I Made $500 Bucks On CraigsList In 10 Minutes


I Made $500 Bucks On CraigsList In 10 Minutes

I am not a Craigslist master by any means, but after testing a few things out (and failing miserably a couple times), trying to get rid of stuff I no longer wanted, I think I finally figured out some methods of listing that could help those struggling with making heads or tails out of selling on CraigsList. I guess you don’t have to be literally selling products for these techniques to work, you could be offering services or anything else that CraigsList allows. My case study was based on selling a personal product of mine though!

To answer the question that I know you are thinking right now; YES, I really did make $500 bucks this morning on CraigsList in about 10 minutes. I will get into how in just a minute, but I want to give a little more background.

The last two weeks I have been testing and testing on CraigsList, I have been playing around with pricing, images, content – all with the exact same product. I wanted to come up with the best techniques possible to get the most money with the quickest time frame. I can better illustrate some of my findings with screen shots I took of my various listings. There are two that stand out that I think make the point better then anything.

Here is the very first listing that I made:

craigslist case study

I made the ad very straight to the point with exact descriptions of what the product was including model numbers and everything. There was no personal touch at all. People are scared enough to buy electronics on places like CraigsList, so this ad might have scared some people off since I got NO emails, or calls for a week with this ad.

The listing that changed it all –

selling on craigslist

I want to point out the title on this photo compared to the other one. I have done a few things to make it stick out. I only included the things that people are searching for like “60 inch big screen” or “hd tv”. People could care less (from what I found out) about the brand name when doing initial searches. They may ask later on, but the point is to be found so they will ask you questions.

With the second example listing I showed you I got a call in 10 minutes (from time of listing), and it was a guy offering me full price (thus, making $500 bucks in 10 minutes). I probably got 30 calls before I finally took it off (I just wanted to test it out) and 40 emails all ready to buy the tv from me.

What were the main differences in the ad? First ad was not very personal. It was just giving you the specs of the tv and thats about it. The title was doing the same. There was nothing in the title that made it stand out, or made people want to click. Notice on the second ad how I have used symbols *** and wording like “NEED TO SELL” and only keywords that people are using to search.

When going through all the listings at CraigsList there are so many people have to choose from, you need to make yours stand out.

Look at the screen shot below and you will see what I am talking about.

searching craigslist

You will see the arrow pointing to my ad, and you will notice a few others that stand out. Do you see the difference? These are the ads that will be clicked on, and these are the people who will make money quickly selling their items.

All the other ads will be skimmed through and not have as high of a click through rate, even if they have the same exact product at a better price. The point is to get them to click on the listing! People remember things like "Need to sell" so they get the idea they are getting a good deal, because "I need to sell", and that is why they click!

Hints –

  • Use symbols to stand out such as ******* OR @@@@@@@@
  • Use ALL CAPS when appropriate.
  • Write the ad as if you were talking to a person that could care less about the model number (or brand)
  • Use keywords that people would actually use when searching for a big screen tv.
  • Use real pictures that you take yourself, and not from the manufacturer.

I had a pretty fun time testing out CraigsList as I have not been a huge user in past, but will be from now on. Just think about this. I probably could have sold the TV for the same price on eBay, but then I would have eBay and paypal fees cutting into my bottom line. I love CraigsList and this post just explained why!


23 Responses to “I Made $500 Bucks On CraigsList In 10 Minutes”

  1. Nate Moller says:

    Amazing test! That’s really great information. I’ve played with Craigslist too and have been encouraging clients to get in to it a lot lately. Main reason being that IT’S FREE. Like you said at the end of your post, why would you want to sell that big item on eBay: it costs money to list no matter what, you audience could be from anywhere, and you have to worry about shipping. Craigslist is such a smart idea. I will definitely test these tips and let you know what happens.

  2. [...] some of you, this is old news, but I recently read a great article about Craigslist testing written by Mat Siltala. He did some tests with listing strategies on Craigslist and made $500 in 10 [...]

  3. [...] share they all spring from a successful social media campaign and any business can benefit from it. This post Mat did last week on some simple tweaks with Craigslist, has brought over 4k visitors and a whole [...]

  4. I think another reason is that you gave reasons why you needed to sell it.

    One of them was that you upgraded to a Plasma. So people get the impression that there’s nothing wrong with the TV. The other impression people get is that you really know your TVs and so they must be getting a good product if they’re buying from you.

