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15 Tips to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist Fast | The Frugal Noodle
A while ago, I had to sell a bunch of stuff quickly to prepare for a move. I didn’t have time for eBay, so I put it all on Craigslist, and through some trial and error, was able to sell most of my items in a day, with a few taking two days. Here are some things I learned from the process.
Note that your location makes a big difference in how fast your stuff will sell. I’ve found that if you live in a college town (like Providence, RI where I lived), there are lots of students eager to snap up second-hand furniture. If you live in a small town, it might be more difficult to sell your stuff online.
Also, a lot of the stuff I sold was relatively high-value stuff like music equipment. You need to be realistic about the value of what you’re selling. An old futon won’t get much attention at any price, and you might be better off just giving that away.
Before we begin…
You need to be realistic about how much you can expect to receive for used goods. If you live in an affluent area, probably no one will want to pay for your old couch, no matter how nice it is. If something isn’t selling, you should move it to the “free” section of Craigslist as soon as possible.
1. Take decent photos!!
If you only have time to do one thing on this list, you should take good photos of the product you’re trying to sell. Photos make a huge difference!
I highly recommend that you use good lighting, specifically natural daylight. Daylight will bring out the true colors and make the product pop. Artificial lights will make the product look yellow and old. Just take a look at this example I took using artificial indoor lighting:
Photo taken in indoor florescent light (left) vs. natural sunlight (right)
I took the photo on the left using a very good Canon Rebel T2i Digital SLR camera. See how yellow and old it looks?
Just to prove a point, I took the photo on the right using my iPhone 4, but during the daytime using natural light. What a difference!
So, get the product out of the basement or garage and photograph it in your living room, where there are windows and plenty of natural light. Flash shouldn’t be necessary, but you can use it to fill in shadows. Don’t use it as your primary lighting though, or else it will cast harsh shadows.
As you can see, you don’t need a fancy camera. If you use good natural daylight a modern cell phone camera can give you fine results.
My other advice would be to try to completely fill the frame with the product. Don’t be too far away. Take some close ups as well:
Closeup of Roland D50 that I sold on Craigslist
Also, if the product can turn on or light up, then photograph it in the “on” state, with the display lit up and and as many things that can be shown to be working as possible.
Finally, don’t use the manufacturer’s photos of the product that you find on the Internet. People will see through that pretty quickly.
2. Price it to move
The fact is, people shop on Craigslist to get bargains. Therefore, your pricing needs to be aggressively low if you want to sell it fast.
Most sellers on Craigslist price way too high. OK, I know you paid $500 for that couch, but there’s no way you’re getting $250 for it now!
If you want to move your stuff on Craigslist, you’ll have to price it for significantly less than what you find on eBay. I usually price it for less than what others are selling it for on Craigslist as well, in order to move it quickly.
So, I price things fairly low, but I give myself some negotiating room. A good number of folks who respond will try to negotiate with you. Studies have shown that buyers who negotiate and get some discount are actually happier than those who didn’t negotiate but got a lower price. Price low, but higher than the lowest price you are willing to accept in order to give yourself some negotiating room.
If you are not getting inquiries within three days of posting, your price is probably too high, or there is no demand for what you’re selling. Lower your price and see what happens.
3. Sell in batches and utilize the “more ads by this user” button
If you have more than one thing to sell, put it all on sale all at the same time rather than one at a time. When someone shows up to buy something, you can show the other stuff you’re selling to them.
I had tons of interest for my couch, but none for my bar stools. But, when the buyer of my couch showed up, I showed him the bar stools and he bought them as well. Sometimes seeing the product in person can make the difference. Also, once the person meets you and sees that you are a normal sane person, they are more likely to buy more of your stuff.
The way to use this is to check a box labeled “include ‘more ads by this user’ link” when you are setting up the ad here:
Check this box to make a list of your other items for sale show up in your ad
If you check this box, the “include more ads by this user” button will appear right below the map in your ad which will take users to a list of your other postings.
Clicking this button will take users to a list of your other postings
It’s also a good idea to put some text in your ad describing your other products and encouraging them to click the button to see them.
4. Be specific with your posting title and include keywords
Your posting title is very very important, as it will be the first thing people see as they browse. Be as specific as you can in your title with respect to the brand and model number of the product. What would you rather buy, a 40” TV, or a Sony Bravia 40” HDTV? The second one is more appealing to me. Even if your product is not a famous brand, mention it anyway. It’s better than nothing.
This not only applies to electronics, but almost everything. There are tons of couches on Craigslist, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sell mine. My title specified “Ikea Klippan Couch”, rather than just “Couch”. I was amazed – I sold it in a day. If necessary, go online and do a bit of research on your product so you can write the best title possible.
Also, when someone does a keyword search on Craigslist, Craigslist looks for that keyword in the title. So, try to include as many words as possible that people will be likely to search for in your title. For example, the word “vintage” is a popular search term. If your product is indeed vintage, be sure to include that in the title!
