One of the greatest marketing tools for real estate investors today is Craigslist.
Unfortunately, it's also one of the biggest headaches.
The real power behind Craigslist is that it's FREE, and it also gives marketers the opportunity to reach a massive audience of people.
The problem is – if you really want to leverage what this site can do, you need to post your listings again and again, in more than one market… but the moment you start doing this, Craigslist will flag/delete/ghost your ads, which essentially cuts your legs out from under you.
Of course, there are ways to get around this, but it requires a bit of clever engineering on behalf of the person doing the posting.
For someone like me, I've got A LOT of other things on my plate. I don't have the time, brain power or sophistication to figure this all out on my own… but if someone shows me exactly how to do it and I can follow their clearly laid out instructions, that makes things much more achievable.
If this sounds anything like you, there's something you should know about.
I was recently given free access to a course at CLforLandInvestors.com. This course was put together by Seth Drehle-Ewan (you might remember him from this podcast episode). In it, he explains everything it takes to get past the annoying barriers that Craigslist has in place keep you from posting unlimited ads in unlimited markets.
Seth is a land investor, so the course is geared towards land investors – but honestly, from what I could see, the things covered in this course are applicable to anyone using Craigslist as a marketing platform (and that's a lot of people).
Want an easy 10% discount on the course? Be sure to use the REtipster affiliate link and enter coupon code “retipster” during checkout.
For those that are frustrated with Craigslist, this solution gives you several tools and tactics you can use to post more ads than you can imagine, while keeping the flag rate down.
If you're familiar with how Craigslist works (and if you've tried to re-post the same – or similar ad more than once), you probably know that post flagging is really the crux of the issue, and as such, flagging is the issue that this information aims to solve.
When you can get past this obstacle, you'll be able to reach an unbelievably huge audience, but only if you can take full advantage of posting with a high frequency, in more than one place.
Posting once and renewing your ads is certainly better than nothing, but that's only scratching the surface of how many people you can potentially reach once you're able to uncork the full potential of the Craigslist platform.
With the information in this course, you'll be able to post to as many markets as you want, while keeping costs at a minimum.
Basic Plan Overview
I found that most of the course material is fairly “techie” stuff (the kind of thing most left-brained people will love, and right-brained people will need to pop a NoDoz for), but nevertheless, it seems to work – and with the step-by-step tutorials provided in the course, it's broken down into nice, bite-sized pieces.
Module 1 – Unlimited Craigslist Accounts
In this module, you'll learn how to acquire and build some of the basic infrastructure:
- How to buy a dedicated domain name, which will allow you to create unlimited CL accounts under one gmail inbox.
- How to get the correct kind of Gmail Account (through G Suite) that will offer the functionality you need to make everything work.
- How to create your Craigslist account (if you don't have one already).
Module 2 – Unlimited Phone Numbers
One of the obstacles to using Craigslist is the required phone verifications (because CL will make you to verify your account with a unique phone number). Thus, if you want to create unlimited accounts, you'll need to have unlimited phone numbers. This module dives into the following things:
- How to create multiple phone numbers (which is needed for Craiglist Phone Verifications) using Boost Mobile and Google Voice.
- How to keep track of all your phone numbers with a Google Spreadsheet template (this is a very simple spreadsheet template, and it's provided in the course).
- This module also includes a bonus section for people who live outside the US and/or don't have access to Boost Mobile… so you can create unlimited phone numbers regardless of where you're located geographically.
Module 3 – Unlimited Free Content
In order to post tons of ads (with tons of accounts), you're also going to need tons of unique content. If your content isn't unique, your ads will likely get flagged and deleted (or ‘ghosted') on Craigslist – so nobody sees them.
This is obviously another huge obstacle that stands in the way of truly harnessing the power of Craigslist, so this module lays out what is necessary to overcome this hurdle, by explaining the following:
- How to create a Trello account, and more importantly, how Trello works
- How to create and manage teams, tasks, members, etc.
- A brief primer on how to keep track of pictures, content, ads, etc. with Trello
- How to create an IFTTT account, and how to use it in conjunction with Trello.
- How to create Applets, which information to fill in and which toggle switches to turn on and off.
- How to maintain your Applets to make sure they're working properly and synced correctly with Trello.