    Plus, you showed the original price, so people knew the deal they were getting.

  5. Thiru says:

    Clever, that shows how captivating your title is. I wish to use that for my blog posts.

  6. Nate Moller says:

    Fun update about this post – I had a client use these techniques and sell her car for over $13,000 on Craigslist. She was ecstatic, pumped, off her rocker! Thanks for the great tips and tricks and for taking the time to share them.

  7. I have noticed the same type of results with posts in the “Services” section. It seems the headline is one of the most important things you can optimize.

    I started testing with a tracking image to determine the number of times the posting is viewed. With that info you can calculate an accurate click through rate and get a really good picture of just how you posting is performing.

  8. Joe says:

    I’ve started using Everythingtolive.com because Craigslist has gotten too commerical. Too many real estate agents and commercial firms list item after item which you have to sort through to get to anything good.

  9. Linda says:

    Great Newsletter !
    Its the little stuff that people don’t think about.
    Another thing you changed was the order of the pics.
    I have heard that people look to the right first. Maybe that made a difference also. The 2nd picture is much better than the first pic. in the 2nd listing.

  10. QueenEve says:

    It is really a great guide, but I have a very big probelm with craigs they do not show my ads which I put on the sell section and this is recently happening , so is there any advice for this ????

  11. geld lenen says:

    I guess the “NEED TO SELL” is working good. In the States but also here in The Netherlands, we call them koopjesjagers. Just chasing the best buys, forgetting any situation around it…

  12. [...] have given other tips in the past on how to sell products on Craigslist, and the feedback has been very positive from our readers here at 97th Floor. I have often been [...]

  13. Stefan says:

    People might actually care about the brand.

    Since you ‘missepled’ the brand Phillips (as philiips) in the original title, it might actually not have shown up on searches made by people interested in specificcaly a Philips set.

  14. Matt Keegan says:

    Craigslist was a money machine for me there for awhile until I stepped over the line and ticked someone off. Now that I’m banned, I would love to still have access to their site. You have given me solid reasons why I need to change my I.P. address!

  15. Dave L says:

    In retail, merchandising and signage are key points. We changed the signage at a key location for a large festival and more than doubled sales (a six-figure net dollar increase for that location). There were several years of very similar sales figures to compare to, so this was clearly a result of the signage, which was the ONLY change.

    Online, your ad is your sign. It’s your ONLY salesperson, it’s your everything until people get a chance to read your copy. Thanks for such a great example of how this works.

  16. Tool Belts says:

    I think it is important to use caps where you need them (like you said). There is nothing I hate more too see LOOK at me and a whole description in caps.

  17. jan says:

    u want to start selling on craigs list asap please help with some tips

  18. Kirk says:

    I like the study it is amazing how if you do a couple of little things like add @@@@@@ or ******* in your title how much it helps.

  19. MZ says:

    I like your tip about the personal touch. I think that does make a difference.

    But I think it’s a good idea to include the brand name in your ad. Buyers might not be looking for it in the initial search, but it’s likely to influence their impression of the item’s quality. If it’s a ‘good’ brand, you should certainly include it, but even if it’s not, you should include it too (doesn’t have to be in the title), because it’s better to be upfront about what you’re selling.
    [of course, it kinda depends on what product it is. Nobody buys a car without knowing the brand, but if you're selling a $20 cheap old bike, brand probably doesn't matter]

    As a buyer, I don’t like gimmicks like *****ALL CAPS SCREAMING!!!!! ONE DAY ONLY!!! *****
    (it makes me suspicious of a scam)
    …. but, hey, can’t argue with success, if that really works.

  20. Mathew Thomas says:

    You know, when people are using all those caps or special characters acII or whatever, it does get attention just as long as no one else is doing it too. Then, you got what looks like a clown show. I really like to flag ads over at craigshitmen.com when this stuff happens and let craigs hitmen do the work

  21. Nick says:

    Catchy titles to the rescue again! It works, no matter what anyone says, it really works. A big bold title with more general description will catch peoples’ eye more than the usual boredom.

  22. Rich W says:

    When I see all caps or the use of many symbols in a title, I automatically skip that ad and go to the next one. For some reason, that stuff reminds me too much of junk mail, or of the screaming that some car advertisers do in their radio and TV ads.

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