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Monday, April 16, 2007

What is Craigslist?

Well if you have never been to Craigslist or you have been there and just didn’t stop to think about what the site is, I am going to tell you a little about it.

Basically it’s just a very popular classified site. They have classified ads for jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, and more. Under each category there are subcategories with just about anything you want or need.

...And if you can’t find what you are looking for you can always post in the “wanted” section so people can come to you if they have what you need. They also have discussion forums for many different topics.

There is nothing fancy or flashy about Craigslist. It’s just a basic looking site with a light grey background and links to its various sections. The site is very easy to navigate and find the section you want.

You just click your state and/or city then go the ads for what you are looking for. If you are outside the U.S. you will have to choose your country first. And if you are in a large city you can choose your specific part of the city.

You’ll notice above I said it’s a “very popular” site. Well, just how popular? At the time of writing this it is the 40th most popular website in the world. Yes, that’s right, out of the millions upon millions of websites in the world there are only 39 more popular than Craigslist. And it’s the 9th most popular website in the United States. How’s that for getting some major traffic?!

How to Post Craiglist Ads

Posting to Craigslist is really quite simple and straightforward. It’s also free, except for the job listings in some of the major cities.

There are actually a couple different ways to post ads but I only ever use one way so I’m going to tell you how to do it that way. So, here is how you post an ad, step-by-step:

1) Find the city you want to post in.

If you have never been to Craigslist before the default starting point is the San Francisco Bay Area. Finding your city (or the city you want to post in) is really easy. You will see on the right hand side there is a large list of different countries, states, cities, and provinces.

If you are in the United States you just have to click on your state and then the area closest to you. If you are in a major U.S. city it’s probably already listed right there on the home page. Finding your location is just as easy for those of you outside the United States, all you have to do is click on your country, then the area closest to you.

2) Go to the category you want to post in.

Let’s say you want to post in the “small biz ads” category. The small biz ads are under the “services” section. So just find the services section (it’s in the middle column at the bottom) and you will see the link that says, “sm biz ads”. Click on that link.

3) Click the “post” link.

On the next page you will see all the different ads in the small biz ads category. And in the upper right hand corner you will see a link that says “post”. Click that link.

4) Choose your category again.

You will now see a list of all the categories in the services section. Just find the link that says, “small biz ads” and click on it.

5) Enter your ad.

Now you are finally ready to enter your ad. The first thing you see to enter is your “Posting Title” and this is required. Make it catchy and descriptive.

Next, is “specific location” of your ad. You don’t have to enter that if you don’t want to but I find it best to at least put your area. For example, I live in Fullerton California which is located in Orange County (OC) in the greater Los Angeles (LA) area. So I usually just put “LA/OC” in the location box.

Depending on what section you are posting in you may also see a “Price” box next to the location box. This is also optional.

The next thing you are going to put in is your “Posting Description”. This is the main part of your ad so you need to tell them what they are getting and the benefits of it. Just how descriptive you want to be will depend on what you are offering and your intentions of the ad.

If you are selling a physical product you probably want to give them a good description. If you are trying to get them to go to your website or click on your affiliate link, you probably just want to give them a few “teaser” lines so they will want to go to the website and read more. I have found that short ads which get them just curious and interested enough to click the link to your website tend to work the best.

Then, you have to put in your email address. That part isn’t too tough. Just enter an email address that you check often. Be sure to put a valid one there because you will be sent an email to finalize your listing. It will not go live until you do this.

Right below the email address you will see three options:

#1 – “use this email address as my reply-to”
#2 – “reply to: serv-xxxxxxxxx@craigslist.org (craigslist anonymizes your real address and relays replies to it)”
#3 – “do not show any email address (be sure to put a phone # or other contact info in your posting!)”

The choice is yours. If you are trying to get them to a website, which I assume most people reading this will ultimately want to do, then I suggest choosing option #3 (but make sure you have the website link inside the ad in the posting description).

If you are selling a physical product, or you simply don’t mind people emailing you with questions, then you might want to choose option #2. You can also choose option #2 as well as put a link inside the ad.

I never choose option #1. There is simply no reason to. If you want people to have a way to email you then choose #2. All #1 does is open you up for spam.

The next step is to add images. Not all categories have this option. Actually the “small biz ads” category that we have been using here as our example posting does not have the photos option. However, many of the categories do, so when you are posting in them you will see a button that says, “Add/Edit Images”.

If you click that link you will be able to enter the location of the images or browse your computer to find them. Images tend to greatly increase the click through rate to your ad, so if you have one to add then I highly suggest doing so. Even if it’s just a generic picture that’s somewhat related to your website or product, I advise you to post it.

