5 Tips for Lead Generation with Craigslist

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty

Craigslist can be a great place to advertise listings and generate buyer leads. I have extensive experience posting listings on Craigslist. Here in the Seattle area I have seen some agents and brokerages have great success, but there are some important factors to consider.

1. If your focus is to generate leads (as opposed to trying to sell a particular listing) be aware that you will need a significant number of listings to achieve the critical mass required for consistent lead flow. Seattle has a few brokerages and marketing facilitators who mass-produce CL ads, posting several hundred each day, thousands per month. Offer to post the listings of other agents in your office. They get free advertising, and you get the leads. Try to get at least 25. The more, the merrier...

2. Craigslist caters predominantly to renters, first-time buyers and bargain hunters. If your listings and keywords cater to that crowd you will have better results. 

3. Be prepared for spam. Lots and lots of spam.

4. Less is more. It has been my experience that the best results come from the simplest, basic format CL ads. I have tried creating e-fliers on postlets.com in the past, with mixed results. Postlets are great looking, no doubt. The problem is the Craigslist audience. Buyers who WANT an agent usually know wher to find one, and then get their listings from an MLS-fed website, or vice-versa. Those who DON'T will use sites and tactics that help them work around agents, ie. craigslist. So be careful... You might get some calls, but they may very well already have an agent or be trying to avoid one. Also, bargain hunters are looking for a needle in a haystack, not a neon-lit billboard that anyone can see. If your ad is too polished, you will risk turning people off. Keep it simple. Use the basic CL format, with a well written description and good looking pictures.

5. Keep up on your re-posting. This is probably the most important thing to remember. If you aren't re-posting your ads regularly, you might as well not be posting them at all. You should be able to re-post them every 24-48 hours, provided you change the heading enough to sneak past the Craigslist system rules. Make sure you search for your listing after posting to make sure it went through.

Of course, there are numerous other factors that will impact your success with Craigslist, especially in regard to your particular market area. Craigslist is popular for different uses in different places.  Do people in your market look for houses on CL? Maybe, maybe not. These tips listed here are, in my experience, universal. It's certainly worth a shot...after all, it's free! (for now...)


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Harry F. D'Elia 11/02/2009 05:08 PM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
lead generation

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Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Those are some great tips Rob.  I post on Craigslist, but really don't expect much but a lot of spam.  Perhaps I will do better with these ideas.  Thank you.

Oct 25, 2009 11:27 AM #1
Gary Swanson
Century 21 Harris & Taylor - Grants Pass, OR


I think you have just shown me something that I've been wondering about.  I had a listing on Craiglist that I just entered manually and got tons of calls and then once I found out about Postlets, I polished up my presentation and posted it on Craigslist through the Postlets link, and I stopped getting as many calls.  I appreciate your suggestion and I'll try to dumb it down a little bit.

Oct 25, 2009 11:31 AM #2
Scott Miller
Realty Associates! - Boca Raton, FL

Three (3) sales, $1,069,000 gross in September from craigslist.  

Make sure you donate to their non-profit or at the very least, buy some of their promotional goods after each and every deal you do from their site.  It's only right.

Love 'em.

Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL

Oct 25, 2009 11:31 AM #3
Carrie-Lynn Macleod
Remo Valente Real Estate (1990) Limited - Windsor, ON

That was a great informative post.  Thank-you.

Oct 25, 2009 11:37 AM #4
June Tassillo
Owner/Broker RE/MAX Elite Realty - Franklin, NC
Let me help you with the next phase of your life!

Rob ~ I have sold Real Estate off of Craig's List in the past.  I do post there but I too hate all the spam that comes with it. I figured that out to change the heading to get my listing back up there. 

I never really thought of focusing on leads instead so thanks for the tip!

Oct 25, 2009 11:45 AM #5
John Rakoci
Eagle Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
North Myrtle Beach Coastal Carolinas

I use Craigslist but expect very little from it. You are correct- bottom feeders abound. The 3 spam filters allow a little through,  but not an unmanagable amount. I use eProperty or my website templates with the listings there. Just 1 more method of getting the word out.

Oct 25, 2009 11:45 AM #6
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA

Rob, We've used CL with great results over time. I hear this are now 3rd party analytics to monitor results.  That's something I'd like to check out as well. Thanks

Oct 25, 2009 05:31 PM #7
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