Real Estate Marketing System


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A Proven, Easy-to-Follow System that Can Provide you with Free Craigslist Leads by Tonight!

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Real Estate Marketing System

  1. 1. Generate 100’s of Free Leads in 6 Easy StepsA Proven, Easy-to-Follow System that Can Provide you with Free Craigs List Leads by Tonight! By Josh Schoenly
  2. 2. Generate Thousands of Free Leads in 6 Easy Steps Copyright © 2009 By Josh Schoenly. All rights reserved. Robert Minton is a licensed Real Estate Professional in the state of Pennsylvania. He is not a licensed attorney, tax advisor, or any other licensed professional. Anyone consideringimplementing these ideas and plans are advised to seek professional advice concerning any legal and tax matters. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means without the express written permission of the author. Printed in the United States of America
  3. 3. Chapter IndexIntroduction: Welcome to the World of Free Leads!Step 1 – Create an Account ……………………………… 6Which CraigsList Starting Option is Best?Multiple Accounts“Flagging” and “Ghosting”Quick RecapStep 2 – Choose Your Campaign .…………………….. 16The One Big Question when choosing a campaignWhy Separate Campaigns?Use the Buzz to Your AdvantageCraigsList Campaigns that WorkQuantity vs. QualityQuick RecapStep 3 – Create Your Campaign ……………………… 23How to Create Variations of the Same AdWhat Ad Fields Are the Easiest to AlterA Sneaky Little TrickGet More Clicks on Your AdsA Call to ActionCapturing LeadsQuick RecapStep 4 – Implement (Post) ……………………………. 44Results Follow Action, so ImplementDon’t Do What I DidMore Tips to Avoid Flagging and GhostingTiming is EverythingWeekend WarriorsActually Posting Your AdQuick RecapStep 5 – Follow up ………………………………………… 53How to Convert Leads Generated into Commission IncomeShort-Term vs. Long-Term … Sell Now and LaterIt’s a Numbers GameLead Conversion MethodsAuto-RespondersTours and Seminars © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 1
  4. 4. Relationship-BuildingQuick RecapStep 6 – Track and Improve ………………………………… 69What You Measure ImprovesTest and TrackHeadlines and Other VariablesYour Squeeze Page ConversionBeing Lazy Costs Thousands of DollarsQuick RecapConclusion: Time to Get Started!…………………… 97 © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 2
  5. 5. Introduction Welcome to the World of Free LeadsIf you’re reading this, you’re obviously interested in generating freeleads on CraigsList. Before I take you through, step-by-step, exactlyhow to achieve that, let me give you a little background on myself. Ithink you’ll see that you don’t need to be some kind of computerexpert or Internet genius to unlock the power of CraigsList for yourbusiness.I am a former teacher and athletic director. About five years ago, Igot started in the real estate industry by buying my first investmentproperty. While I was still teaching, I purchased multiple rentalproperties – I had some apartment buildings and did some “flips.”Late in 2006, when my wife and I had our first child, I had theopportunity to take a leave of absence from teaching. My idea was totake that leave and see if I could make real estate my full-timeprofession. And luckily, things worked out and here I am today.But when I took that leave, I was primarily thinking that I was goingto be a full-time investor. I was going to continue to buy propertiesand live off the rental income and the income generated throughturning properties over – buying and fixing them – and selling them.Before long, I had somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 units andwas managing them myself. It’s not my favorite thing to do, managerental properties. But I was doing that myself and, unfortunately, Ihad vacancies much more frequently than I would have liked.One of the things that I started to use to fill my vacancies, whichreally became my primary way of generating leads to fill myvacancies, was this thing called CraigsList. And I can still rememberhow I stumbled onto it.A buddy of mine, who is also an investor (now also a real estateagent) had this old, beat-up set of drums sitting in his living roomwhen I was visiting one day. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 3
  6. 6. I went in, saw them and asked, “What are you doing with thesedrums?”“Well these tenants of mine, they just left and they left these drumsin the property,” he said.I said, “OK, so you’re just going to leave these sitting in your livingroom, or are you going to take up the drums?”He said, “No, I’m going to sell them on CraigsList.”“You’re going to what?” I asked. “Sell them to whom?”And so he explained to me, “CraigsList is this free site, and you cansell stuff on it and lots of people go there and check it out.”So that’s how I was introduced to it. That same night, I got onlineand started playing around and trying to figure out what the site is. Iguess you could say I was hooked immediately.I was struggling a little with vacant properties, so I started to useCraigsList to generate leads for my vacancies. And it quickly becamethe No. 1 way that I was filling my vacancies, for two reasons: 1. It was free. 2. I was getting far better results than with the ads I was doing in the newspaper.While I had plenty of success using CraigsList to fill vacancies, Irealized not long after becoming a “full-time investor” that incomefrom my rental properties was not going to be enough to support myfamily.So I turned to something known as “wholesaling.” A simple definitionof “wholesaling” would be “putting buyers and sellers together,”similar to how a real estate agent would work. However, thedifference – and the reason I was able to do it legally, without alicense – was I was a principal in the transaction. Wholesaling iswhat I did to supplement my income.When I started that endeavor, I truly began to realize that I reallyneeded to become an expert marketer. I needed to learn more aboutmarketing because I hadn’t really focused a lot on it, and I learned © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 4
  7. 7. very quickly that it was going to be of major importance in thewholesaling business. So I really started to immerse myself inmarketing information of all kinds.Because I didn’t have a lot of money and I didn’t have a true“budget” set aside, I kept playing with this CraigsList thing to try tokeep a steady stream of buyers for the wholesaling business.I also had some success with it in finding sellers, so, like when I wastrying to fill vacancies, CraigsList became the primary source of myproperty sales.When I say “primary,” I mean 75 percent to 90 percent of theproperties I was selling came from either people who wereresponding directly to an ad put out specifically to sell a property, orpeople who had signed up originally for a list from CraigsList.I easily generated over a hundred thousand dollars in netincome in a relatively short time, just from working buyersand some sellers on CraigsList.It wasn’t easy, mind you. I spent a lot of time, a lot of trial-and-error hours in front of a computer, making CraigsList work for me.But over time, I learned ways to streamline the process. I tested andtweaked. Eventually, I had a system that gave me consistent,predictable results. I was able to build a huge list of buyers withoutspending all my time in front of the computer.In fact, in the last three years, I’ve generated more than 7,000 freeleads on CraigsList using the system outlined in this book.It’s this system that allowed me to generate enough leads to putbuyers and sellers of real estate together before I had my license,and it’s the same system I use today as an agent to generatehundreds of free leads each and every month. High-quality,responsive leads.It’s the same system I’m going to show you in this book. I willexplain to you how to avoid my mistakes, give you all kinds ofshortcuts and teach you how to generate hundreds of free leadseach month for your business. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 5
  8. 8. I think it will have a profound impact on your business, and it’ssomething you can put into play quickly.Like I said, you don’t have to be an Internet marketing expert orcomputer genius to use this system – I sure wasn’t when I started.So let’s get YOU started! © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 6
  9. 9. Step 1 Create Your AccountCraigslist ( is kind of like one of those garagebands that start playing school dances and wind up selling platinumalbums. What began as a smallish site with a loyal but relativelysmall following has evolved into a widely used, high-traffic site thatcan easily drive prospects to your side business at no cost to you.There are similar sites out there now, but nothing has yet comeclose to knocking the original off its perch.CraigsList started in the mid-1990s in San Francisco, when a mannamed Craig Newmark created an email list of friends to let themshare news of events going on – one of the earliest social networkingideas to go online. It grew and grew and now gets something like 20billion page views per month, making it one of the world’s biggestweb sites.CraigsList earns revenue solely from selling paid job ads in biggercities, but its primary use remains as a free classified service forprivate users. It’s the biggest classified medium in the world, free tomost users, and many, many people make their buying decisionsfrom ads on this convenient, simple service. Maybe you’ve bought orsold something on CraigsList.When you go to, you can immediately start postingads, which brings us to the title of this first step, “Create anAccount.”You don’t necessarily have to create an account in order to post anad on CraigsList. You could simply go through the posting process,enter an email and have your ad published. Maybe you’ve done thisbefore.You just enter an email address, hit “submit,” and the site will sendyou an email with a link that, if clicked, will make your ad go live.This process, this manner of posting ads, is not the one Irecommend. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 7
