Get Specific with Craigslist

snowman welcome home apartment marketingI just got married a few weeks ago! And with all the positive changes and excitement comes… moving. Although I’m not moving into an apartment, I have spent a good deal of time on Craigslist the past few months as my fiancé and I have talked about our budget and priorities when it comes to renting a home.

It has been interesting and valuable to be reminded of the prospect experience first hand. Instead of being on Craigslist with my “work” hat on, I was scanning the site with a “renter” hat on.

What really stood out to me was how many of the apartment community ads started to blur together. Many of them use the same types of what I call “power words” to describe what they offer and at a certain point, the phrases seem to feel empty and vague.

On a property website, where you are not competing for visual attention with another community at the exact same moment, phrases like “come relax here”  or “the lifestyle you’ve been looking for” can have more power behind them. This is because generally, they are immediately accompanied by photos and other text that support the claim.

But on Craigslist, it is crucial that you use a variety of headlines for different ads and be sure to include some that are VERY specific. For example:

Upstairs, Corner 2BR w/ Large Windows & Pool Views – New Dishwasher – Laundry on Site.

In addition to the title, it’s important the the information a prospect sees after clicking through has very specific information. It can’t be just general information about your community.

If someone is deciding between two apartment communities that are both similar in price and location, it is the specifics of the actual apartment that is available that will sway their decision to call and schedule a viewing at one community or the other.

Particularly because of the shift in Craigslist policy that no longer allows the same type of HTML with flyer-type hosted images, it’s clear how important the text descriptions are. I can determine in 5 seconds whether the ad copy was written by a 3rd party who had never been to the community in person, or by someone on-site, who was familiar with the nuances of the area and what type of things matter to their demographic.

If you have a 3rd party company managing your Craigslist system, find a way to integrate a personal touch from your leasing agents who are familiar with the area and the concerns of real prospects.

And of course, as many people have observed, people on Craigslist are looking for a deal. If you have a special, put it in the headline!

The last thing you want a prospect to think when they click on your Craigslist ad, is that this is just another generic ad. Spend a few extra minutes posting specific details about the available unit and it can make a significant difference in your conversion and the quality of the lead.

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