This post is as much for my sanity as it is for your sake. I’ve seen more abominable Craigslist ads than I could ever wish upon another person. Below I’ve assembled the basics of producing postings that are both effective and pleasing to the eyes.
Communicate to the buyer that you are someone they want to buy from. This is the most important thing to remember when creating your post. Having a high quality listing is one of the best ways to sell yourself. The more informative your listing is, the less questions you will have to answer in emails or on the phone. You will also reduce the amount of people that get to your house only to be unpleasantly surprised by the actual condition or appearance of the item. This wastes your time and their time. Your goal is to sell your item for the most amount of money as quickly as possible with an end result of two happy party’s.
I recommend STAYING AWAY FROM ALL CAPS. I don’t even read the titles of ads that are all caps, let alone actually click on them . All caps = dealer, most of the time. If not, it’s at least someone trying way to hard to sell their item.
Don’t put too much information in the title. Don’t needlessly drive someone away from your listing by putting some reference to your fridge being “older” when you don’t have the room to explain how old it is, what kind of use it’s had and it’s condition.
Ask yourself what the most important information about your item is. What is it? What model is it? What color? What year? If you were searching for this item, what would you type in the search box? What information do other people selling this item put in their titles? Learn from others!
Examples of Good titles
Nice white Kenmore refrigerator, with ice maker and water in door
White Kenmore Refrigerator, with ice/water in door
3 Year old White Kenmore refrigerator
Examples of Bad titles
Refrigerator with ice maker
REFRIGERATOR WITH ICE MAKER, FREE DELIVERY
16 year old refrigerator, has dent on front door
used fridg for sale
Give the details first. Make, model, features, age, color and condition. Tip: Put your best foot forward. Your item might have flaws, but don’t draw needless attention to them unless they are deal-killing types of flaws. For example, you don’t need to put in the description that your 10 year old chest freezer has a scratch on the bottom of the freezer. People know that the items are used and not perfect. Examples of a deal-killing flaw would be dents on the front of appliances, tears in furniture, broken or missing pieces or functions of the item that are no longer working.
Instead, focus on the positives. What are it’s best features? Does it look great, sound great, perform great? Does it have original packaging? Is it the deluxe version or do you have extra accessories? Did you obsessively take care of it? How have you treated it since you first got the item? Has it only been used once?
If mentioning the age will help it sell, then tell them how old it is. Every item is different thought. Telling them your cell phone is 5 years old is more of a turnoff. Telling them the speakers you’re selling are 5 years old is different. Again, don’t needlessly drive people away from your item. If age is that big of a deal to them, they will ask you.
Pictures are the most important part of the ad. Pictures are not only going to sell your item, but they are also going to sell the person on you. People have no idea who you are. When people are looking at your pictures, they are not only deciding if they want to buy your item, they are deciding if they want to buy from you. Do you live in a dump? Are you organized, clean? Do you take care of your things? Make sure there is lots of light and no clutter in the background. I often take the items out to the front yard or the driveway. It’s either a grey concrete backdrop or green grass and flowers. Below are example pictures from two different appliance listings that illustrate what I’m talking about.
Notice all the clutter and junk in the background of the first image. The lighting is terrible as well and there is no reason to be zoomed out that far. Second picture is a good example of a nice, crisp, well lit picture.
You don’t need to give out your email address as people can email you directly through the anonymous email link that Craigslist provides. This is best so websites won’t scrape your email address and start sending you invitations to buy the latest body part size increaser.
Put your phone number in most of your ads. People aren’t very patient so unless you have a good reason, put your number in. If you don’t want your home number in, get a free Google Voice number and give that out. I’ve sold over 650 items in the past 13 or 14 months and have not had a problem giving out my number. Changing one of the numbers to a letter is also a waste of time, and communicates to me that the person doesn’t want people to be able to search for their number. I stay away from listings that spell out a number.
Legitimate reasons to keep your phone number out
You are a weak negotiator and you would rather negotiate over email.
You are selling your car and would rather not be preyed upon by dealers. Dealers don’t like emailing, and when they do they are easy to spot as they are very impersonal. You can be much more selective who you spend your time dealing with by sifting through emails.
If I missed something, shoot me a comment and will try to get responses up as quickly as possible. Making nice, clean, attractive postings will cause others to imitate, benefiting everyone that uses Craigslist.