  10. 10. Yes, it’s simple. But the problem with this approach is that if youwant to delete an ad, edit an ad or re-post an ad – which are criticalcomponents of the system I use and vital to consistent results –then you have to save all those ads offline and sort through all thoseemails the site sends you. It becomes a time-consuming and verytedious procedure.Even if you don’t plan to use CraigsList quite as extensively as I dofor buyer leads in my business, I still encourage you to go anotherroute.To use CraigsList effectively to generate free leads for your business,the first step – as simple as it sounds – is to… Create an AccountFrom the main page of the site, select your area from the list ofoptions. Then click on “My account” from the links near the top ofthe left-hand side of the page. You will be taken to a login page.From there, click on the link that says “Click here to sign up.” Thenjust type in the information it asks.Really, all you need is an email address. That means that you canhave as many accounts as you have email addresses. And with allthe free web-based email options out there, it’s easy and quick toset up multiple email addresses in order to set up multiple accounts.Why multiple accounts? There are a couple of reasons. One, we willget into in a minute. The other will be covered in Step 3.Once your account is up and running (you will get an e-mailconfirmation to that effect), you will be able to start posting ads.Seems easy enough, right? Well, there are a couple of things Ishould tell you about here.First, it says above to “pick your city.” Let me tell you about myexperience with that.I’m from a relatively small area of central Pennsylvania. It’s thestate capital, Harrisburg, but our population in this area is not huge. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 8
  11. 11. It’s not a major city. So there are only so many people that are onmy local CraigsList site.What I did to combat this rather small audience was to post to allthe larger cities that are in relatively close proximity to my hometown. This worked to get my posted ads in front of more people,more sets of eyeballs, but it also meant setting up separate accountsfor each metropolitan area.You might be in the same position with your business, which meansyou will be faced with the same challenge. You can elect to post onlyin your immediate local area, which might not have a hugepopulation, or you can set up accounts and post ads in severalsurrounding areas that might have larger populations.I am not going to try to sway you one way or another here. I will saythat my experiences early on with posting in multiple areas led tosome problems.For example …I would get up early in the morning, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.depending on the day, and I would post all these ads thinking “I gotthat out of the way.” But there are a couple of things wrong withthat.The way CraigsList works, for those of you who don’t know, is whenyou first place an ad, your ad is at the top of the list. At 6 a.m., myads would on top, very visible.The problem is not many people are getting up at 6 in the morningto look for houses.When I posted to larger cities, by the time there would be optimumtraffic to CraigsList, my ad would be buried. Depending on what areayou’re in, you’re going to have different numbers of ads. You mayhave one page of ads on your local area, which is the equivalent ofone page.But there are some cities with several pages of new ads each day,literally several hundred ads. So my ads in the larger populationareas would get buried very, very quickly. You want to be on thefirst page of results, and ideally you want your ad to be above the © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 9
  12. 12. point at which you have to scroll down to view the bottom half of thepage.Even though I was getting these leads, it took me several years toeven figure out that I was doing something completely off-basestrategically.So the lesson here is that if you’re going to set up multiple accountsto try to take advantage of larger population areas, keep in mind thetime at which you need to post in order to keep your ads mostvisible will vary. Here’s a screen shot of the page with your initialgeographic choices:Because I use CraigsList, I do check it frequently. I’ll go in from timeto time and I’ll see a single listing agent with, let’s say, 15 listings.They’ll go in and post all 15 of their listings all at once and do thesame thing that I did. They’ll do it first thing in the morning ormaybe they’re a night owl, so they do it at midnight. And then © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 10
  13. 13. they’re frustrated and don’t understand why they spent all this timeposting 15 ads and no one called.While we’re on the subject, let me point out something to alwaysremember: You want to be at the top of the list when the most people are searching.It’s a basic rule that should be taken into account whenever you aremaking a decision about advertising on CraigsList, including whatcities in which you open accounts.You want to be posting, ideally, during lunch time, when there’s a lotof traffic, people on their lunch break surfing. Also, after dinner is abig one. People sit down after dinner to look for a home or look forproperty. If you’re at or near the top of the page at these times, youare doing OK.We will go into this in greater detail in Step 4, but this basic idea ofbeing at or near the top of the page should be a factor in everydecision you make.Managing Your AccountThe great thing about having a CraigsList account is that when youlog in, all your advertising information is at your fingertips.All your ads are stored on the site – you can see them all when youlog in. You can delete ads, edit ads, re-post ads. And you can see ifyour ads have been “flagged.”“Flagging,” if you are unfamiliar with the term, is kind of aCraigsList-specific reference to ads that don’t conform to the site’sguidelines. The site’s administrators and users may flag ads theydeem prohibited, mis-categorized or considered “spam.” These adsare subject to removal.When you create an account, you can see if this is happening to yourads. You can make adjustments. Without the account, flagging canbe a problem that gets away from you, as you will often not evenknow it’s happening. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 11
  14. 14. Another CraigsList phenomenon is known as “ghosting.” This occurswhen you post an ad and click on the activation link to make it live,but it doesn’t appear on the site. You might think it’s posted, butnobody can see it. That’s no use, right? It’s even more frustratingthan flagging.And while the only way to know if you’re ghosted is to look at thelive site – your account summary list of ads won’t alert you – havingan account, for some reason, seems to reduce the number ofinstances you’ll be ghosted.Using this system, I have been flagged and ghosted much lessfrequently than when I was just a beginner, trying to feel my wayaround CraigsList in the dark.So believe me, creating an account, which you can monitor andadjust, is the right start for you. Without one, CraigsList can (andwill) police you, but you can’t keep an eye on, or “police” your ownads.Quick RecapWith this seemingly simple “Create an Account” step, you begin onyour way to free leads on Craigslist. Remember, creating an account,rather than just posting away, allows you to: 1. Manage your ads effectively. You can view, edit, delete and re- post ads all in one place. 2. Better avoid the problems associated with flagging and ghosting.Creating an account is quick and easy. In order to create youraccount: 1. Go to 2. On the main page, select your metropolitan area from the list of U.S. cities, or click on your state or country to see more options. Then choose the site nearest you. 3. From the left side, near the top of the page, select “My Account.” 4. Click the link that says “Click here to sign up.” © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 12
  15. 15. 5. Provide the information for which you are prompted. 6. You’ll receive a confirmation email at the address you provide. Click the link to CraigsList to confirm activation of your account, and you’ll be ready to go.Now we’re ready to move on! © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 13
  16. 16. Step 2 Choose Your CampaignIn the next chapter, Step 3, you’ll see that I create specificcampaigns for marketing on CraigsList. Before we get there,however, I want to explain to you the importance of choosing thecampaigns you’re going to use.There is one primary question you must ask yourself when choosingyour campaign or campaigns … What type of lead are you trying to generate?It seems a simple enough question, but it’s one that many realestate agents seemingly fail to ask themselves.Sure, in our business there is the obvious difference between buyerleads and seller leads. We can all recognize that – we farm andmarket differently for sellers and buyers. That’s with good reason.But there are also different types of leads within those groups, andthe untargeted, throw-enough-mud-on-the-wall-and-some-of-it-will-stick marketing approaches many agents employ are often a wasteof time, effort and money.For example, there are many different kinds of buyers, including … • First-time home buyers • Investors • Foreclosure bargain hunters • Multi-family buyers • Luxury home buyers • Vacation home buyersIf your goal is working with first-time home buyers, you wouldn’tmarket to luxury home buyers. The problem is, agents do what theyknow works. They don’t always adapt to the market, adapt to their © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 14
  17. 17. target audience. The marketing that would attract first-time buyerswill not generate a ton of luxury home buyer leads, but if that’s themarketing you know, you’re likely to use it anyway.Now, I’m not trying to pick on agents for their marketing; I’m justtrying to illustrate how important it is to choose the right campaignfor your CraigsList marketing.Back to our question … What type of lead are you trying to generate?Your answer might be that you want to generate ALL types of leads.Maybe you work in an area where there are a lot of vacation homesand luxury homes. Maybe you work with first-time home buyers andinvestors looking for distressed properties. That’s fine. The thing tokeep in mind, though, is … You want separate campaigns for each type of lead you are trying to generateAgain, you wouldn’t use the same kind of ads to generate luxuryhome buyer leads as you would first-time home buyers. So beforeyou start posting ads on CraigsList, you have to establish whatcampaign or campaigns you’re going to use.Foreclosures and Short SalesAs I write this, for example, foreclosures and short sales are at thefront of everybody’s minds. Foreclosure rates are everyday headlinesin the news; other agents and companies are advertising foreclosedproperties; and everybody’s got a story of somebody getting “steal”on an REO purchase or short sale.Since foreclosures are such a “buzzword” then, it’s something I wantto capitalize on as a marketer.Now, foreclosure buyers might not be the only leads I want togenerate, and advertising foreclosures will likely attract first-timehome buyers as well as investors, but I have chosen foreclosures(and short sales) as one of my campaigns for my CraigsListmarketing. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 15
