Craigslist is the modern-age reincarnation of newspaper classified ads. It’s a perfect resource for when you need to offload a spare recliner, a drum set, a car, or an old screen door you just replaced.
It may be quick and easy to post on Craigslist, but there are some secrets to crafting a truly compelling ad that will help your items sell faster. Craigslist is a busy place, so follow our tips to help make your ads stand out from the flood.
Embrace your account
Craigslist doesn’t require an account to post or respond to ads, but there are a lot of advantages to signing up. Once you have an account, you can track your entire history of postings, quickly renew posts, delete old posts, and make changes to your ads. You can also keep drafts of posts and track search terms.
If you’re just posting a single item and don’t expect to use Craigslist again, you could easily skip creating an account, but it’s still a good idea even if you’ll only use the site sporadically for sales. You won’t have to fumble around in your inbox looking for the Craigslist email that lets you edit your posting. It’s all right there in your account.
For the love of photos
Many Craigslist users set their searches to gallery format so they see photos first when they’re browsing listings. When creating an ad, Craigslist will use the first photo you upload as the featured image. Make it a good one. This is not the place to feature the corner of that wood table where there’s a scratch. This is where you should show a well-lit image of the whole item.
Don’t skimp on photos. You can upload 24 photos to a listing, which should give you plenty of opportunity to show everything you need to, including different angles and close-ups. You might need to aim a lamp at whatever you’re photographing. A little extra lighting can go a long way.
Answer questions before they’re asked
Unlike with old-fashioned newspaper ads, Craigslist gives you lots of room to write up a description of what you’re selling, so take advantage of the space.
If you’re selling furniture, give the dimensions. Posting a car? Lay out all the details, from the mileage to the aftermarket rims to the maintenance you’ve been so meticulous about. For household items, you might want to mention if they’re coming from a smoke or pet-free home. The more information you provide, the less time you will have to spend fielding questions from potential buyers.
If you’ve used Craigslist much at all, you’ve probably been on the giving or receiving end of some haggling. Go ahead and assume that most buyers will try to talk you down on price and set your sights accordingly. Maybe you would really like to get $75 for that antique chair. Price it at $95 and give yourself some wiggle room. You can always lower the asking price later if you’re not getting any bites.
Edit and renew
You can edit your postings at any time to change the price, add more photos, or update the description. If an item isn’t selling, start by looking over your ad. Are you asking too much? Did you leave out some important information? Fill out the description, adjust the price, and maybe try your ad out in a different category. You may get more looks if you post that mid-century modern loveseat in “furniture” rather than “antiques.”
You can renew your post every 48 hours after the initial listing, pushing it back up to the top of the category. Once a post hits 30 days, though, you will need to delete it and repost it, an easy task to handle if you have a Craigslist account.
Proofread your post
Give your ad a quick once-over before you publish it. You would be surprised how many typos can slip through. Just check your local Craigslist for “dinning” tables to see this in action. This can cause problems when buyers use keywords to search for items. Your “dinning table” won’t show up when people search for “dining table.”
You have to think a little bit like a marketer and include terms that might be popular in searches. Let’s say you’re selling a guitar. Give the brand name, the style, if it comes with a case, and whether it’s acoustic or electric. Buyers searching for specific items will be more likely to find your listing.
Bonus points: Get creative
You can have fun with your Craigslist ads in order to engage potential buyers. Wax poetic about the beauty of an antique. Suggest possible uses for an unusual storage shelf. Highlight the rare vinyl records at your yard sale. It doesn’t have to be crazy and you don’t need to write a novel, but it’s okay to try to spark someone’s imagination.
If you need some inspiration, then go check out the highly entertaining “Best of Craigslist” section to see the clever, whimsical, and well-written ads posted by your fellow Craigslisters.
When using Craiglist to sell or buy locally, never forget that there are scam artists out there. Keep an eye out for anyone who isn’t local and can’t meet up for the sale, as well as anyone offering to pay with a check. These are just a few signs that it might be a scam.