Craigslist Classified Posting Best Practices (inspired by the professionals)

Since its inception, Craigslist has been a great place for people to sell their vehicles online. It started off as the perfect transition from an analog classified advertising style such as newspapers and magazines to the digital age. The thing with Craigslist is that it never actually transitioned as many thought. Its evolution has been very subtle while it continues to maintain its roots as a true digital classified source.

Cars are just one of dozens of popular sections, but it’s also arguably the most important. With automotive listings, people are often searching for something that will dramatically change their lives. It’s not like searching for a pair of white socks when you run out!

Dealers have been posting on Craigslist for years. They haven’t always done it the “right” way up until late last year when the site started charging them $5 per post. Now, maximizing the effectiveness of each individual listing has become extremely important.

To help consumers (and even dealers) understand the best ways to sell their cars online, we talked to Jason Turner at LotVantage, a company that serves car dealers with tools to help them post on Craigslist, eBay Motors, social media, and other pertinent websites. Here are some of the best practices that Turner supplied to us:

  • Do not use all caps. I REPEAT, do not use all capital letters. It’s appealing because it allegedly makes the listing stand out (though that opinion is arguable). What’s not arguable is that it also makes the listings hard to read and does not allow for emphasis on important parts of the listing. If you’re highlighting everything in a listing, you’re actually highlighting nothing.
  • Use lots of pictures inside and out. People love pictures. They want to be able to view a vehicle from every possible angle including the dashboard and even the backseat. Craigslist is very liberal with the number of photos it allows. If you’re a new car dealer, make sure you utilize this same practice on your new vehicles. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean that people don’t want to see tons of pictures.
  • Be transparent with your listings. There’s a thought that you shouldn’t post every little good and bad element about a vehicle on Craigslist. The exact opposite is true. Not only do you want to paint a realistic picture of what the car is all about, but you also do not want to get flagged for inappropriate listings or irrelevancy.
  • Price appropriately based upon needs. Some people prefer to not put a price at all in hopes of getting more calls. While it’s true that you will get more inquiries when you don’t have a price, be sure you’re ready to take a lot of quick, exploratory calls if you use that strategy. Others prefer to use staggered or non-generic pricing which makes sense considering that searches by price are possible. Play around with it and come up with the right strategy for you.
  • Use informative descriptions. Don’t just use the standard things associated with every variation of the model you’re selling. Highlight the special features that you want people to know about. Don’t forget, some people search for very specific items such as navigation. The more information you can provide, the more likely they’ll feel comfortable trying to buy your vehicle.
  • Brand your photos with a logo and messages. Some would debate that it isn’t as “clean” to put words and logos on an image. Nobody can argue that it’s not effective. Whether it’s your phone number, a special message pertaining to you, or something amazing about the vehicle itself, people will read the words that you put on the image.

By applying these tips, individuals and dealers alike can make the most of this incredible venue.

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