  18. 18. In fact, my foreclosure and short sales buyers campaign is my No. 1campaign right now. That can certainly change in the future, andone of the best things about having a system for working CraigsListis that you can change your marketing quickly and inexpensively.Rent to OwnAnother campaign with which I have had success is for “rent to own”(lease option) buyers.This group of leads is made up of people who want to buy a homebut can’t qualify for a mortgage right now. As lending standardstightened after the subprime mortgage meltdown, this group ofhome buyers grew quite a bit.This group of leads is actually my second-best campaign. For me,personally, being an investor and working with other investors, theseleads make a lot of sense for my business.Just as separate campaigns for both buyers and sellers of distressedproperties help me meet demand with supply, it’s the same with myRent to Own campaign. I have investors looking for tenants orbuyers, and I have tenant/buyer leads looking for homes.This may or may not be ideal for your business, as every market isdifferent. I’m simply sharing with you that it works in mine.Luxury or Executive propertiesLike Rent-to-Own buyers, those in the market for executive estatesand/or luxury homes are a pretty specific type of lead. Keep in mindthat because of the system I use for CraigsList, I can easily tailor mymarketing to specific target audiences, such as this one.I have had success generating leads for buyers of luxury homes andlarger estates on CraigsList. Campaigns that generate these types ofleads don’t bring in the same volume of leads, but the tradeoff isthat one sale of an expensive property can provide a substantialcommission.Multi-Family and Apartment buildings © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 16
  19. 19. This category actually has many possibilities, all of which seem to begreat fits for CraigsList.You can be looking for apartment buyers – investors who areinterested in multi-family properties. If you do propertymanagement or provide tenant-placement services, you could targetpeople who are looking to rent housing. You can even go aftersellers, as there seem to be plenty of people – at least at the end of2009, when I am writing this – who are all to ready to sell theirproperties.The Other side of the CoinAnother great (and profitable) thing about choosing multiplecampaigns is your ability to use them together.For instance, my foreclosure and short sales campaign on the buyersside has given me a ton of leads, both investors and regular buyers,who are looking to purchase distressed properties. That means it isuseful to me to attract sellers of distressed properties, as well. ThenI have a supply of buyer and seller leads.These, of course, would be two separate campaigns. You generateforeclosure buyer leads with one campaign and generate distressedseller leads with another campaign.I personally work with both. Normally, in other media, separatemarketing campaigns for two opposite groups such as these wouldrequire considerable time, money and effort. With CraigsList, I don’tspend a ton of any of the three in order to create and manageeffective separate campaigns.I should tell you that I don’t generate the same number of sellerleads as I do buyer leads. There are several reasons for that,probably not the least among them being that there are more peopleon CraigsList looking to buy or rent than looking to sell.But I have done deals for which I have gotten both the buyer andseller lead through CraigsList.In fact, I recently completed a transaction for which I received a$15,000 total commission, and both the seller and buyer were leadsI generated on CraigsList. The entire process took just 45 days – © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 17
  20. 20. from the time my ad hit CraigsList to the day the money was in myhand – and I didn’t spend a penny to market this deal.When your ads are free, it keeps your cost-per-sale low!More IdeasAnother nice thing about CraigsList and having multiple campaigns isthat it’s easy and inexpensive to manage campaigns that are kind ofpegged to niches.For example, my list of rent-to-own leads might seem like a prettyspecific niche. And it is, though the number of people unable toqualify for a mortgage has grown lately. But since my campaign isfree and it doesn’t require a ton of my time, I’m not putting all myeggs in one basket, the way a typical print or television marketingcampaign might do.With my CraigsList system, I’m able to have pretty specificcampaigns, which lead to pretty specific types of leads, withouthaving to ignore larger parts of my business.For example, I have been able to use CraigsList campaigns to farmspecific communities and even individual subdivisions. Ordinarily,this sort of activity would probably not be income-producing enoughto spend time on.But since I’ve tested and tweaked ads and campaigns and knowwhat works, the time spent is minimal. Since the ads are free, myinvestment into more “specialized” prospects is literally only minutesof my time. In other words, with CraigsList, you can afford to“dabble.”And for me, a few minutes is a worthwhile investment to explorenew income streams.For example, by testing and trying a couple of different campaigns, Idiscovered a market for new-construction townhomes in an areanear me. I was able to pull sales from that trend that I normallywouldn’t have found. It’s not my bread-and-butter business … morelike gravy on top! © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 18
  21. 21. Quality vs. QuantityYour business is your business – it’s personal to you, just as mine isto me. So by sharing with you the information above, I am nottelling you what the focus of your real estate business should be. Iam merely conveying to you the types of campaigns that I haveseen first-hand work well on CraigsList.I have heard other agents say “Sure, you can get a bunch of freeleads on CraigsList, but they are low-quality.” I would say that ifyou’re getting “low-quality” leads on CraigsList, then you are doingsomething wrong.And it really does go back to the question “what kind of leads areyou trying to generate?”If you are trying to sell luxury homes and use the same ads orcampaigns you use to attract first-time home buyers – just as thecase would be in ANY medium – you are going to attract what seemto be low-quality leads. They are looking for first-time home buyer-type homes, starter homes, NOT executive or luxury homes. If youwere hunting deer in the woods, you wouldn’t be using a turkey call.It’s the same with marketing.I would say that if you have tried CraigsList and found you weregenerating low-quality leads, then it was likely a mismatch ofmessage to market. With very specific campaigns, CraigsListadvertisers must match their message to the audience they aretrying to attract. THAT is how you get high-quality leads onCraigsList.The less cheery side of that reality is the fact that you might not beoperating your business in the areas of expertise – niches – that pulla ton of leads.For example, if you’re like me and running simultaneous campaignsfor investors and foreclosure buyers, you are probably generating aton of leads.But if your business is not in those areas – say, for example it’sbeachfront vacation property and beachfront vacation property only– you will probably not get as many leads. It’s just a more narrowmarket area. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 19
  22. 22. But if your campaign is done properly, the leads you get should bevery HIGH-quality.One last word about quantity vs. quality: What may seem to you likea poor-quality lead now still has an ultimate value. They might notbuy now, but there is value in building a list of leads whether theyhave bought from you or not.The most consistently successful real estate agents are the oneswho: 1. Consistently generate many leads 2. Consistently generate high-quality leads 3. Follow up with those leads so they have a large database of responsive buyersNow, you might say you can’t do all three of those things withCraigsList, but I’m living proof that you can!Let me share with you a big mistake I see real estate agentsmaking. And I’m not trying to insult anyone here, just pointing outsomething I’ve noticed a lot on CraigsList.Agents are posting what I call the “same old, same old” kind of ad.They’re posting an ad that says, “Hey, I’m selling this three-bedroom, one-bath brick house that has 1,200 square feet and .32acres and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. If you’d like to see it, call meat this number.”That’s not going to get a maximum response. If I’m a buyer and I’mlooking at that listing, I’m not going to call.Using CraigsList ads as lead-generation tools has had a greaterimpact for me than trying to sell specific properties.And if you do sell specific properties, if that’s your main intentionwith this, I would actually recommend you give just very sketchydetails that kind of force prospects to call you to get betterinformation. Then you can start a conversation, start engaging them © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 20
  23. 23. and if that property doesn’t work, they may turn into a buyer foranother property.By choosing various campaigns, and by not necessarily trying to sellspecific properties, you will build various lists that contain manypotential buyers of any future properties you have to sell. Thisimpacts the long-term success of your business.Quick RecapTo maximize your CraigsList advertising, you must choose acampaign or campaigns that are effective means to your desiredend. So … 1. Ask “What type of leads do I want to generate?” 2. Pick campaigns that capitalize on buzzwords 3. Focus on quantity AND quality of leads, and think both short- term and long-term © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 21
  24. 24. Step 3 Create Your CampaignNow we’re getting into the meat and potatoes here. Not that the firsttwo steps aren’t important; they are. If this were a recipe, the firsttwo steps would be like gathering the ingredients and prepping yourkitchen. Now it’s time to turn on the stove and get cooking.With my system, once I decide what lead type I’m after, whatcampaign I am choosing, then I have to create the campaign.There are a couple of key components to start with, which I want toparticularly highlight.When you are creating ads in CraigsList, you have several fields thatyou have to fill out. You have spots to fill in information for: • Price • Number of bedrooms • Title of the ad • Location • The body of the ad • Address • PhotosI generally tell people that if they’re using some sort of classified adthat’s working for them in some other medium, that’s a goodstarting point for a classified ad campaign on CraigsList.To create a true campaign, we take the type of campaign we’vechosen, and we have to create variations of posts that fit thatcampaign. We need several variations of ads that fit the specificcampaign so that we can post multiple times (we will get into thedetails of actually posting a little later).What I teach with my system is to post a minimum of two times aday during the week and a minimum of once on the weekends. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 22