5. Find the Accessories
A product is worth a lot more when it has all of the accessories with it, whether it is a vacuum cleaner, music instrument, or whatever. Scour your home for the original box, manual, remote control, attachments, and whatever else came with it, and mention it in your ad that you have these things. Include them in one of your photos as well. This will allow you to get the most money for the product.
Accessories that I included with my Roland D-50 keyboard
6. Clean it up
Before you take photos, clean up the product. If it’s washable wash it. Otherwise, wipe it down or clean it however you can. Get it looking like it belongs in a showroom if possible. Fix what you can without spending too much time or any money on it. This will help the photos, but more importantly it will help when the prospective buyer actually comes to take a look at the product. No one wants to buy a dirty product, even if it can be easily cleaned. Take a few minutes to spruce up your product.
For example, that black Ikea couch I was selling had accumulated tons of lint. I didn’t have a lint roller, so I just used some duct tape to pick up the lint and it made it look 100% better.
7. Tell us why you’re selling the item
People want to know why you’re selling the item. They want to make sure you’re not just trying to dump a lemon on them. Here are some reasons that you are selling an item that people like to hear:
You are just purchased a new version and don’t need this one gave up golf, or whatever activity is associated with the product, so you don’t need the golf clubs anymore.
Giving a good reason makes it clear to prospective buyers that you’re not just trying to unload something because it’s broken, defective, etc. That brings me to my next point.
8. Be honest about defects and condition
If the product has a defect or blemish, be honest about it in your description and photos, and price accordingly. Be honest about how long you’ve owned it, and how much you’ve used it. People will appreciate your honesty and enhance their opinion of you. No one wants to buy something from someone they don’t trust. It’s better that they see the issue in the photos rather that when they come to your home. Or worse, if they discover it after they buy it. After all, they know your email address, phone number, and where you live, right? Be honest – it’s the best policy.
9. Provide specifications and dimensions
Do a little bit of legwork and dig up the manufacturer’s specifications and description of the product and post them with your ad. Don’t make the customer do the research to find out the product specs because they probably won’t; they’ll just skip your ad.
For furniture, always provide the dimensions. People need to know if a piece will fit in their room.
10. Post in the late afternoon
Most people go on the Internet after work or school. There is a spike in Internet traffic at that time, so the best time to post your ad is around 5PM. If you post earlier, it could be buried below other ads by the time most people come home and go online.
11. Expect flakes and have backup buyers
Craigslist has a high percentage of flakes. I’d say at least 50% of the time, when someone agrees to buy something, they don’t show up or it falls through for one reason or another.
So, don’t hide your ad as soon as you have an interested buyer. Keep it displayed until you get a few more lined up in case the original buyer doesn’t show up, which, like I said, is about half the time or more.
Also, don’t agree to hold an item for someone who might not even show up. If someone can pick it up right now, let them. It’s first-come, first-serve.
12. Post in college towns – students need cheap stuff
If you live near a big college with lots of out-of-town students (i. e., not a community college) post your items in that area. Students moving in are always looking for cheap furniture quickly. When I lived in Providence, RI (a college town with Brown University), it was amazingly easy to sell cheap furniture, including a cheap Ikea couch.
I sold this used Ikea couch in about a day on Craigslist in Providence, RI, a college town
In Los Angeles, it’s much more difficult, and I ended up having to give away an expensive leather couch set.
13. Post a new ad for the same item
Ads get the most views when they are first posted. I’ve definitely noticed a lot of interest right after I post an ad, and then it dies down over time as the ad sinks down in the feed.
Therefore, you’ll get more views if you post a completely new ad instead of just renewing an old ad. Try varying the headline and text.
Just a warning though, I would recommend waiting at least 48 hours before posting another ad for the same product. Craigslist could block you if you keep re-posting the same item using different ads too often.
14. Don’t display your phone number
I used to recommend posting your phone number to get text messages. When I’ve done that, I’ve definitely gotten more interested buyers. Furthermore, people who contacted me through text messages were quicker to respond than emailers.
So why am I no longer recommending it? The answer is scammers.
You’ll get way more scammers (from all around the world) contacting you through text compared to Craigslist’s messaging system.
You’ll even get scammers when you’re trying to give something away for free! Recently when I was advertising a free TV, someone texted me and asked if they could send me a code to prove that I was a real person. I went along with it and got a Google Voice signup verification request. That means they tried to sign up for Google Voice using my telephone number; Google then sent me a 2-factor auth code, which is what he was asking for. Of course, I blocked him after that!
15. Do not accept money orders, checks, or cashier’s checks! Cash only!
Let me say this again: Craigslist is full of scammers.
