1. Whoa! – you said this was a masters class. Creating a Craigslist account is simple.2. This is truly a relationship. Ups and downs, love and hate. For all you people that would give out 867-5309 as their personal phone number this pertains to you.3. Do not use a VOIP phone – Craigslist has known documented issues with phone verification on a VoIP lines.
We’ll show some examples of portfolios with different strategies and how that reflects in their results.
Product – Truthfully list your property. No pool pictures if you don’t have a pool. Price – You have to state a price on Craigslist. Make sure it is a price for an available unit and accurate. No teasers.Place – Complete the location and cross street fields. People want to click on the Yahoo/Google maps options and see the location immediatelyPromotion– Put yourself into the mind of the consumer. If someone is wasting your time with false advertising you will flag them. Also, make sure you add every sales contact channel (email, phone, address).
Craigslist Masters Class
Craigslist Masters ClassWith Eric R. Broughton, President & COO of Yield Technologies
Presenter: Eric R. Broughton • President and COO of Yield Technologies, Inc. • Co-Founder and Visionary behind RentSentinel, YieldVision and RentSocial • Second to Andy Hamilton in knowledge of Craigslist for the apartment industry
Yield Technologies• History – Founded in 2007 – Headquartered in Chicago• Technology company specializing in the Multifamily Marketplace• Products: RentSentinel, YieldVision and RentSocial• Over 4,500 communities nationwide on our platform• 97% client retention rate• 8 of 10 largest REITS on the Yield Technologies platform• More than 1.5 million apartment units on platform• Comprehensive business solutions• Drive NOI and ROI
Typical ResultsIf you apply what you learn today I expect you to achieve thefollowing for your community:• Craigslist becomes your #1 or #2 lead source• Craigslist becomes the #2 source of new leases after referrals (or other)• Craigslist refers more people to your community website than all other sources combined
Craigslist• Craigslist dominates the market in facilitating face-to-face transactions.• 47 million unique users every month in the US – nearly a fifth of the nation’s adult population.• Reported annual revenues of $100M and just 30 employees.
Wired Magazine • “…the nation’s greatest apartment- hunting site, the first likely choice of anybody searching for a rental or a roommate” (Wired Magazine – September 2009) • “How much market share does this housing site have? In many cities, a huge percentage. It isn’t worth trying to compare its traffic to competitors’, because at this scale there are no competitors .”*
Poll QuestionIn your portfolio, where does Craigslist rank as asource for new leases? a) The number one source b) Top 5 source c) Top 10 source d) Statistically insignificant
Creating Your Account• Like any great relationship you need to start it off right – with honest intentions …. and with your real contact information• Create one account per community• Use your corporate email address• If possible use a cell phone that has never been used before and select the text option for phone verification• Create the account on the same computer that you expect to perform posts
Prepare Your Content• How much time do you truly have to dedicate to Craigslist?• Posting frequency will dictate the amount of content required• In advance you will need to have – Unique Titles – Text that accurately describes your community, floor plans and amenities – For each floor plan you will need Pricing, BR, BA, SqFt – Pictures• Use a tool created for the multi-family industry – Like RentSentinel’s Marketer! :)
Posting Correctly• Login to your account before you post• Try to use the same computer every time• Ensure that you are posting to the correct region• Do not post to multiple regions or in multiple Craigslist sections (apts/housing for rent, rooms & shares…)• If you post often enough you will be prompted to verify your phone – do it• If you are ghosted or blacklisted do not panic
What Makes an Effective Craigslist Ad?• All the ingredients that make an ad effective from Marketing 101 still apply to Craigslist: – Four “P’s” • Product • Price • Place • Promotion – Don’t try to be something you are not
What Makes an Effective Craigslist Ad?• Give the customer the information necessary to be knowledgeable about the product – Clean and crisp presentation with quick access to decision making information – Don’t be too wordy or too extravagant• Be present (and persistent) when the customer is looking to make a purchasing decision – On Craigslist, the only way to do this is to post often (within reason)• Do not lose the privilege to post
Now That They Have Clicked on the Ad What Will They See?
Poll QuestionWhich ad performs better on Craigslist? a) Crisp and Clean b) Fun and Conversational
ChallengesSome of the pitfalls to avoid:• Flaggers• Spam• Fake Emails and other Scams• Blocking and “Ghosting”• Consistent posting and monitoring
FlaggersCraigslist lets users flag ads they deeminappropriate as a mechanism tomoderate the site. When an ad isflagged a certain number of times it isremoved by Craigslist.• Do not post more than once per hour• Vary your content• Do your best to not post for unit types that have zero availability• Do not post in multiple categories
Spam / PhishersOn Craigslist, along with leads comes spam and fake email (phishing). How we dealt with this problem: Capture more than 1 million.
Blocking• Craigslist also attempts to moderate spam and overposting - Unfortunately many of the means available are reactive and more like a sledge hammer than a scalpel• Certain posting practices such as, posting for multiple communities in multiple markets from the same domain will get you blocked because Craigslist thinks you are spamming• Don’t be afraid to reach out to Craigslist• Craigslist is publicly spirited and wants to maintain an efficient marketplace for facilitating face-to-face transactions• Do phone verification.
Poll QuestionHave you ever been blocked from logging intoCraigslist? a) No b) Yes and I am now unblocked c) Yes and I am still blocked
Ghosting• What is ghosting? • Oh, there’s my ad but why isn’t anyone calling?• Craigslist has not publicly admitted to this practice• Stop the haunting! • Vary your content • Stop posting so often • Take a break (~ 2 weeks) • Only use a single tool for posting • Use the same computer• Pretend you were Craigslist and had to deal with spammers and phishers
Measuring your Marketing Activity “I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The problem is that I don’t know which half” - J.C. Penney
Which Ad Types are Most Effective in Generating Traffic?Fancy or Simple Ads • Most statistics show that simple ads win the day but don’t let that keep you from trying different approachesCommunity & Floor Plan Descriptions • Two to three sentences with solid key words and SEO quality information will result in more leadsInclude Links? • 100% yes. Definitely include links to your property, Facebook and Youtube account if you have confidence in those sites.Community Focus vs. Unit Focus Go with your strengths but make sure that if you are focusing on the value of a particular unit type that you have availability
Style Success • Template structure that produces the optimal results • Generally the simple “No Template” templates deliver the best results but keep in mind that the sparse content is designed to drive prospects to ask more questions
Template Success• Templates are the implementation of styles and give you the ability to determine the optimal color, font, banner & background• Best if run for an individual community
Successful Style Template Low Profile with Photos Example
Manage GhostingMuch like pricing through market survey’s it is important to know how your competitors are doing
Manage GhostingIf you are a group that needs to post often you need to have a lot of content ready to go
Fine Tune Your AdsLook for outliers in additional analytics • Description success • Photo success • Feature success • Price successLook at the results as a whole over time• When you see a favorable result do not duplicate exactly but instead create variations of the success trait• Keep on trying different ideas and strategies
Key Takeaways• Craigslist can be your #1 source for lead generation with the right posting strategy in place• More importance on a consistent posting strategy than on slick presentation• If you have a Craigslist tool to support you; use reports to fine-tune your posting strategy• If you get in trouble please feel free to contact our team at anytime