Craigslist Or Search
I’ll be the first to tell you that I have done it all from search engine marketing to craigslist advertising. I also run a digital marketing firm so we have become fairly effective at figuring out which method makes sense as a means of marketing. I am partial to search engine marketing not just because it’s what we do at Que Commerce, but also it’s incredibly valuable and measurable. However Craigslist has its benefits as well. I will share with you when to use search engine marketing, craigslist, and even both marketing channels.
The Case For Craigslist
1. Craigslist is free. Plain and simple you can advertise your services on Craigslist at no charge and you will likely attract a few individuals who “may” be interested in your services. I say “may” because many times people are shopping and comparing vigorously through Craigslist.
2. It provides segmented categories for which you can market your services to prospective buyers. This is minute but it is nice to determine who will view your products and services. It also allows you to see who you are competing against and potential tailor your offering in a way that outperforms your competition.
3. You can add HTML and infographics to your advertisements, which dramatically makes your advertisements stand out. This is for the advanced Craigslist users, however nice informative advertisements that sell benefits stand out more than simple text advertisements. Craigslist offers that functionality.
4. You can easily repost your Ads so that they recycle to the top of the category listing for that day. Craigslist has so many advertisers in each category that the same day you post an advertisement it will likely cycle to the bottom on the category list or on the second page. Craigslist lets you repost, however you cannot do it too excessively. Just every 1 day or so.
The Case Against Craigslist
1. You will likely attract many spammers unless you keep you email out of the reply to section of your advertisement. However, we all know the easier it is for people to respond the more likely you will get respondents. So there we have a catch 22.
2. The Craigslist audience is bargain hunters (most of the time) and if you are looking for a fair trade of cash for services or products, Craigslist may not be the best marketing channel. Think about the value of searcher in that channel as well as their willingness to pay. Craigslist users typically have a lower willingness to pay than people who may shop in other distribution channels. You have to determine if the customer value in the Craigslist channel is worth effort.
3. There is no way to measure who has clicked on your advertisement other than a tracking code embedded in the html for a flyer or infographic you created. There may be software out there that accomplishes this more effectively, however Craigslist does not monitor that type of action and publish that information for you.
Craigslist Versus Search
1. Search engine marketing is highly targeted and likely to collect higher value customers who aren’t looking for a bargain versus Craigslist users.
2. Google as well as other search engines offer tools to track searchers who view your advertisements so you can measure your performance. If you don’t measure it, you cannot manage it.
3. The search engine community is significantly larger than the craigslist community. Google collects over 3 billion searches per day while Craigslist collects over 10 million visitors each day. Remember that a chunk of Google searches are comprises of individuals searching for information, however the remainder is typically searching for a product or service.
Which One Is Good For My Business?
You can review the above list and determine which marketing channel is best for you. If you have a low budget and are simply interested in selling a product or service at or below cost, Craigslist is a great channel. If you want to spend a little more and track the leads you attract to your business, search engine marketing is the better marketing channel. I won’t make the decision for you, but you can discern from the above information which channel has a chance of yield the return on investment in addition to the total revenue you desire.