Next, you will see “permissions” with a little box you can check to give permission for others to contact you about other services, products or commercial interests. It’s your choice but I never check that box to allow them to contact me.

Finally, you will click “continue” at the bottom. On the next page you will review your ad. If you need to make changes just click “edit” and make your changes. If it looks good then type the word verification you are given into the box and click “continue”.

On the next page you will see the terms of use. At the bottom there is a button for you to “accept the terms of use” and a button to “decline the terms of use”. You must accept the terms of use to continue with your listing.

Once you have accepted the terms you will be taken to a page telling you to check your email to finalize your post. Go check your email and you will have an email from Craigslist allowing you to POST/EDIT/DELETE your posting. Follow the simple instructions in the email and you’re all set.

That’s it! Your post will go live in a few minutes. It seems like a lot of steps but it’s really very easy to do. After you do one post you will be able to breeze right through them.

Affiliate Links

Now we are getting to the stuff you are really here to read... Some easy and effective ways to make money using Craigslist. I call this first one “The Affiliate Link Method”. I know that’s not a very cool name but it works.

This method of making money using affiliate programs and Craigslist can be done completely free but I highly recommend getting one generic domain name and a cheap webhost (if you don’t already have a domain and host).

I’ll tell you why in a minute. The domain name will cost you around $8 per year and you can get hosting for less than $10 per month. You could easily make those costs back with just one ad and a few minutes of work.

Now the reason I suggest you get the domain and webhost is because Craigslist does not allow you to post Clickbank links within your ads. Being able to use Clickbank will make this method much easier and more profitable for you. If you have a domain and webhost all you have to do is set up a redirect link from your domain name to your Clickbank affiliate link and you can post the link within the ad.

Not to mention this looks much more professional than putting an affiliate link of any sort in the listing and will increase the amount of clicks you get from your ad.

Notice above I said you should get a “generic” domain name and the reasoning is simple… You will be re-directing to many different affiliate products in different niches so you don’t want your domain to pertain to any one niche. Something like http://informationforyou.com would be a good one.

If you already have a domain name you could use it to set up your redirects, even if it’s not generic, but since a new domain is so darn cheap you might as well get one that will serve you better for this purpose. It will be more than worth it in the long run.

If you don’t already have a domain and host and really don’t want to get one, that’s ok, you will just have to find affiliate programs to base your ads around that Craigslist does allow you to link to. It will be harder on you and take more of your time finding them but it can be done and it will be totally free.

Ok, now that we have all that out of the way let’s get going on how to use these affiliate programs to make money…

In my personal experience I have found that products and services which help people with their financial situation (debt help, make money, save money, real estate, loans, etc…) tend to convert the best.

So what I do is go to the Clickbank.com marketplace and find a product in one of those categories. I usually just pick one on the first page of the Clickbank results in the category I’m searching for. The reason I do this is because those are already the best sellers so the chances of them converting and being legitimate are much higher.

Just in case you haven’t ever chosen a product to promote on Clickbank, I’ll quickly go through the steps of picking one and give you an example;


1) First you need to sign up for a Clickbank account. If you already have one move on to step two. http://www.clickbank.com/accountSignup.htm

2) Once you have an account go to the CB marketplace at: http://www.clickbank.com/marketplace.htm

3) Let’s say you were going to post an ad about debt relief. You would click the drop down arrow next to “category” and click “Money & Employment”

4) Now click the drop down arrow next to “subcat” and click “debt”

5) I always just leave the keywords box blank, sort by popularity, and show 10 results per page.

6) Click “go”

7) You now see a list of 10 products covering different topics about debt. Click “view pitch page” to check out the website of each product until you find one you want to promote.

8) Create your affiliate link. Click “create hoplink” under any product and you will get a pop-up window allowing you to make your affiliate link. Just put in your clickbank nickname and hit submit. You will then be given your link.

9) That’s it. You are ready to promote. As I stated above, you will need to set up a redirect from your domain/website to your CB affiliate link in order to post it on Craigslist.

Now let’s look at a sample ad you might use:

===========================================
We Will Make You Debt Free In Just 3 to 5 Years

With our system you will become 100% debt free in as little as 3-5 years!

Higher than a 97% success rate.

See for yourself RISK FREE...

[Your Link Goes Here]

===========================================

As you can see it’s very simple but can be extremely effective. That’s just a model for you to use. Don’t copy it or there will end up being way too many of the same ad.

Remember, you are not limited to just using Clickbank for this method. You can use any affiliate program. I simply suggest clickbank because it’s so easy to find many different products to promote in one place and you only have to sign up once to promote them all.