- How to use existing Craigslist Ads to create massive amounts of replicated-but-unique headlines and property descriptions for your ads.
Module 4 – Unlimited IP Addresses
As Seth explains at the beginning of this video module, this is basically the digital gold that allows everything to work.
- What is an IP address, why does it matter, and why is it helpful to have multiple IP addresses?
- The difference between Static and Fixed IP addresses.
- How to use your smart phone to create multiple IP addresses.
- Note: In order for this to work, you'll need to have a smart phone with a data plan.
- How to keep track of each IP address in conjunction with each CL account.
Module 5 – Posting to Craigslist
This is where it call comes together. In this module, the course explains how to:
- Take the spreadsheet (introduced in Module 1) and use it to start posting ads to Craigslist.
- How to post ads on Craigslist.
- How to set up your computer properly so you can post quickly.
- Best practices for content, pictures, zip codes, etc.
- When to kill an account vs. keep it running.
- How to know when an ad has been flagged or ghosted.
Advanced Plan Overview
Now, if you have plenty of time on your hands, then you probably don't need all the stuff discussed in the Advanced Modules, but if you have any desire to enlist the help of other people to post and manage your ads (along with the traffic that comes in from them), then this is another crucial component you'll want to familiarize yourself with.
Module 6 – Virtual Assistants
Module 7 – Craigslist and VAs
Once you've got your virtual assistants onboard, this module discusses a few key things:
- The best type of computer to use (all the specifics of recommended hardware and software).
- How to share computer access with your VA (so they can post on your behalf)
- Your mobile hotspot
- The phone verification process.
- How much VAs cost per hour.
Module 8 – Picking Craigslist Markets
There are 400+ markets in the US you can work in, and this video explains how to determine which markets you should be posting in:
- Knowing which states are disclosure/non-disclosure states
- i.e. – which states can provide the sales data of the properties you're evaluating… which can be very helpful for a number of reasons.
- How to use the County Assessor and the available GIS data to decide on a market
- Some other cool (and free) online tools to help evaluate the level of opportunity in each market.
- Using Google Sheets to manage your marketing schedule in each market.
Module 9 – Managing CL Leads
This module spends time covering the logistics of managing the leads with software (along with what not to do).
There's actually a lot that goes into these types of software systems, and Seth gives a pretty good tutorial on how to use HubSpot (something that goes a long way when trying to track this kind of activity).
Consider All the Costs
Now, if you're really going to dive into this stuff, it's important to note that you'll need to pay for more than simply the price of admission to this course. Here are some of the things you'll have to cover in order to actually implement the steps recommended in these videos:
- A Domain Name (approx $12 per domain)
- A GSuite account ($60 – $120 per year)
- A Phone from Boost Mobile ($19.99 for the one recommended)
- A Plan from Boost Mobile ($35/mo for the basic plan)
- If you choose to purchase a new computer for your Craigslist posting activity, you can get what you need for $200 or less (the course explains exactly what to get, and where to get it from).
- One lifetime license for a software called EM Client (one payment of $49.95)
- A virtual assistant (or multiple VAs) to help you post and manage your listings on Craigslist. The cost for this help can vary widely, but Seth explains where he found his for $3 – $4 per hour.
Overall, I thought the videos were very good. Seth takes you through each step and from what I could see, he didn't leave out any important details. Perhaps most importantly, I never felt lost along the way (and believe me – I'm someone who gets lost very easily).
I also appreciated that each video moved along at a nice clip (I didn't feel like I was wasting time with a 20 minute video that could've been 5 minutes). He doesn't waste time, he gets right to the point. I actually had to pay close attention to every second of each video, because there is very little “noise” and a lot of value.
And just to be clear on what to expect – this is not a system that will put Craigslist on autopilot for you. It shows you how to put these pieces in place and make it work, but it's not a software package that will do the work for you.
This course essentially shows you how to 10X (if not much more) your current reach through Craigslist. You (or a VA) will still have to do the posting and tracking of everything manually, but it works – and you'll be able to get around the most common obstacles that would normally make this kind of thing very difficult or impossible with a single CL account.
Again, if you want to check it out, head over to the course website through the REtipster affiliate link, and enter coupon code “retipster” for a 10% discount on whichever plan you sign up for.