7 – Step Guide on How to Sell on Craigslist For Beginners

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Ever heard of Craigslist.  Not many people outside of the US have so if you are curious to know what it’s all about and how you can benefit from it, please have read. When I was doing my research, I was surprised to discover just how popular it is in certain parts of the world.

Do you remember the classified pages in your local newspaper or magazines? They were (and still are) found at the back pages of most newspapers and other publications.  That’s just what Craigslist is but better than the old school way of listing.

That’s because it’s online and free. Founded in 1995 by Craig Newman, Craigslist is an online classified advertisement platform where one can list all sorts and manner of things form houses, jobs to discussion forums.

In fact, let’s just say that you can list anything and everything. There is a very thin line when it comes to what you can’t list. Of course, it has to adhere to the terms and conditions. That’s how Craig envisioned it to be. There is very little that you can’t list.

The website is really simple. Just links to the products or services you might be searching for and a calendar on the left sidebar.

Recently they have had to discontinue listing adult content in the US after encountering legal issues but it’s still legal in certain other cities in the world. Craigslist was initially started as an email distribution list featuring events in the San Francisco Bay area.  It has currently grown to over 70 countries, serving over 570 cities around the world.

And, yes, you’ll feel awesome selling things on Craigslist for cash!  In fact, you can even post items on Craigslist to offer them free!

So, how can you use Craigslist to get buyers for your items? The very first of the important tips is that you have to create an account on Craigslist. You can do so by visiting craigslist.org Once you have done so, follow these 7 simple steps:

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  1. Take clear photos of your item

    Visual appeal is a powerful marketing tool. People will not show interest in items that are lackluster in their looks. Conversely, good-looking products act as a magnet for buyers. Ensure that you include at least one image of the product you are putting up for sale.

    Make sure that it is clear, and that it highlights the key features of the item. This means that you may have to take more than one picture. The more the pictures you use, the more the impact you will create. Include the images of all the accessories of the product.

  2. Be sincere in your post

    Most buyers are wary of online offers. This is because most of them have had their fingers burnt at least once on online platforms. As such, they tend to be cynical of the items being sold on such platforms.  It does not mean that your item has to be perfect.

    What you need to do is ensure that you are honest with your photos. Show any of the product flaws so that the buyers do not raise many unnecessary questions in this area.  It is preferable that you use the actual pictures of your item. These look more honest than stock photos. The potential buyer will be impressed by your honesty.

  3. Use easy descriptions

    Enhance the buyer’s experience by writing descriptions that are easy to read. Avoid spelling and grammatical errors. These are a turn off for most buyers. They paint you as a careless person – dishonest even!

    Also, do not write the description in ALL CAPS! Make the titles and the description itself easy on the eyes. A well-written description is appealing – it attracts potential buyers to your post. If need be, engage the services of a professional to help you in designing the ad and doing the write-up.

  4. Use relevant Keywords

    Use keywords that are relevant to your product. Craigslist uses a search box return that is different from other search engines. Craigslist’s search works for the exact words you key in.  For example, the results for ’Chair’’ and ’Chairs’’ are quite different on Craigslist search.

    It is that word specific! You can do it right by using as many descriptive words as you can in your description. The more details you give regarding the product, the more you are likely to include the right keywords.

    However, ensure that you follow the laid down rules as you try to do this. These rules are available on their website. Trying to influence search results is disallowed. Doing this may result in your ad being pulled down.

  5. Include the product’s brand name

    It is important to include as many details of the product as you can, to assist the buyers in decision-making. Ensure that you include the item’s model number and its brand name. A number of customers only go for specific brand names and models.

    This is especially when they are buying the item for the second time. They trust certain brands, and they will be more than happy to buy from you if it is what you are selling.

  6. Include relevant contact details

    About 90% of sales on Craigslist involve the buyer calling the seller on the phone. People who call are more serious about making the purchase than those who use other means of communication. Therefore, do not be shy away from including your telephone number in your post.

    Email is not as reliable as the phone. A good percentage of emailers do not follow through to make the purchase. Granted, you may have some misgivings about giving out your phone number on a public platform. You can circumvent this in two ways.

    One, ask your employer (if you are not the boss!) whether you can use the office line for this purpose. Alternatively, buy a sim card and use it to make the sale.

  7. Pull down the ad after closing the sale

    Once you have met the buyer and sold your item, it is important that you remove the ad from Craigslist. This way, you will not be bothered by calls from new buyers who think that the item is still on the market.

Additional tips.

It is important that you consider batching your items before you put them up for sale. This is to ease the buyer’s shopping experience. It also enhances the chances of one buyer purchasing multiple items from you. However, even as you batch the items, ensure that each has its own price. Also, give the buyer the opportunity to buy any of the items separately.

Another option is to sell your items in lots. This is slightly different from selling them in batches. That means a lot of clusters for a number of items for a single price. This means that the buyer does not have the option of buying the items in pieces; they have to purchase the entire bundle.

Selling in lots is appropriate for items of low value. When they are bundled together, they acquire some substantial value.  We would not be adding much value to your selling experience if I did not talk about accountability on Craigslist. Like in all other platforms, you need to be proactive on Craigslist to protect yourself against scammers.

Keep in mind that Craigslist does offer a sellers’ reputation rating. As such, you cannot tell whether a seller/buyer has perpetrated an online fraud in the past. This means that this system does not guide you on the trustworthiness of the person you are dealing with. But, you can adopt a selling strategy that ensures that you do not become a fraud victim.

Ensure that you deal with the buyer face to face when transferring ownership. This is your best course of protection. Also, avoid dealing with checks or money transfers. Let the buyer pay you in cash. This protects you from 99.5% of the fraudsters lurking out there.

To wrap up

If you have an item, a product or a service that you feel might be in demand in your neck of the woods, Craigslist is a great place to get the ball rolling. As you can see, it has that raw classified feel to it. That’s just what Craigslist is. You list and wait for someone on the other end to reply. Someone will if they need you. Go ahead, have a great selling experience on Craigslist!

But why just wait and yet there are many other ways you can make money in this vast abyss we call the internet. Check out how I make money online. It might just turn out to be the right fit for you.

Many thanks for dropping by. If you have a question or a comment on how to sell on craigslist for beginners, please leave it below. I would love to hear from you.


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