  25. 25. That’s a minimum. If you want to supercharge your results, certainlyfeel free to post more.The reason you need to create varying ads within each campaign issimple: To be effective, you must post multiple times per day eachday. And CraigsList regulations prevent you from posting the exactad – or even a very similar ad – within 48 hours.So what we have to do is create different ads, so that we can postthe same lead-generation message – but not the same ad – multipletimes. This is an absolute must if you want to consistently generateleads.So with that in mind, let’s go back to our list of various fields for aCraigsList ad. It’s these multiple fields that will allow us to makechanges to the same message so that it becomes multiple ads.The first thing we want to look at is the title field. Let’s use theforeclosure leads campaign as our first example.What you want to do is come up with possible titles of the ad thatessentially say the same thing, or very similar things, but in adifferent way. So a foreclosure campaign’s various titles mightconsist of the following titles: 1. Foreclosure listings 2. Bank Foreclosures 3. REO Listings 4. Public Notice – Must sell immediately 5. HUD homes 6. Corporate owned 7. Short sale 8. Motivated sellersYou probably get the picture. There are lots of titles you can use togenerate the same type of lead you want (remember, you askedyourself that question in Step 2!). The first thing you want to dowhen you’re creating a campaign is create variations of titles. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 23
  26. 26. The second thing, and it’s a little more difficult, is to createvariations of the body of the ad, the text within the actual ad itself.The reason I say this is a little more difficult is the simple fact that,as you can see above, it’s not difficult at all to come up with multipletitles. The other fields I listed that are available to you to change arekind of customized. It’s easy to use different prices, addresses,locations, number of bedrooms, etc. The variations take care ofthemselves.For example, let’s say you are generating leads for REO listings inthe town of Smallville. Well, Smallville is probably in a county. Soyou can vary the location field by using the county name here. Or ifthere’s a more general or more specific area – “Suburbs ofMetropolis” or “Old Town area” – you can use, it’s pretty easy.It’s a bit more involved to alter the actual body of the ad. After all,you want the message to be the same, and if it’s a good ad, youdon’t want to mess with it too much. In other words, you don’t wantto slap together poor ad just for the sake of being able to post itmultiple times. What you want to do is post multiple GOOD ads!For this, I teach what I call a “sneaky little trick.” It’s called “ImagePosting.”Image PostingNormally with CraigsList, when you make an ad, you have a headlinethat you put in. There’s a spot for the price, the location and soforth. Then there’s a body to the ad, which you typically will type intext.Here’s an example of the body of what might be a typical CraigsListad: MOTIVATED SELLERS Free List of Homes for Sale with Motivated Sellers. Includes Pictures. (123) 123-1234 © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 24
  27. 27. Well, my sneaky image posting trick allows you to do a couple ofthings.First, I found through experience that my ads get flagged much lessfrequently when I use image posting.Secondly, I’m able to essentially post the same ad. I basically makean image of the same ad, and post the entire image. To CraigsList,it’s a different ad, so I can post it more frequently. To me, it’s thesame ad.I’ll try and sketch this out for you.There’s a couple of ways you can do image posting, but I’ll just tellyou one simple way for now. If you have Microsoft Publisher orsomething similar – a desktop publishing program that allows forbasic page design – you can create your advertisement using thattool.Ideally, you would make it look like it would look in a CraigsList ad.You would type your details, probably want to even insert somepictures because pictures in ads pull much better than ads with nopictures.But the idea is that you can create this duplicate ad using, forexample, Publisher, and then you save it as a JPEG. A JPEG is just apicture, an image file.And then using a simple bit of HTML code, you literally just paste itinto your browser, make a couple of simple changes in the CraigsListposting, and you’ve got an identical ad that now shows up as animage versus regular text.If you don’t have Microsoft Publisher, you can use just about anyword processor layout software that allows you to save your file asan image. Or, if you use a program such as 5 Clicks( you can write an ad in any program and take ascreen shot to save as an image.Here’s an example of an image posting. As you can see, it’sessentially the same message as in the text ad above. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 25
  28. 28. So now you have two ads with the same message that you canrotate to get around CraigsList rules for not repeating posts within a48-hour period. But, wait, it gets even better.By using the same image ad, but varying your title, headline, price,location, etc., you are can actually create several different ads – notjust two.And once the ads are created, they are saved in your account. So,voila, you have a campaign.See why I call it a sneaky little secret?One more thing that bears mentioning here: Make sure that, in yourposting, you follow your state’s rules for real estate advertisement.As you see above, there is a spot for a company name. Maybe youjust have to disclose that you’re a broker. Whatever the case, makesure your posts – whether simply text or an image posting – followsthe rules. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 26
  29. 29. Also keep in mind that if you’ve created multiple accounts, you willhave to repeat this process of varying the ads for each campaign foreach account you have.This may or may not be worth the time for you. If you live in a lessdensely populated area, you might want to test an account in anearby larger area. The variations of ads will take a little time to setup, but it might be worth the time to have a larger audience.Or, you might end up not getting many more leads from anotherarea and decide it’s not worth the time to manage multiple accounts.Get More Clicks on Your AdsAnother thing to keep in mind when you’re putting together the adsfor your campaign is that, first and foremost, you want visitors tothe site to click on your ad. It doesn’t matter how effective the bodyis if everybody just skips clicking on the ad.The first key here, of course, is the headline. You must have aheadline that compels a reader to click on your ad. Otherwise, yourgreat message never gets delivered.With my system, there is a simple way to help your results in thatregard. Call it “Sneaky Little Secret No. 2.”You want to make sure that your headlines or subject lines ofyour ad are loaded with keywords that are relevant to thekind of leads you’re trying to attract.The little trick that I use to accomplish this is Google’s free keywordtool. If you go into Google ( and you search for“Google Keyword Tool,” the first result will be this little tool. Whatyou can do is type in a phrase, and it’ll show you how much trafficvariations of that phrase gets. What you’ll find is that a slightdifference in a phrase gets extraordinarily more traffic than a slightlydifferent variation of it.Here’s how that’s powerful, in two reasons. 1.If that particular phrase is very common, and people are typing it into Google – searching, for example, “free foreclosure listings” – and that phrase gets lots of traffic © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 27
  30. 30. on Google, it stands to reason that if you put that in your CraigsList ad, it’s going to also draw attention for the same reason. 2.The other big thing is, because CraigsList gets so much traffic, CraigsList ranks very highly in the organic results of Google. So let’s say somebody isn’t searching directly on CraigsList, but they go to Google and put in “free foreclosure listings Harrisburg, PA.” If your ad has that general content or those keywords in it, you are very likely to show up very highly in the organic results because CraigsList ranks very highly. So you get additional traffic that you wouldn’t have gotten because the people didn’t start on CraigsList, but the result came up and they ended up clicking through.I am not a computer expert, as I mentioned at the beginning of thisbook, so I don’t fully understand all the ins and outs of SearchEngine Optimization (SEO) but I know enough about it to understandit helps get clicks to your ads!Here’s a screen shot of the Google Keyword Tool, with comparisonon variations of “Foreclosure:” © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 28
  31. 31. You can tell from above that even though “Foreclosed Homes” and“Foreclosures” might seem really similar, about 43 million morepeople typed in the latter. That’s a big difference and one thatshould be paid attention to when posting your ads.Google Keyword Tool is really simple to use and, it’s very importantto start implementing that with your lead-generation ads. I foundthat a huge difference for me is loading up with keywords.Another good way to get your ad clicked more often is to usepictures. Whether it’s an image post, like I described earlier, or justa picture inside the ad, ads with pictures get more response.Here’s a screen shot from a CraigsList “real estate for sale” list. Youcan see that some ads say “Pic” or “Img,” which tells readers thatthere is a picture in that ad. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 29
