include my email address. I always keep it anonymous so I can still receive emails from customers, but they can not see my email. It will help minimize spam. Also, I always include my phone number. I'd rather have people call me. People that take the time to call are generally more serious. If someone does email me and asks for a price, I will email them back and ask for there phone number, or I will reply with general info and my phone number and ask them to call me. I rarely quote a price via email, unless Im certain I DON'T want the job.4) Scams... it's usually pretty easy to sniff out a scam on the internet. Unless someone is willing to go about the traditional means of conducting business... it's probably a scam. a) Never accept Western Union, b) Never respond to an "Urgent" message, unless it is one where you physically show up to the job site. c) Never give out personal information, d) Most scammers operate outside of the country. Ignore them. Just use some common sense.Lumpy is exactly right... I have been contacted twice by someone in the UK saying they were "so excited about my product. send me the price and my info and they would send a check right away..." It sounded so fishy and an obvious scam.. I just ignored it.5) Set up a website with photos of your work, or better yet, set up a company website and include a link to it. Potential customers like to look at pictures of your past work. Plus, clicking onto your web site gets them off of craigslist. It will deter them from looking at competitors and once they are on your website, its a second chance to sell them on your service. You can also place your logo and pictures in your ad if you know how to do that. It's just like linking to photos here on Contractors Talk.6) Finally and most importantly, PRACTICE. If you don't get calls from your first ad, don't keep posting that same ad. Write a new one or try a different Title. I wrote 3 different ads before I found the one that made the phone ring. Also, don't post a new ad everyday. It's annoying and clogs up the system. I hate seeing 8 different ads for the same guy. Customers aren't going to call just because you have lots of ads. Post a new add every 3 - 4 days. Ads will stay online for 45 days and as long as you have a really good ad, with well written content and links to some nice pictures, people will still call even if your ad is 2 weeks old. One time I stopped placing ads because I just couldn't handle the volume of calls. I was still getting calls a month later, so I know craigs list works. It may be different for different parts of the country.I hope all this info helps.Good Luck.Brian

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