Craigslist is a free online classifieds site with over 48 million unique visitors per month. Let me say that again: it’s free and 48 million people use it every month. Does it sound like a good place to promote your products and services?

Although thousands of companies use Craigslist very effectively, others just waste their time on it. What do the former companies know that the latter don’t? These are some tips that will help you get great results from the world’s top classifieds site.

Re-Post Your Ads Every Two Days
Old ads get pushed down as new ads are posted. People only click on the first ads, unless they’re searching for something specific. You can’t be at the top all the time because Craigslist won’t allow you to post the same ad every five minutes, but they do allow you to post it every 48 hours, so take advantage of it. Also, keep in mind the time your post your ad. If you post it at 2 a.m., chances are that very few people will see it.

Follow the Rules
You can’t post the same ad to two different cities, you can’t post the same ad more often than every 48 hours and you’re not supposed to create multiple accounts to post more often. Follow the rules. If you try to fool Craigslist, they’ll eventually catch up with what you’re doing and they’ll cancel your account.

Write Titles that Stand Out
Potential customers will see hundreds of listings and they’ll only click on a few of them. Make sure your title stands out. Some ideas:

  • Ask a question, such as, “Have You Tried Every Hair Loss Product and Nothing Seems to Work? Hair Loss Treatment in Seattle”
  • Use headline case.
  • Use symbols, such as $, #, %, +, <, >, /, “, etc.

Use Keywords
In the previous example, I included the keyword “hair loss”, which is what people are likely to search for when looking for a hair loss product or treatment.

Address Your Ads to the Local Community
Note how in the previous example I mentioned that my treatment is available for people who live in Seattle. People like dealing with local businesses better.

Copywriting Is Everything
Given that your headline is great and that you got people to click on your ad, now it’s time to get them to take some kind of action. This is a 7-minute copywriting crash-course. Include testimonials, “before and after” pictures and any other kind of social proof you can think of.

Use a Soft Call to Action
Don’t blow it by asking people to buy your $1,000 gadget or hiring your expensive services in your ad. They don’t know you. Ask for a smaller commitment, such as requesting a free consultation, estimate, downloading a free report, videos, or whatever makes sense for your business. Capture their contact information, give them something of great value and then start marketing to them without being too pushy.

Test Everything
Every industry is different. Test everything, from headlines to marketing approaches, from ad copy to calls to action, and see what works for you.

Try Other Classified Sites Too
Although Craigslist is the 800-lb. gorilla, there are other classified sites that get a lot of traffic: USFreeads and Backpage are two of them.

Craigslist Isn’t for Everyone
As with any other kind of marketing, you need to measure your efforts. If you direct people to your site, use Google Analytics to track your traffic. If you ask people to call you, give them an exclusive coupon code so you can tell who’s coming from Craigslist. Then you need to calculate how much time you’re putting into Craigslist marketing, how much that time costs you and how much you’re getting in return. Finally, you need to determine whether your campaign is profitable and decide if you’ll continue marketing your business on Craigslist.