What if I told you that there was an unlimited, free source of brand new Buyer and Seller leads out there that you could tap into at any time? And I’m not talking about a list you already have, or getting referrals from your existing sphere. I’m talking about using a platform with as many viewers as Zillow – or even Netflix – that you’ve probably heard of, but aren’t using to generate new deals on a consistent basis… sound too good to be true?
I’d like to introduce you to Craigslist – and before you write this off just let me show you why it’s one of the most under-utilized opportunities for real estate agents today.
As I alluded to above, Craigslist is one of the top 15 most-viewed websites in the United States – going back and forth with Zillow currently sitting at #14, and far above Netflix positioned at #17. This is because communities throughout the United States still primarily rely on Craigslist to find professional services, jobs, goods for sale, community events and yes… even Real Estate.
Also, did I mention it’s FREE?
If you use Craigslist to your advantage, it can become a fantastic source of fresh leads to grow your Power List and generate deals. However, I’ll warn you – some of the methods we’re going to discuss in this article, and over the coming weeks, might seem unconventional… but they’re used with great success by agents across the country.
The “method” I’m talking about is what we call Craigslist Cash™ and it’s split into three parts:
- Create “Listing+” Ads
- Set Up a “2nd Opportunity” Email Auto Responder
- Be Safe With Online Leads
To get the full picture, let me explain a little bit more about each part…
1. Create “Listing+” Ads
Craigslist is a great place to post active listings (for free!) and gain exposure for a property. However, you don’t need to have listings of your own to implement this strategy. As a side note, many agents who are already posting their listings to Craigslist aren’t structuring them correctly, so people don’t respond and they’re not getting the value they could.
So, what do I mean by “Listing+”?
Posting a listing to get exposure for a property is great, but the real value of the posting is in the opportunity to generate new leads from it. That’s why if you don’t currently have any listings – or even if you do, but they’re not going to attract the type of buyers and sellers you’re looking to work with, it’s totally acceptable to promote another agent’s active listings. Sometimes you might even get better results than with your own.
You’ll need to talk to the listing agent before promoting their property, however it’s usually somewhat easy to find a colleague who would appreciate the extra exposure for their listing – think of it like sitting in on an open house for another agent.
Once you have a property to promote, it’s all about giving people a “Dual Call To Action”. Normally, marketing experts recommend focusing on only one thing, but I told you we’d be covering some unconventional methods! To meet Craigslist’s Terms, and gain maximum exposure, your primary call to action needs to relate to the property. However, it seems you can add a secondary call to action with related information which often turns out to be more effective at generating leads than the property itself.
2. Set Up An Auto Responder
So far I’ve covered all of the value you can get directly from a Craigslist Cash™ Listing+ Ad, but that’s just one of many opportunities you’ll have to offer value and convert a client from a Craigslist posting.
When viewers “Reply” to your post you’ll receive an email which you’ll want to respond to immediately. The best way to do this is to use an auto-responder which gives people information about the property, but don’t stop there!
Present your lead with valuable information and a reason to contact you. The trick is picking the correct offer to go along with the listing you’re promoting, and using the correct Direct Response Language to get people to work with you.
3. Be Safe With Online Leads
No strategy to meet new people is complete without considering your safety a #1 priority. I had to add this third part because I want to stress how important it is to be safe with any – and all – of your online prospecting activities. Here are a few guidelines to ensure that you and your clients stay safe out there:
- Verify any new lead is a real person by having a conversation over the phone before any in-person meetings are to take place. If you can arrange a video meeting, that’s even better!
- Google the lead to verify that their social profiles, or professional profiles, match up with who they say they are.
- Always meet in public for the first time. Whether it’s at your office or a coffee shop, hosting a meeting in public will give you a good opportunity to assess the situation before moving ahead with a client.
- When you do show a property, follow these tips on Showing Properties the Safe Way from NAR®.
- If you feel like additional safety measures are necessary, check out these Safety Resources from NAR® as well.
- Another option is to find a “showing buddy” (another agent) who will show properties to online lead sources with you – obviously you returning the favor works wonders for the relationship 🙂
- Finally – Trust your gut 100% – if it doesn’t feel right for any reason or no reason at all, you don’t have to work with anyone. No deal is worth your safety.
Just Scratching the Surface
I know I made this sound simple but we’ve just scratched the surface of this lead goldmine! There’s a lot that goes into generating free leads from Craigslist like:
- Picking the right property listing to attract the type of leads you want to work with
- Crafting a winning Dual Call to Action
- Choosing the best categories on Craigslist to post under
- Finding the best times – and how often – to post the listing
- Troubleshooting when a listing gets flagged by Craigslist
- … and much more!
That’s why next week I’ll be hosting a Free Webinar – we’re going ALL THE WAY with the free theme – where I’ll dive into the in’s and out’s, do’s and don’ts, and best practices for driving leads from Craigslist…I’ll even show off a few proven examples!
Plus – over the coming weeks we’ll be releasing a Full Training Course & Kit, including Ad Templates, that you can use to generate leads with in the very same week!
Stay tuned for more!