Craigslist+ Ebay

There are two different ways in which I combine Craiglist and eBay to make quick and easy profits. They are both incredibly simple to do and can bring in very good money.

Before I get into telling you how to make money with this method, there are a couple steps you need to take…

1) The first thing you need to do is sign up for the eBay Affiliate Program if you are not already an affiliate. It’s very easy to do and it’s free.

2) The eBay affiliate program is through Commission Junction (CJ) so after signing up you will be sent an email from CJ. It will contain your log-in information and there will be a form attached to it that YOU MUST mail or fax to them. DO NOT forget to do this because it is required. Details are in the email.

Note: You will also be sent a “welcome to eBay” email. Look for it and save it because it gives you some links and information you will find useful.

Ok now that you are an eBay affiliate it’s time to start using them to make money on Craigslist! As I stated above, there are a couple ways to do this.

Here is the first eBay method:

Go to the “wanted” ads on Craigslist. They are under the “for sale” section in about the middle of the page.

You will see all sorts of different ads for people wanting various items. A large percentage of the items people want are being sold on eBay.

So all you have to do is find what they want on eBay. Then reply to their Craigslist ad telling them you have found what they are looking for and give them your affiliate link to the item on eBay.

Here is how you do that, step-by-step:

1) You are already in the Craigslist “wanted” section and you see a bunch of ads that people have put up wanting various items.

2) Click on one of the ads. For example, the ad title might be “Wanted – RV, No junk and open to all” and when you click on it the ad says that person wants a RV that is in good condition and reasonable price.

3) Go to eBay and find what they are looking for. You can use the search function. Or if you know what category the item would be in you can go directly to it.

4) If the item is something that can’t easily be shipped (such as an RV) then you will want to narrow the listings to the area the person is in. On the left column of the eBay listings you will see “search options” and under it there is “location”. One option is to pick items within a certain number of miles from a certain location. Check the box next to that and choose the miles and the location. Now scroll down and click “show items”.

5) You will now see all the eBay listings for that item within the specified miles of the specified location.

6) Create your link. Open a new window in your browser and go to eBay’s Flexible Destination Tool. Follow the instructions to create your link to the eBay search listings from step 5.

7) Go back to the Craigslist ad (see step 2) and reply to it. Tell them you found X amount of the items they are looking for and they are all within X amount of miles of their location. Give them your affiliate link to the eBay listings.

You’re done. It’s that simple!


Here is an example of an exact ad I replied to just the other day from the Orange County, California (where I live) wanted section:

===========================================
Cash Flow 101 - The board game by Robert Kiyosaki

I am looking to buy Cash Flow 101 - The board game by Robert Kiyosaki

Please email me with a reasonable offer and the condition of the game
===========================================

I found that ad and used the steps outlined above to find the listings for the game being sold on eBay.

Here was my reply to her:

-----------------------
Re: Cashflow 101

Hello,

I saw your wanted listing on Craigslist for Kiyosaki's board game. I see there are 24 listings on eBay for that item right now. I'm always willing to help out, so I figured I would let you know you can get them on there.

Here is the link directly to the listings:


[my eBay link I created using step 6 above was here]


The link is long so I hope the html works. If not just copy and paste it into your address bar.


I Hope that helps.

Trent
-----------------------

She then wrote me back thanking me for giving her the link to the eBay listings and telling me she found one on there that she has now bid on.

See how easy that was! It literally took me five minutes. After you do it once you will be able to fly right through the process.

I’ve used this method many times and it works very well. Of course, not everyone will buy or reply but some do. And since this method is so easy for you to do, it’s more than worth your time.

Remember you can do this in any city. It is not limited to your own area. You just have to go to the Craigslist “wanted” ads in any city and then search for the items in that area in eBay.

And now we are on to the second way you can use Craigslist and eBay together to make money...

Here is the second eBay method:

Remember up in the affiliate method where we posted ads with your clickbank (or other affiliate) link? Well, this method is quite similar except you will be sending them to physical products using your eBay links instead of digital products using your CB link.

To do this you will combine parts of what we have learned so far. You will be posting ads similar to how you did in the affiliate/clickbank method. And you will be using eBay and the eBay affiliate tools as described just above to find products to promote and create your affiliate link.

This is great because there are so many different things being sold on eBay it makes the possibilities nearly endless for items you can promote on Craigslist.

I will give you an example using an ad I posted last night…

I have noticed that jewelry seems to be a hot item on Craigslist and I also know that a lot of jewelry is sold on eBay. Plus, jewelry tends to be small so shipping from pretty much anywhere to just about anywhere else is easy, so you don’t have to limit your search to items in the area you are posting to. Because of these factors I decided to post an ad in that section.