  32. 32. Call to ActionAnother big mistake I see real estate agents make in their CraigsListadvertising – in addition to poorly timed posts and “same old, sameold” ads – is they are often lacking one very important element ofadvertising.The call to action.For me, “Call me if you want to see this property” is not a real call toaction. A call to action would be “Go here to sign up for this free listof foreclosure properties in so-and-so county.” That’s a call to action.“Call this 24-hour recorded message to sign up for a free list offoreclosure properties” – THAT’s a call to action.Every ad you post should have a call to action. If you’re writing anew ad, it might help to start at the end of the process. Ask “whatEXACTLY do I want the person reading this to do next?” Then, writethe ad so they do it.A call to action should be a part of any advertisement. It is especiallyimportant on CraigsList because, on the internet, people are oftenkind of just clicking around.You have to get people to take action. In order to do that, you haveto have a strong call to action. That is how you capture leads, whichis where we’re headed next.Capturing LeadsThere are basically four ways that I’ve used, and continue to use, tocapture leads generated by CraigsList ads: 1. A “squeeze page” If you don’t know what a squeeze page is, don’t worry – I’m sure you’ve seen one. They are the simple, one-page websites that offer something free – a list of foreclosures, for example – in exchange for a prospect’s contact information. Somebody lands on the page, enters their contact information and gets whatever it is you’ve promised them. I like it because it forces prospects to decide “yes or no” right then and there. And it’s an automated process. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 30
  33. 33. NOTE: Not to insult anybody reading this, butanother major mistake many real estate agentsmake with their online marketing is drivingprospects to a website that tries to do too much.We’ve all seen them. A fancy site with eight millionlinks and pictures, but no real way for a prospectto directly “opt in” to any marketing. The simple“squeeze page” is a much more practical (andprofitable) option. Below is a screen shot of asimple, one-page “squeeze page.”2. A 24-Hour Recorded Message – I’m sure many people already use this. It’s just a toll-free number that can be called anytime and contains a recorded message that offers, say, that list of foreclosed homes, and asks prospects to leave their contact information.3. A 24-Hour Live Answer Phone Number – Hold on, hold on; don’t roll your eyes just yet! I am not suggesting you answer your phone 24 hours a day. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 31
  34. 34. There’s a company called PatLive that I use that can be given a script and, 24 hours a day, will go through that script live with anyone who calls. PatLive takes the prospect through a script of questions, then e- mails you the lead in real time. 4. E-mail – You simply say “e-mail me for your free list” (or whatever it is you are offering.I’ve listed the above lead-capture devices in my order of preference.I like the squeeze page the best. That’s me, personally. You shoulddefinitely test the other mechanisms – they might make more sensein your business.This kind of marketing, by the way, is called “direct-response”marketing. It kind of goes against what you’ve been taught aboutbranding and name recognition and all that. But I have found that,especially with CraigsList, direct-response marketing is effective forselling homes and even more effective for building a database.Quick RecapNow that you’ve created an account and chosen a campaign, Step 3is the meat and potatoes – the creation of the ads you will use inthat campaign.Here are the general steps to follow: 1. Start with a classified ad. This can be as simple as the four- liner you run in your local newspaper. 2. Create variations of the same ad. You can accomplish this by swapping titles, location, price, address, body, etc. The purpose for multiple ads is to re-post more frequently than the 48 hours CraigsList allows for identical ads. You want to post at least twice a day during the week and once on weekends. 3. To use the same body but have CraigsList recognize ads as separate (allowing you to re-post more frequently), use Image Posting. Create an ad outside of CraigsList, save it as an image and simply post the image file into the CraigsList ad. 4. Use Google Keyword Tool to research variations of headline words that draw the most interest from online viewers. This will help to ensure more people read your ads. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 32
  35. 35. 5. Make sure you have a call to action. Direct prospects who click on your ad to do something, take the next step you want them to take. 6. Capture leads. This can be done with an online squeeze page; a 24-hour recorded message; a 24-hour live phone number; or a directive to email you.OK, now you have your campaign … time to start posting! © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 33
  36. 36. Step 4 Implement (Post)Not long ago, I heard a quote that I’m probably going to butcherhere. But to paraphrase: “Results follow action, and implementation is the key.”The main idea is that, great, we now have an awesome plan. But toachieve any results, we have to implement it.What you want to always remember – and you’ve already read itseveral times, but I am going to drive it home … • Post at least twice a day during the week • Post at least once on the weekendI cannot give you, in this entire book, any more succinct, basic orvital advice than this. What I can give you, so that you may avoid it,is a little taste of the trial-and-error I went through to arrive at thisconclusion.Like I said, when I first started getting into the sales side of realestate I was still relatively new to CraigsList.What I was doing was posting ads to many different cities becausemy area is a small area. My CraigsList area would be 400,000 or500,000 people, which isn’t a huge area. Not tiny, but not a hugearea. So I was posting in the bigger metros nearby.I was posting multiple times a day, and that became very, verytime-consuming. I was starting to get burned out. But I was makingmoney, I was seeing results, so I just kept plowing through.To help with the time-consumption, I started to use a postingsoftware that would help automate posts in CraigsList.I would not recommend this, and don’t go looking for postingsoftware because as far as I know, CraigsList has tried to crack down © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 34
  37. 37. on anybody creating that kind of software to interface with CraigsListbecause it kind of defeats their overall “grassroots” focus of theirsite.The first thing that happened when I was using this software wasflagging and ghosting, two frustrating concepts I explained earlier inthis book.If you post an ad and either the CraigsList system administrators orthe users, people on CraigsList searching, deem it to be “spammy”they can flag it, and it will get your ad deleted.Now, an administrator can just flag it themselves. But for users toflag it and get it removed, more than one person has to actually flagit. One person flagging your ad won’t get it deleted, but multiple will.It’s somewhere between two and four. I know because I’ve playedaround with it trying to flag my own ad.Which brings us to one little, ugly fact about the industry in whichwe real estate agents work…In our business, there are a lot of real estate agents out there, witha lot of time on their hands, and they hate to see other peoplesucceed. Unfortunately, there are what I would call less-than-ethicalfolks out there.And I know for a fact that there are agents who flag other agents’ads. It happens. They’d rather see you fail than work to achievetheir own success.The good news is most agents who work in an office work typicaloffice-hour times. One way to avoid being flagged by other agents,then, is to post after 5 p.m. You’re much less likely to be flagged bythose types of folks.And the other thing about that is you want to be posting in theevening anyway.I like to post – and sometimes it’s not the most enjoyable thing foryou to be doing at that time – between like 5 and 7 p.m. becauseyou’re going to hit those people, like I said, right after dinner. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 35
  38. 38. Not only will that time frame help you avoid flagging, potentially, butyou’re also going to be hitting an optimal time to be getting thattraffic.Back to my struggles …I was spending all this time and was having as much as 50 percentof my ads deleted, by either flagging or ghosting.Getting ghosted is even more frustrating because when you’reghosted, you post an ad, and your ad looks to you as though it’slive, but if you go to the CraigsList site to try and find it, it’s notthere. So you don’t even know without some digging that you’ve hadit happen.With flagging, you can find out that your ad is flagged, so at leastyou know that it’s happened. With ghosting, you actually have tospend time and search for it.That was happening before I had my system, when I was postinghundreds of ads. And with my system I don’t have to do thatanymore.I post far fewer ads, spend far less time, and therefore I don’t showup as a red flag in the CraigsList world. It’s not throwing up red flagsabout me – “hey this guy’s posting hundreds of ads, somethingstrange is going on.”I was doing that, which was essentially spamming and breakingCraigsList rules and regulations, I had one account that was shut off.Like I said, I was new to the game.Since I’ve started using my system, because I don’t need to postnearly as frequently, and I can fall within their regulations and soforth, that issue has almost completely gone away.In fact, I was talking with a client recently and I brought up one ofmy accounts on the computer, and of 75 ads I posted, only two wereflagged. That’s a pretty good ratio.So we’re clear on this, flagging is not the end of the world … but it’snot a goal. It’s something you’re trying to avoid. It does not end up © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 36
