I have been in the internet marketing industry for 18 years, and in that time, marketing strategies have definitely changed and evolved with the sites that have come and go over the course of that time. Gone are the search engines like HotBot, Excite, Lycos, etc, being replaced by Google, Yahoo and Bing. Gone is MySpace, Friendster, etc, being replaced by Facebook and Twitter. Yahoo Auctions to Ebay, etc. However, one site that seems to have defied this trend is Craigslist! Despite still sporting the design and look of 1997 when it debuted, Craigslist is still an excellent medium for business owners to advertise their products and services on.
The reason why Craigslist is such a successful medium for businesses is that when someone creates a post on Craigslist, it goes live almost immediately! This means that you can and probably will start receiving calls, emails, web site hits from your ad as soon as it hits the Craigslist directory. Sure, it may have taken you 10-15 minutes to write a good, high quality ad, and maybe you even paid a graphic designer $25 to make a nice flyer for you. But really the time and financial resources involved in the process is quite minimal. Especially when considering the potential for return on this minimal investment is so exponential!
This is in stark contrast to attempting to get your site listed at the top of popular search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. The process of organic SEO or Search Engine Optimization is quite the arduous task. It involves in-depth knowledge of coding standards such as HTML, PHP and CSS, and then having an even deeper understanding on how manipulating and changing this code can result in positive indicators for keywords you’re targeting to the search algorithms employed by these search engines. And that’s just the beginning! Generally when you SEO a web site, the process takes a very long time, and involves a lot more money. It’s not instantaneous like Craigslist, where your ad will appear and you start receiving calls and clients that day. With SEO, it generally takes 3-6 months just for the changes you made to have an affect on your search rankings.
And these affects can be positive or negative!
You could have spent the past 2 weeks heavily optimizing your site, and then see 3 months down the road that what you did actually resulted in a negative indicator to the search engines! Couple this with the amount of money you need to spend on other SEO indicators such as backlinks, positive social media queues, etc, and the cost can quickly outweigh the return. Don’t get me wrong… having a well SEO’d site that ranks well on Google will bring you amazing relevant and targeted traffic that is perfect for conversion (I mean, I’m sure you got here from a search query right?). However, there is lower hanging fruit to pick first.
This is why posting on Craigslist is such a viable option for businesses of all sizes. You see an immediate return on your investment, and utilizing a automated posting service, such as Craigslist Posting Service where your ads can go live right away in all the areas locally or across the nation is just another way to further harness the marketing power and potential that Craigslist possesses.