When I tried to sell some higher-priced furniture, I got a ton of texts and emails from scammers who wanted to buy my item by sending a check or cashier’s check. These were suspicious because they mentioned the full name of the item in their message (i. e., “Chateau d’Ax Italian Leather Sofa and Love Seat” instead of “the sofa”) and they were eager to buy without seeing the item. No real buyer would want to buy without seeing the item!
Only accept cash for the items that you sell! Otherwise, they will give you a bad check which seems to clear at first, but later after you’ve sold the goods the bank will send you a letter saying it’s fraudulent. See this article for more details on this scheme.
While Craigslist is a great tool, you need to be careful as a buyer or seller. If you meet someone, meet in a public place if possible. If not, bring a friend along. Take commonsense precautions.
I hope these tips were helpful to you. You can use most of these techniques on ebay or any other online sales channel as well. Do you have any other ideas? What has worked for you? Please share! – Brian
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7 Ways to Improve Your Craigslist Ad | Zen Den Web Design Blog
MARKETING & BRANDING
By: Chad Bell
Craigslist can be a great source for new customers once you learn to create and manage your ads effectively. Zen Den’s Craigslist ads prompt at least 25 calls each week and the majority of these calls become solid leads.
So how can you generate a solid stream of leads from your CL ads? This article outlines what we do here at Zen Den to create effective ads.
1. Look at Other Ads – and Take Notes
Pay special attention to those ads that are offering similar products or services to yours. This will help you generate ideas for your ads as you learn what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. There is a lot of poor marketing and advertising out there. If you pay attention, you can avoid becoming a contributor.
2. Gain Ad Presence – Create as Many Craigslist Accounts as You Can
The frequency at which you are able to post your ads increases with the number of accounts you accumulate. Keep them at the top of the daily posts. In order to post an ad in the services section of CL, you must create an account and verify it with a phone number. The problem is you can only have one account associated with each number, so you will have to get creative here if you want to have more than one.
3. Create Many Unique Ads
CL prevents you from posting identical ads. But don’t consider this as a drawback, as it allows you to experiment with your ad copy. Take advantage of this feature by taking different approaches to pitch your products or services and then post these ads in separate categories. Alternatively, if you have little time or resources, you can still create several ads for each of your CL accounts by slightly tweaking the copy of your original.
4. Know Your Audience
Create a great title for your ad by including words that Craigslist users use in their search. Don’t use all caps, I know its tempting, but I feel that it is more effective to only capitalize the first letter of each word. And avoid unnecessary use of keyboard characters.
We’ve all seen this before: “!!!!!!! THE BEST COMPUTER REPAIR!!!!!! ”
Now compare that to: “Quality and Reliable Computer Repair Service”
One of these communicates professionalism – I’ll let you decide which.
5. Give Your Ad a Make-Over
Utilize the images and HTML options for your ads. You can easily give your ads more pop by changing the font size, type, and color. More importantly, including your business logo and other relevant images from your website will strengthen your brand recognition and identity.
6. Go Old-School
If you want serious inquiries, then you have to encourage them to call, not just send an email. We learned this the hard way from the 50+ emails/day we used to receive inquiring only “how much for a website”. We found that it was almost always a total waste of time to respond to this type of inquiry, so why not eliminate it if you can?
Check HIDE in the ‘reply to’ field when creating ads. Then, prominently display your phone number in the ad. You can also include a clickable image that links to your website, and create a contact form that requires a name and phone number. So, if a visitor wants to contact you they have 2 options: call or fill out the contact form on your site. These tactics serve to weed out non-serious inquiries. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity.
7. Include Keywords in the Footer
When creating our ads, we first brainstormed a bank of keywords using tools such as the Google Keyword Tool and Wonder Wheel. After determining which words CL users are likely to use when searching for web services, we reduced the font size and then placed them in the footer of our ad. By incorporating these tags, our ads will get caught in a much wider search net than it would have otherwise.
One of the huge upsides to Craigslist is that it doesn’t cost you anything. But along with that comes the downside; greater user-volume. In other words, you’ve got competition. So, whether you are selling cars, offering massage, or teaching music, your ads need to stand out from the crowd. Take the extra time to create better ads and the effort will pay off. As always, if you have anything to add, agree or disagree with anything we write here at Zen News, leave us a comment!
Frequently Asked Questions about craigslist more ads by this user
How do people put multiple ads on Craigslist?
How do I get more attention on Craigslist?
7 Ways to Improve Your Craigslist AdLook at Other Ads – and Take Notes. … Gain Ad Presence – Create as Many Craigslist Accounts as You Can. … Create Many Unique Ads. … Know Your Audience. … Give Your Ad a Make-Over. … Go Old-School. … Include Keywords in the Footer.
What is the best day of the week to post on Craigslist?
Hour of the Day “Cracking the Craigslist Code” discovered that two times work best during the week and one on the weekend for real estate ads. The authors recommend posting during the employee break time slot of 10 am to noon, or at 5 pm Monday through Friday, when the work day ends for most people.