  39. 39. negating you from CraigsList. Well, not often, at least – I only hadone account deleted.Also, I mention CraigsList “system administrators,” but that’sprobably a misnomer.They do have computer algorithms that look for certain words andcertain key things in sequence that will flag stuff automatically. Sothis isn’t a human element. There’s simply no way with all of theCraigsList postings for a human to do all of this.But let’s make this perfectly clear: When you’re flagged you will seeit on your account. It will show up. The green ads have been posted.They’re okay. The ones that are not green show up in pink. Thatmeans they’re flagged.Again, I mention all this because it might happen to you and I don’twant you to panic. Using my system, like I said, I have been able tocut this down a lot.Not that it won’t ever happen to me, but what I was doing before, Imean, it was rampant. I had to almost check every single ad tomake sure it was live, which adds lots of time to what you’re doing.While we are on the subject, there are a couple of other things thatcould increase your likelihood of getting flagged.If you place a text ad, and you include a website address that hasthe “HTTP,” which will make it a live hyperlink, it will increase yourchances of getting flagged. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll getflagged, but it will increase your chance of getting flagged.However, if you just put the “www.” or just “”without that “HTTP,” I have found that that the likelihood of thatgetting flagged is next to none. In other words, make it a websitethat someone has to copy and paste, and not a live hyperlink, andyou’ll be less likely to get flagged.The other way around this, I already showed you. Use an imageposting and link the image to your site instead of typing the HTTP intext. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 37
  40. 40. Another thing you must pay attention to are certain words. Forexample, the combination of the words “foreclosure” and“properties” for some reason got me flagged a lot. Now, I make sureI use other words with the same meaning, or add words to“foreclosure properties,” and I get flagged far less often.You should also try to avoid the word “free.” If you absolutely MUSTuse it, put spaces between the letters or underscores or something.“Free” gets you flagged.Of course, I wouldn’t have known these things – and wouldn’t havebeen able to develop a system to beat them – if I wasn’t payingattention and learning from my mistakes.I have included my mistakes here for you to learn from as well, butyour business is different from mine, so there will be things thathappen to you that I can’t necessarily prepare you for.So remember to learn as you go.Timing is EverythingI mentioned before that it’s not a good idea to get up at 5 a.m. andtry to get your posting done for the day. Unless, of course, you’re ina really small town, to which I’d suggest that you post in othertowns!It’s also good to post after 5 p.m. so that other real estate agentscan’t flag your ads.With the system that I’ve created, we’re not talking about a hugeamount of time spent managing or posting ads. In fact, in theevenings, most of the time I post when I’m out and about using myiPhone. That’s how simple it is. In a couple minutes, you can have acouple of ads up that are going to be generating leads.So we’re not talking about spending an hour during every eveningposting ads. It’s literally a couple of minutes once you get the hangof things and get it up and going.And another point to build on here is that if you’re in a huge market,you’re going to need to test and REALLY track what you’re doing, © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 38
  41. 41. because posting 15 minutes one way or the other could make a hugedifference, depending on the market.If you’re in a market that gets 800 to a thousand ads a day, 15minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes one way or the other could mean adifference. It could mean a HUGE difference in the amount of leadsthat you generate.So the times I have given you in this book are a general guideline.Particularly if you’re in a huge market, where there are a ton ofpostings, you’re definitely going to need to test, and by test I meanactually track your results in detail.You want to note, “OK, I posted two ads at 11:45 a.m. on Monday.And between then and the next time I posted an ad, I got this manyleads.”We will get into this in a little greater detail later in this book. I justwant you to understand now that you must track your responses inorder to know exactly when you should be posting.Think of it this way: The same rule applies for making phone calls. Ifyou are going to have a call night, it’s better to call when people arelikely to answer the phone. I see people who always make callsbetween 10 and 11 in the morning. Who’s home then?If you’re calling, or in this case you’re posting ads, think about thehabits of the people who you are trying to reach.But no matter what, remember … • Post at least twice a day during the week • Post at least once on the weekendAre you getting sick of reading that yet?Weekend WarriorsWeekends are a little trickier because people have different habits.I’m just throwing this out there, but posting between 8 a.m. andnoon on a Sunday, when most people are at church, may not be themost favorable time to post to your ad. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 39
  42. 42. I’ve personally seen a huge difference on Sunday when I post at 8a.m. vs. when I post at 2 p.m., and I’m talking many multiples --several hundred percent difference posting later.And the time of year can play into that, too.When it’s football season on Sunday, for example, kickoff time isn’texactly great. In the summer, when people are doing outdooractivities, you especially have track your results to learn when topost. In the fall, when it starts to get dark earlier and earlier, I’vefound that evenings are good. As a very general rule, follow the sunas it’s setting.This isn’t an open house, remember. You are trying to generate alead. So while your competitors have their Sunday open house adsout of the way on Wednesday or Thursday, you have to put in a fewminutes on the weekends if you want to generate leads on theweekends. I suggest you do just that, because for some reason,people are in “house” mode on weekends.That’s just how they’ve been trained. Agents show houses onweekends. Agents have open houses on weekends. The Sundaypaper has the big real estate section. Just because you’re using arelatively new tool to generate real estate leads doesn’t mean youshould ignore existing real estate dynamics.Stop thinking of your CraigsList posting as something to get done,get through with, early in the day or early in the week. Instead,spread it out throughout the day and throughout the week. Look at itas a week-long process. That increases the odds of you beingconsistently successful.I’ve personally found that for me to do what I need to do, I only posttwice a day. I post twice a day consistently during the week, butonly sometimes twice a day on the weekends.Again, if you’re in a big market, you may have to be a little bit morefrequent. For me, posting two times a day – that’s a total of 10 to 12minutes a day. I’m willing to put the 10 to 12 minutes even onweekends. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 40
  43. 43. Remember, you want to be near the top of the list of ads. Always.You want your ads to be visible to people as soon as they get to thepage. I have found that, through all my efforts, for me that meantposting right before lunch time and right after dinner time.If you get nothing else out of this book, at least take awayfrom it the importance of posting enough so that your ad isnear the top of the first page.Actually posting your adsOnce you have created the ads for your campaigns, posting is prettysimple. You have to access the “My account” screen in CraigsList,where you will be shown all the ads stored.Below is a screen shot of the top of that page, which shows you thestatus of your saved ads.Ads shaded in green are active. Grey means pending; blue meansyou have deleted them; purple means they expired; and pink meansthey’ve been flagged and deleted.So say I posted an ad at noon (lunchtime) on a weekday. When I goback into my account around dinner time the same day, it will showup highlighted in green, as active.Keep in mind that by now it might not be near the top of the adspage. In fact, depending on your city, it probably isn’t. That is whyyou’re re-posting it.To do this, simply delete it. The system will remove the ad from thelist, and you won’t be able to post that same ad for 48 hours. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 41
  44. 44. Now, you should have created a different ad with an identicalmessage to use in its place – either by image posting or tweakinglocation, price, headline, etc in the different fields. That ad will mostlikely be in blue, having been removed by you.You will see a hyperlink near the right-hand side of the page thathas the title of the ad. Click on that hyperlink, and you will be takento a page that has a button that gives you the option “Re-post thisad.” Click the button, and your ad will be active in a few minutes …at the top of the list, just as it was at lunch time.Now keep in mind that the ad you took down cannot be used againfor 48 hours. The one you posted just now – at dinner time – youwill (if you’ve been paying attention!) take down at lunch timetomorrow.That’s why it’s important to have at least four variations of each adyou post. Once you have at least four, you only spend a few minuteseach day managing (re-posting).Quick RecapHopefully, you can learn through my own experiences withCraigsList, which I’ve shared here. There is a right way and a wrongway to go about posting.Just to summarize some of the key points: 1. Don’t post first thing in the morning. Don’t post at midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning. Try and find the sweet spot in your market for the best time to post. I’ve found lunch time is great, dinner time is great. You’ve got to test in your own market. 2. We talked about flagging and ghosting. I gave you some words that raised red flags, as well as the “bulk” posting practices that will bring attention to yourself. 3. There’s a start-up phase, but once you get the thing going 10, 15, 20 minutes a day is really all you need to keep it going and keep driving leads for your business. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 42
  45. 45. 4. Twice a day during the week and at least once on the weekends (are you getting that yet?). Keep in mind that, especially on weekends, viewers’ habits change, even more so with the change of the seasons.Through this step, you are now officially a CraigsList advertiser. Nowyou need to follow up. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 43
