Cracking the Craigslist Code – Ad Maker Tool Review
As a Tech Savvy Agent you probably already have a decent website or blog. You may also have a decent CRM system for handling all your leads. But do you have an effective way to get traffic/leads to your website?
Some of the strategies to get traffic include social media engagement, Facebook ads, Google ads, lead generation services, and SEO experts, all of which take time and/or money, but I am starting to believe the best ROI by far is the use of FREE online classified sites (ie. Craigslist, Oodle & Backpage).
Craigslist is the 9th most visited website in the US with millions of visitors a month. It’s still FREE to post a real estate ad, but it requires significant effort to create and keep your ads up on the top of the list.
Last week I met with a couple of Craigslist posting experts to review the most effective way to get buyer leads from Craigslist. They became experts through months of testing thousands of ads for a real estate agent who wanted a cheaper and easier way to get more traffic to his website. If they would not have impressed me during our 2 hour pow wow then you guys would never even be reading this!
Here is what they have found to be the keys to a highly responsive Craigslist ad…
- Compelling Headline
- Use Geo-Targeted Keywords
- Short Descriptive Bullet Points
- Contact Information
- Call to Action
- Link to the Property Information
- 2nd Link for List Building
- Tracking Code so you can determine your ROI
Once they discovered the keys to a responsive ad, they created a system to automate the effort as much as possible. They call it Ad Maker Tool and I’ve arranged a special FREE 14-day trial for you. (See details below but I was adamant about no credit card needed, no contract if you keep it, if it works it works right?)
One of the key features of their system is that it creates multiple unique ads for each property which can be posted on a regular basis without deleting older ads. The more ads you have active in Craigslist, the wider your “net” and the more traffic you’ll get.
Let’s take a closer look at this tool and how it works.
When you first log into your account you will see a dashboard of your up to the minute stats. The ads created by Ad Maker Tool automatically track your ad views and click thrus to your website and are presented in real time. If you are doing any type of online marketing and not using analytics like these stop now and cash in. How will you ever now if your time is well spent without TRACKING.
You will also see your stats broken out by each property you are advertising. This gives you an idea of which type of properties and areas are most popular for buyers.
You can even drill down to the ads posted for each property to share with your seller and show them the activity they are receiving. Helpful if you need to convince them of a price reduction when they are getting traffic but no interest. Also helpful at a listing presentation when you can show them the additional exposure their home will receive.
When you are ready to post an ad, the system creates a unique version of your ad in an HTML format with built in tracking code. In less than a minute, you simply copy and paste into your Craigslist account and post it.
Above is what the Craigslist ad looks like when posted. Each ad is branded with your agent information. This can make you the “expert” in different areas. For example if you deal with “short sales” or “foreclosure” listings you can brand yourself appropriately.
Less is more.
You’ll notice the ad is not “pretty” and that’s on purpose. Their testing showed a substantially higher CTR (Click-Thru Rate) than a “pretty” flyer type ad with pictures and all the property details. Check out the Google Analytics screen shot below for proof in the pudding that the “sexier” ads did indeed generate LESS traffic than the plain text ads that Ad Maker Tool created. I was also concerned about the quality of the traffic but at 3.44 page views per visitor I can assure you that is better than most agents are getting currently(I asked a bunch on our Facebook Page and the average was below 3).
Not to leave anything out, they figured out how to have the image tag show up on the high level list of ads so they get more views. They don’t recommend having pictures in the ads themselves which goes against conventional wisdom but when your approach is Hub and Spokes and your site is the hub the pictures of course will be there…it makes them click thru to your site to see the pictures plain and simple.
So that’s it, simple yet powerful. I was very impressed and more so when they shared some of their customers’ website stats with me (see below). Each of these agents has agreed to be contacted as they are that passionate about the success they have seen with the Ad Maker Tool. In this “World of Mouth” environment we are in I know it helps me feel better spending money when I have gotten a referral from a colleague.
From current Ad Maker Tool customer Mike Cribbin’s website…
“I have been trying to find something like this for over a year. WOW!!! It does more than what you say it will do. I tested it with 10 listings and have couldn’t be happier…I was getting AdViews in just minutes and then ClickThrus and then more and more…– IN 3 WEEKS TIME I HAVE HAD 6381 Adviews and 2101 Click Thrus to my website. I have gained 4 listings and 5 buyers so far from this tool…I am set to close my 1st and 2nd deals next week from calls I received because of all the exposure on Craigslist…Please, if anyone has any questions just have them call me.” Mike Cribbin – www.CribbinRealty.com – 636-294-6061
From current Ad Maker Tool customer Scott Cearley’s website…
“I wanted traffic to my website and that’s exactly what I got with Ad Maker Tool. As a Realtor, I knew that I had to master internet marketing for new clients and now I have a pipeline of leads generated directly from using the Ad Maker Tool. In the last week, I made appointments with 4 new clients – Thank you!!!” Scott Cearley Mid America Property Partners www.stcharlesforeclosureguy.com 314-583-5202
And some additional comments from some of their other customers…
“…my Craigslist results are phenomenal. This is the best product I have used to bring traffic to my website. In less than 1 week I have surpassed the traffic on my site for the past 3 months and that includes my initial site launch. In less than a week I have received 680 AdViews and 128 ClickThrus, with 2 leads. Amazing, Amazing! Now my site is actually a tool… I am going to cancel some other advertising that I was spending over $200/month and have received virtually no hits and no leads…I am a believer in the Ad Maker Tool. It really works!” Antonio Worsham Coldwell Banker United, Realtors® www.aworsham.com 704-821-5828
“…all around it’s been huge impact on my business. It gives me real numbers to present to my listing clients on their property activity and we were able to take my brand new site to over 5,083 visitors a month.” Don Johnson – RE/MAX www.stlhomelink.com 636-293-1172
“…Just wanted to let you know that we’ve had the Ad Maker Tool for less than two weeks and we have our first client, (sale and purchase). I’ve tried to place craigslist ads before and just got frustrated with being kicked out because my ad was similar to one previously placed. This is the answer to my problem and it efficient.” Carol Becker – JerryBecker & Associates
As I mentioned before I’m very impressed with what I saw from the AdMakerTool team but I wanted something special for our community at Tech Savvy Agent so they have agreed to a special 14-day FREE trial for you to try it yourself. No credit card needed, just get it and give it a shot. If you keep it you pay month to month, no term commitment.
FYI – After the initial launch of the Ad Maker Tool, the team decided that too many agents from the same geographic area posting ads with their system would cause the overall response rates of their customers to suffer. Therefore, they have limited the number of users by Craigslist area. You will be able to see instantly if your area is still available when you register for the free 14 day trial.
Click Here for your FREE 14-day trial of the Ad Maker Tool and PLEASE keep me posted on your successes.
If you have any questions for their team or me please feel free to leave those in the comments below.