***UPDATE: Craigslist has made some changes, specifically to the Real Estate For Sale areas that prohibit the use of HTML. While it’s still possible to generate free real estate leads with Craigslist, it has made it much, much harder to stand out as an innovative agent. Try the next best thing and get home seller leads using Home Value Lead’s optimized landing pages. Get a 14 day free trial and see what everyone is talking about.***
If you have plenty of leads to work, then you probably don’t want to read this post. If, however, you are looking to add some free real estate leads to your pipeline, you may want to give Craigslist a shot. Craigslist is a great source for free real estate leads, but like anything else, is one of the things where if you don’t commit to using it regularly it won’t be worth your time. If you are willing to put a little bit of time (and I mean very little bit) into learning Craigslist and what type of content works, then it can be very good for generating free real estate leads.
I like to equate Craigslist to a poker game. Every game is different and every group is different. Before you jump into the game, sit back and watch and try to get a feel for who the players are and how they play. Then when you do join the game, you will be better prepared against your opponents.
Rules For Using Craigslist For Free Real Estate Leads
- Post consistently – Posting once a week or sporadically is not going to cut it. Just like anything that you do, you have to do it consistently to see results. At least once a day, every day of the week. This will take you a grand total of 5 minutes a day.
- Track your results – Figure out which ads are working and which ones are not. If your ads aren’t working, tweak them and try again. If your ads are working, try and tweak them so that they work BETTER. A great tool to do this is CraigslistAdTracker.
- Post at different times of the day – You may find that different times of the day work better for generating free real estate leads. This goes back to knowing your opponents and knowing how that game is played.
- Use emotion and fear to draw clicks! Headlines like “This one won’t last long!” and “Don’t miss this steal of a deal!” will entice people to at least open the ad to find out what you are talking about.
- Don’t give away too much information. This is called a “disqualifier”. Too many agents post way to much information and then wonder why they are not getting any responses. It is simple: If you are posting an ad for a 3/2 for $350,000 then who is that going to appeal to? Only people who are looking for 3 beds and 2 baths at that price range. Be general and vague and don’t disqualify anyone before they have even clicked.
- Don’t link to your website’s home page. Unless you are using a real estate landing page for lead capture, most websites are VERY branded for the particular agent and research shows that anything that is branded won’t convert well unless that brand is trusted. Link to EXACTLY what you are promising them. If you are linking to “Newest Listings In **yourtown**”, then make sure if/when they click on that link, it takes them directly to the newest listings in that town. DO NOT send them to the front page of your website and expect them to click around to find the listings. The only click they will be making is on the close button.
- DON’T put too much effort into your ads. The best way to get leads is to use the KISS principal. Short, sweet, and use words and phrases that will get people to click on your link. When it comes to Craigslist, your ONLY goals are for them to 1) click on the headline to open your ad and 2) click on the link in the ad and 3) use YOUR website to capture those free real estate leads.
I will be doing an article next week on Craigslist Ad Tracker to show you how to use it to help you generate free real estate leads. It is a great tool that can really help you test and tweak your ads. If you want more information before then, you may want to consider buying an eBook called “Craigslist Lead Generation For Real Estate In Your Pajamas” by Keith Cuddeback. This is a great resource and was written by a Keller Williams agent who added in a lot of information about using Craigslist in conjunction with eEdge. Certainly worth a read at only $9.97.
If you’d like to use Craigslist to help you generate free real estate leads, you might want to sign up for Home Value Leads. Home Value Leads gives you an optimized landing page that has been specifically designed to capture potential seller leads. Come try a free trial today and find out how we can help you convert those free real estate leads.