So I used the steps above in the first part of the eBay method to create my affiliate link to all the listings for “Diamond Engagement/Anniversary” Rings.

Then, I went to the “jewelry” section of Craigslist and posted this ad:

=========================================
>>> Diamond Engagement Rings <<<

Over 12,000 Diamond Rings. Many styles and great prices!

Check them out:

Diamond Engagement Rings (this text was linked to my eBay link to the diamond ring listings)

[I also added a picture of a diamond ring]

=========================================

That’s all you have to do. You can do this with any of the categories under the “for sale” section of Craigslist. You never have to stock, ship, or do anything else with a product yet you can still sell just about anything you can think of on Craigslist.

Again this is very simple. After doing it just once you will be able to quickly go through the steps time and time again.

That’s the power of combing eBay and Craigslist to make quick and easy profits!

Build Optin List

You can also use Craigslist to build your list. Actually this may be the best of all the ways to profit using Craigslist! Why? Well we have all heard the saying, “the money is in the list” and it’s very true.

Sit back and think about this for a minute… if a person clicks on your affiliate link in your Craigslist ad and then doesn't buy the product, you have most likely lost them forever and you make no money off them.

However, if that same person were to opt-in to your list in before they see the sales page or product you get to email them over and over. You could email them weekly or even daily. Make sure you provide some good information so they will stay on your list, but you can recommend affiliate products to them every once in a while.

This drastically increases your chances of making money from your Craigslist ad and it might not be just one sale. If someone buys a product you recommend and is satisfied, there is a strong chance they will buy from you again.

Building a list using Craigslist is a great way to build a long-term income stream for your business. After a while you can post far fewer ads yet still be making more and more money off of all the people already on your list. It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me!

One great way to profit from your list while making it even easier on yourself is to pre-load an e-course into an autoresponder so when they opt-in to your list the messages automatically go out to them at set intervals. That way you don’t have to remember to email them or take the time to manually do the emailing.

Make sure each message in the series provides valuable information that your readers would be interested in and can actually use. But you can also put an affiliate link to a recommended product in each message.

This is a very good way to build a strong relationship with your list because you are providing them with a valuable e-course for free. And it’s a great way to make affiliate profits. Everyone wins!

Ok now that we have talked about some of the reasons why you should build your list. Let’s get into a couple ways you can use Craigslist to do it…

First off, in order for this method to work you will need an autoresponder. There are a lot of different autoresponder services out there but only a few of them are good and worth using. I recommend Aweber. I have used them for the past three years and they are great. Aweber also happens to be one of the most highly recommended autoresponders by internet marketers.

Now, after you have an autoresponder, you need to input your messages that you want to go out automatically after someone opts-in to your list. I won’t go into detail on how to do that in here but if you have any trouble just let me know and I will be happy to help. As long as you have Aweber I can certainly help you, but if you have a different autoresponder service I will try but not sure I will be able to help.

You can set up unlimited lists in Aweber so you can write an e-course for as many different niches as you want. You might set up separate ones for debt help, making money online, real estate, home business, investing, pets, crafts, or anything else you decide to promote on Craigslist.

Just remember to give them valuable information and teach them something in the e-course plus add a recommended product with your affiliate link to it so you can profit from the e-course.

You might be thinking that you don’t know enough about these topics to write a course about them. That’s ok. Just do a little research and you will be cranking them out in no time. They don’t have to be very long, just a few paragraphs for each message.

Once you have your series of emails in your autoresponder all you have to do is place ads on Craigslist in the same way described earlier in this ebook. However, this time instead of putting your affiliate link in the ad you will put a link to the autoresponder series you have set up for that topic.

Here is a sample ad you might use:

===========================================
Free E-course Reveals How You Can Take Control of Your Debt!

Are you drowning in debt and need to find a way to get out?

Our free e-course will give you 7 tips for becoming debt free.

To get it just send a blank email to:
[your autoresponder address here]

===========================================

Another way to build your list using Craigslist is to set up a squeeze page on your website and put a link to that page in your ad. This is a good way to pre-sell them even more to increase the chances of them opting-in and then purchasing.

You just need to put an opt-in form (easily created in Aweber) on the page and give them some benefits and reasons they need to join your list. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. Simple can be better sometimes.

This will also cut down heavily on the number of spam email addresses you get joining your list because they have to opt-in to a form.

When you just put the autoresponder address for your list in the ad it will get mailed automatically by spam-bots. This doesn’t really hurt you but it’s a little annoying having hundreds of fake people trying to join your list every day.

You could use the same as in the sample above but instead of putting your autoresponder email address you would put the link to your squeeze page.

That’s about all there is to building your list using Craigslist. Simple but effective!

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