  46. 46. Step 5 Follow UpA lead means nothing unless you can convert it into income,obviously. In this chapter, Step 5, I’m going to share with you acouple of things you can do to convert these leads into realcommission income.The step is titled “Follow Up,” for conciseness, but it should reallysay something ike “Follow up and systematically convert leads intoclients.”Our goal is to convert leads into commission income. We’ve donevery little until we actually get a sale, right?Before we get into that, let me start by saying that I believe it’simportant to get a sale. I don’t necessarily believe, however, that it’sabsolutely imperative to get a sale today.As you read this step, keep this in mind. We want to get sales.Plural. I think this is a concept many agents miss the boat oncompletely. We want one buyer, one seller. It’s a mistake.When I started using CraigsList, I was having luck selling propertiesby putting specific properties on the site, but indirectly, I wasbuilding my buyer’s list. I was getting to the point, and am still atthe point, at which I can write an e-mail, push send and sell aproperty. Not every time, but very frequently, I’m able to do thatbecause I’ve built a large list of buyers using Craigslist.I mentioned finding tenants, buying and re-selling, finding retailbuyers and working with investors. But because of our government’sfirst-time buyer tax credit in 2009, and because investor financingcan be a bit more difficult now, I’m also working more with first-timehomebuyers.This was an adjustment to market conditions that I had to make onthe fly. I was able to do so because I have a big database of © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 44
  47. 47. different types of buyers, which I generated completely for free onCraigsList.Some of those buyers are probably leads I generated some timeago, but because I valued them and cultivated them, they havebecome part of my success after the market changed.Too many agents generate leads and then just ignore them if theydon’t buy right away.There are two reasons to advertise on Craigslist. One is to sellsomething; that’s where you’re advertising one of your listings. Theother reason is to build lists.And that means building a list of buyer e-mails, people who haveresponded to a typical type of property, and that helps you in anumber of ways.Obviously, when you have a property to sell, a buyers e-mail listmakes it easy to get it out to them, present them with a deal. Butalso it’s extremely enticing to be able to mention that on a listingappointment to sellers say, “I have built these huge lists onCraigsList of people looking for properties in your price range in yourarea.”It’s the old “I may already have a buyer for you” line, but it’s reallytrue!Another cool thing is if I get a little slow, I can send an e-mail to getmy phone ringing. And I can get it ringing from people on my listwho I maybe haven’t talked to or at least haven’t talked to in awhile.If I have a slow week and I’ve got to get something going, I sendout an e-mail or two and my inbox starts getting loaded up withmessages, or my voicemail fills up fast.In fact, I did it yesterday and in 24 hours, I got eight or 10 people tocontact me from two e-mails I sent to two different lists.So the list-building, the long-term for your business, is extremelyvaluable. Short-term thinking alone only gets you short-term results. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 45
  48. 48. On top of that, today’s buyers lists are much less expensive tocommunicate with than the old traditional geographic farming withdirect mail pieces. So this is huge.It’s so important to focus on growing your list, and it’s notsomething we hear very much in the real estate industry.Everybody’s looking for a buyer or a seller, and they’re not thinkinglong-term about that list, which can very well be the make-or-breakasset for your business.So start thinking about generating leads and creating those lists!It’s a Numbers GameI have a client for whom I generate leads on CraigsList. I run theads, capture the leads and turn them over to him.He, in turn, has a system he uses to convert these leads into buyers.It’s one system, and every lead that goes through it is handled inexactly the same manner.I think of it as a kind of funnel; he dumps this high volume of leadsinto it, and out comes a narrowed-down, easy-to-sell stream ofready-to-go buyers.This particular system of his currently converts 1 out of 10 leads intoa sale. This is a good conversion ratio. He tweaked and tested anddeveloped this system along the way to get it to the point at which itpredictably and consistently generates this rate of sales.The beauty in that is this: Let’s say he has a goal of 10 sales permonth. He knows, because he has a system in place that converts at10 percent, he needs to generate 100 leads per month.If he can generate 100 leads per month on CraigsList, he has to dono other advertising. If he wants to sell more homes, he can simplychoose to advertise in other places. If he wants to double hismonthly sales, for example, he has to simply generate 100 moreleads per month.I mentioned systems at the outset of this book. This above exampleof my client highlights the powerful tool that this lead-conversionsystem is. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 46
  49. 49. And, by the way, since my CraigsList system generates the leadsand his system converts them, his business is practically onautopilot. At least the marketing of it is – he still has the problem ofclosing 10 transactions a month. But that’s a good problem to have!Conversion MethodsIn the example above, my client’s sole lead-conversion tool is theoutbound phone call.He makes an outbound call to get some information to send theprospect a custom list. Once he knows they have received the list,he makes another call to get them to sit down and pick out five toseven of their favorites from among the houses listed.From there, he promises to get them more information on thoseparticular homes and asks any questions that they may have. Hethen calls them back, gets them on the road and, before long they’rewriting an offer and he’s closing a sale.It doesn’t sound complicated, does it? It’s not, and it works for himwith great effectiveness. If I were him, I’d change nothing.Now, this is not to say the same thing will work for you. Somepeople are great at selling on the phone. Some are much, muchbetter than others. You have to play to your own strengths.Personally, I would recommend you do multiple things – employmultiple steps – to convert clients. This is simply because not everylead responds to the same marketing delivery.Unless, apparently, you’re like my client, who is a Superman of sortson the phone.Auto-responder e-mailsI hate to be so blunt, but here goes: If you’re not using an auto-responder, you are in the dark ages. You have to have this for yourbusiness.An e-mail auto-responder allows you to, with the push of a fewbuttons, stay in contact with your entire list. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 47
  50. 50. Let me give you an example using a tool we already looked at: That“squeeze page” website offering a free list of foreclosed homes.Each week, you update this list of homes. It doesn’t matter how.Pick homes you’re listing; pick some cherries off the MLS, whatever.Just change the list so that you can email something fresh eachweek to your unconverted leads.What’s an “unconverted lead?”An unconverted lead is simply someone who has responded to alead-generation ad of yours and has given you their contactinformation but has yet to be “converted” into a sale. Hence theterm “unconverted.” It’s someone who hasn’t signed a listingagreement or an exclusive buyer’s agent agreement or someonewhom you haven’t had out on the road.You simply keep them in your database and, in the case of thosewho responded to an ad for a list of foreclosed homes, they receivefrom you a list of homes each week, sent by your e-mail auto-responder.This is kind of an automatic conversion tool as well. You’ve got yourcontact information in the email and, inevitably, you’ll have people“raise their hand” – call you, email you – about the informationyou’re sending.As I mentioned above, because I have lists of buyers or would-bebuyers, I do sometimes send out emails with specific properties. Thismight be with the goal of selling that property, but it also lets meknow – by the number of people who contact me – who might beready to buy in the near future.In case you haven’t noticed, I’m usually working on this sale, andmy next two or three sales simultaneously.So, in addition to my automated list of foreclosed homes that goesout each week, I might also send, from time to time, individual dealsvia email.Again, the goal isn’t necessarily to sell that property, although it’s anice bonus when I do, but to get people to tell me they’re interested. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 48
  51. 51. Here’s an example email I recently used:----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi <First Name>, We just found a great deal on a rehab property in Midtown. Its right in the area of the HACC project and has HUGE upside potential. It will need a complete rehab, so seasoned investors are probably the best fit. 16xx 4th St., Harrisburg, PA 17102 Comps: 1 1712 SUSQUEHANNA ST $125,900 1900 5 1 06/03/2009 1,484 915 0.15 2 1718 SUSQUEHANNA ST $130,000 1910 2 1 08/19/2009 1,596 1,002 0.15 3 335 REILY ST $154,000 1880 5 1 06/29/2009 1,859 828 0.17 4 337 REILY ST $130,000 1880 5 1 06/23/2009 1,734 871 0.17 5 1804 N 3RD ST $126,000 1900 4 1 10/05/2009 1,486 3,180 0.17 6 1617 PENN ST $168,000 1900 5 2 03/26/2009 1,680 1,133 0.18 7 216 HARRIS ST $178,000 1900 4 1 04/21/2009 1,968 1,481 0.19 Also, one on this same block sold last September for $149,900! Asking $57,000 or Best Offer (MAKE US AN OFFER!) For more info or to take a look call me ASAP at xxx-xxxx Best, Josh Company name Company phone Company email P.S. These kind of deals in Midtown are now few and far between call act quickly before its gone, Call me NOW at xxx-xxxx.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Now, emails such as this DO sometimes sell the property. I haveinvestor clients who have worked with me long enough whose loyalty © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 49
  52. 52. and responsiveness lets me just put this out there and they are likesharks to blood in the water.The real value is the knowledge of what leads in my database, andhow many of them, are interested in deals like this. I set myself upfor success for future sales.Tours and SeminarsThese lead-conversion tools might not be for everyone, but if you’regame, they can be an awesome strategy.Here’s why: You have the ability convert multiple leads at the sametime.For example, you could do property tours – foreclosure tours forwhich you line up several properties, five or six, to show on a singleSaturday. Preferably, the homes are in the same general area, sothat you can easily go from house to house.You can set up showing appointments if they’re not your listings, andthen send out two or three emails to your lists, inviting your leads toattend this special tour.I suggest putting a tour “packet” together, information for which youcan gather almost exclusively from the MLS. Put the listings in there,a CMA and a map of the area so that if you caravan (renting a bus orlimo can get expensive!) people can get to each house. Boom,you’ve got your packet.It’s a great conversion tool, and I suggest that you don’t make anattempt to sell every house on the tour. In fact, I would purposelyinclude a really ugly house on the tour, just so you can point outhow awful the house is. When you’re NOT selling people, you gaintheir trust.The goal instead would be to build rapport with the group. Askquestions of them – “What do you like about this home?” “Can yousee the biggest problem here?” – and let them ask questions of you.You might not sell any of the houses on the tour, but if you leaveyour attendees trusting you and opening up to you, you will be ableto get them on the road looking at properties they WILL buy. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 50
