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6 Steps to Generating Free Leads on Craigslist

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RISMEDIA, September 25, 2009—After years of trial and error using Craigslist, I finally created a system for consistently generating quality leads for my business and I’ve decided to share the steps in this article. 

Step 1: Create An Account
This is the easiest step by far, but is critical to getting the best results and to track your results as well. All you need to do is go to Craigslist.com and click on the login button, then on the next page if you don’t already have an account, you’ll click on the area that says “Don’t already have an account”. You just fill in your information, name and email, and you’ll be sent an email to confirm. Once you receive the email, click on the link in there and voila- you have an account you can start to use. 

Step 2: Pick Your Campaign
Here is what I mean by picking a campaign. If you are going to generate leads on Craigslist, you need to do it with a purpose. You need to choose the kinds of leads that you are looking to work with. Here are some ideas: foreclosure buyers, lease option buyers, apartment building buyers, luxury home buyers, first-time home buyers, buyers in a particular school district- you get the idea. 

Step 3: Create Your Campaign
This step can be a little time consuming (really only 30-60 minutes), but the good thing is once you are done it’s done for good. You may want to go back from time to time and tweak, but most of the work is complete. Here is how to create a campaign for Craigslist lead generation. Once you have picked your campaign, you then need to create several different ads to post and generate traffic. Craigslist doesn’t allow you to post the same ad over and over, so you’ll need several different posting titles and posting descriptions (you’ll also want variations for the location and price boxes as well). By creating different titles and posts, it allows you post frequently, which allows you to consistently drive traffic to your landing page or squeeze page (never send the traffic to your main Web page) or to e-mail or call you. 

Step 4: Implementation – Posting Your Ads
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Now that you have your campaigns created you need to start posting. I recommend to post twice daily during the week and at least once a day on the weekends. You will want to be posting when there is a lot of traffic to Craigslist because the longer your ad is up, the farther down the page it goes. So you probably don’t want to post at 5 in the morning as it’s not likely that many home buyers are surfing Craigslist at that time. Now it is critical to be consistent posting your ads. This literally takes just a couple minutes a day, but it will become one of those things that after some time becomes a bore to do. If you really can’t stay diligent with it, have your assistant (if you have one) do them for you or you could even hire one of your kids to do it as well. I know I am stating the obvious here, but if you don’t post, you won’t get leads, so make sure you stay consistent. 

Step 5: Follow Up
Here is where it starts to get exciting. Depending on the information you collect from the leads you may be able to follow up in several ways. If you are just collecting name and e-mail, obviously that means your only form of follow up will be through e-mail. If you are collecting phone numbers, which I would recommend, then you can make outbound phone calls. If you are able to collect full contact information including address, I would highly recommend sending a sales piece, ideally a sales letter enticing them to work with you as a client. Your follow up must also be consistent and scripted. If you are offering a free list of homes, whether they be fixer upper or foreclosures etc, make sure you are regularly sending out the list. For example, in my business I send my free lists to my leads every Thursday morning. This does several things- keeps me on a schedule and creates an expectation from the buyers that they’ll be getting their new list each Thursday. In order to get maximum response from your list, you need to make different offers to them. Here are some ideas for offers you can be making to get them to raise their hand to work with you: teleseminars, homes tours, group open houses, live seminars, etc. 

Step 6: Track & Improve
The last step is the least glamorous, but might be the most important of all. You need to be tracking your ads and results from the start. If you don’t track, you’ll have no idea what’s working and what isn’t. Here are some of the things you need to track- which ads are getting the most response, how well your landing page is converting, how many leads you are getting daily, how many leads turn to clients, how many leads open your emails, and much more. Now this part of the business isn’t much fun, but you can only improve what you track and if you aren’t tracking this information you have no way of improving your results. 

Josh Schoenly has literally cracked the code to lead generation on Craigslist. Over the last 3+ years he has generated over 7,000 leads using his own system. For a limited time you can download Josh’s Craigslist Marketing “Cheat Sheet” and accompanying 30 minute video explaining his system at www.CraigslistMarketingMatrix.com

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