To maintain the familiar look-and-feel of a local online ad network, CL takes great pains to limit overzealous posting by commercial marketers. One of the biggest challenges for business marketing is getting as many impressions as possible without being tagged as spam. Remember, you’ll get the most response from your ad by having a good quality ad and by posting it as often as you can without getting flagged. Some of the things that CL dislikes and will get you flagged include;
- Excessive posting.
- Posting of identical ads.
- Posting non-local ads.
- Posting in the wrong category.
- Promoting affiliate marketing products.
- Automated postings.
In my view, we can skirt the rules (somewhat) for items #1 and #2 (and possibly even #3) but don’t even worry about items #4 or #5. Here’s why.
Preventing excessive posting or identical ads is certainly needed to maintain the usefulness of CL. At the present time, CL will keep a post active for about one week but allow you to re-post it after about 48 hours. CL examines each post and, if the content looks too close to a previous post, it blocks it. So how do people get around this? Well they either use the same ad with different titles, use more graphics (which CL can’t really identify), or simply add some random text to each new post. For most of us, simply remembering to post every few days is usually sufficient.
CL uses many different techniques to identify who the poster is and where they are located. They may put cookies on your computer and probably monitor your IP address to help prevent abusive posting and to prevent posting non-local ads. Posting in wrong categories is basically user monitored. Every user can flag mis-categorized postings so don’t waste your time trying to do so. Automated posting is prevented by using human-readable text checks and/or email confirmations of postings.
For most of us (casual) CL users I’d recommend the following process;
- Put together your ad using a great title, an attractice graphic, and a call to action.
- Store the graphic file on a free public, online storage site (e.g. MSN Skydrive).
- Put together the appropriate HTML code that points to the URL where your graphic is hosted.
- Add an Outlook task that reminds you to post twice per week (e.g. Mon and Thurs).
- Include the ad title, HTML code, and text in your Outlook reminder so you can simply copy and paste it into CL.
- Register for a free CL account and note the best categories to post.
- Continue to post your ad for a few months and then change it to remain fresh.
There are two ways to measure the success of your ad. The first is to simply monitor phone calls to your business and ask how they heard about you. The second is to put a link to your website in your ad and then monitor your website activity using Google Analytics to see how many were referred by CL.
Craigslist continues to attract over 50 million users each month so there is absolutely nothing like it out there for local small businesses.
For more information on Craigslist try this site;
– Steve (www.SPMsolutions.NET)