  53. 53. And the best thing about it is you’re leveraging your time. You areshowing homes to multiple prospects all at once.The other way to leverage your time by converting multiple clientsall at the same time is with a seminar or a class.For example, in my local area, I teach “Foreclosure Buying Secrets”seminars, which have some educational components regarding theforeclosure process, but really are subtle sales presentations for theservices and expertise I provide for my clients.Because have established myself as an “expert” – I’m teaching aclass, after all – I have great positioning with these clients. Becausethey’re all in one room at the same time, I have done it with muchless effort and time involvement than if I met with each of themindividually.One word of caution with these seminars, or classes: You want togive them enough information that they find it useful, but you don’twant to give them enough of an education so that they can go offand do it on their own.Relationship BuildingI think we all realize that another component of real estate sales isrelationships. When we nurture leads over time, we draw them to us– we connect with them and our message resonates with them. So ifthey aren’t buyers now, or next month, when they ARE ready to bebuyers, we are the ones they call.So there is a component to ongoing lead-conversion that is notsimply a list of homes or a deal on a distressed home. What I do tobuild these relationships is to send them content that is not strictlysales-related.I send a weekly electronic magazine, or “e-zine,” to my unconvertedleads. It does not usually contain a sales pitch. Instead, I sharewhat’s going on with me, as well as some real estate-related articles.The goal is to inform, entertain, and get buyers to know to me, feela personal connection to me. This is accomplished without a lot ofeffort, but it goes a long way to building relationships. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 51
  54. 54. For my investor clients who have bought homes from me, I alsosend out a monthly hard-copy newsletter. The idea is similar to thee-zine, even though these are current clients: You want to build arelationship that’s strong enough that they don’t want to leave you.Again, I’m not trying to tell you how to run your business. If youhave a good lead-conversion process already, by all means keepusing it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say.I merely want to share with you ideas that come from myexperiences in working with leads from CraigsList. These are thingsthat have worked in my business, as well as with other clients whogenerate CraigsList leads.The point is, if you’re generating a ton of leads, you have to have away to convert them into commission income.Quick RecapLet’s just go over some ideas you can use to follow up with andconvert into income the leads you generate with your CraigsListposts. These ideas for follow-up and conversion include: 1. Outbound phone calls 2. Auto-responder emails, both with general lists of homes and specific listings 3. Tours and Seminars 4. Relationship-building newsletters or e-zinesWhatever manner you choose to convert your leads, remember to beconsistent and persistent. Develop a system for cultivating the leadsyou generate, and you will make sales. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 52
  55. 55. Step 6 Track and ImproveA mentor of mine likes the saying “What you track improves.” Ican’t argue.Let’s think about it for a minute.If your goal is to, say, lose weight, what things must you do toachieve that goal?Well, first you might want to set a specific goal for exactly howmuch weight you want to lose. Are you going to lose 10 pounds,20 pounds, or will you be happy to lose 5 pounds and justmaintain?If your goal is to lose 20, how will you know when you’ve gottenthere? How will you know if you’re making progress along theway? Well, for one, you’re going to get on a scale from time totime and measure your progress.You’re also probably going to document what you eat, so that youcan see how your diet is affecting your progress toward the goal.If you’re into working out, you’re going to track how much cardioyou do or weights you lift, so that you can measure your progress.By measuring as you go along, you will improve.The same thing goes for your business. To use another analogybesides the weight loss – you can’t win if you’re not keeping score.What I’m saying is, it’s important to track your progress. You mustalso constantly be testing new things, and tracking them, so thatyou know how to improve.I am not going to lie to you – it’s sometimes a tedious process,not fun. Not exciting. But it’s extremely necessary. Getting on ascale is no fun either, but you have to do it if you want to loseweight. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 53
  56. 56. Tracking your results, then testing new things and tracking those,too, is probably the least-glamorous part of this system. It’s alsoprobably the most valuable, and even more so, it’s probably wherethe most people slip up.In any marketing, any advertising, any lead-generation process,you have to track and improve. There are many components ofany campaign that you want to track.HeadlinesFirst and foremost among the items to track are your headlines.It’s essential that you know what headlines, or titles of your ads,are generating the most leads. Remember, the headline is whatdraws readers in. Compelling headlines, then, are necessary todeliver your message.One of the things I have discovered is different headlines seem toget different responses in different markets. As I wrote earlier,using the Google Keywords Tool can give you an idea of whatwords people respond to. But what works in my market may bedifferent than what works in yours.So you want to test different headlines. If you have an ad that youthink is good, but it did not generate leads the way you thought itwould, try a different headline.If you have an ad that generates what you believe is a decentnumber of leads, test another headline on that ad to see if you canget an even better response.Test and track. It’s vital.And one of the beautiful things about CraigsList advertising is thatit’s free. You can afford to run tests with CraigsList marketing thatwould be expensive in other media.For example, a print ad that bombs in your local paper orhomebuyer magazine might be good except for the headline. Totest another headline on the same ad would cost you the price ofthe ad. Test yet another headline and, well, it just keeps gettingmore expensive. On CraigsList, each test is free. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 54
  57. 57. There is a converse advantage to this situation as well. Rememberin Step 2, when I said that if you have a good classified ad thatgenerates leads for you in another medium, it’s a good bet it willwork well on CraigsList, too?Well, if you test a few different headlines on CraigsList and youget a good response, chances are the ad will work well in othermedia, too. So if you’re supplementing your CraigsList advertisingwith ads in other places, your free testing on CraigsList shouldenable you to run more effective ads in other places.Hopefully, you are seeing how valuable testing and tracking canbe.Have you ever heard of Parretto’s Principle? It’s also known as the80/20 principle. It states that 80 percent of your results will comefrom 20 percent of your activities, or efforts.Translated to lead-generation, it stands to reason that 80 percentof your leads will come from the best 20 percent of your ads. Thatmeans 1 out of every 5 ads will bring most of your results. I havefound this to be true. Test and track to find that 20 percent.Images and textYou also want to test and track different image ads, differentimages within the ads themselves and the text that is the body ofyour ads.Try running an image posting as explained in Step 3. Then see ifyou can change the picture and improve your results. The oldsaying goes, “A picture tells a thousand words.” That means ifyou’re using pictures in your ads, they can be powerful influencesover whether an ad is working.This is where it gets tricky. It’s a lot of testing because there are alot of variables. That’s why I say “test and track,” because testingrequires extensive tracking.And I mean extensive. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 55
  58. 58. For example, when I post a new ad, I document everything aboutit. That means: 1. The headline 2. The body, or text 3. Any picture I used 4. When I posted it 5. How many leads it generatedIf the ad doesn’t work well, I don’t just give up on it. I will changethe headline, keeping all the other variables the same. And Idocument that.Then, depending on which result was better, I will changesomething else. The picture maybe, or some of the wording in thebody, and I will document those results.And I keep plugging along, as tedious as it is, until I can safelydetermine it’s a winner with a certain combination of variables or aloser no matter what different combinations I put together.So you can probably see that by tracking, I don’t mean “I ran thisad on this day, and it didn’t work.”I mean trial-and-error until you’re satisfied that you have a validanswer one way or another.It’s time-consuming, I know. But the end result is that eventually,you can run a solid stable of winning ads, over and over,generating a lot of leads, almost at will.Now, you will have to test and track something at first that I don’tdo too much with any more. That is the time of day at which youpost.I have determined, as I mentioned in the previous step, that mybest times for posting ads are right before lunch and right afterdinner. That’s my market; it might be different in yours. And, as Iwrote earlier, 15 minutes either way – earlier or later – couldmake a big difference. © Copyright 2009 by Josh Schoenly – All rights reserved 56