Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dave's (Free!) Guide to Posting on Craig's List

Craig's List is pretty awesome. It's free, it's easy, it's local. I've been using it a lot lately to look for furniture for my girlfriend's house. We haven't had a ton of success yet, but I feel with some patience we will be able to come up with some excellent deals in time.

However, my browsing experience suggests that there is a huge number of boneheads out there who just don't seem to understand how selling something in the classifieds works. So as a public service, I am offering you, the Internet, some useful marketing tips, free of charge, that will help you move yo' merch wid a celerity by scaring off fewer potential buyers.

First, learn to spell. Or at least have someone who can proof your ad for you. It's a dining table, not a "dinning" table. And there's no such word as "georgeous." Sometimes it's possible to figure out what a subliterate post is trying to sell, and sometimes it isn't. Why take the chance? C'mon, people. It's your mother tongue, and stuff.

Choose a descriptive subject line. "*****OMFG IM MOVIN BUY THIS STUFF!!!!1!*****8" doesn't count. Yes, some people will click on your ad just to see what "this stuff" is, but many more will if you simply choose a more sane subject line like "Living room set, computer desk, dining table and chairs for sale." Was that so hard?

Post a damn picture. OK, I know some people don't have a digital camera or whatever, but, really, the sheer number of folks who advertise something for sale without posting a picture of it suggests that a lot of them are just being lazy. You want more people to respond to your ad? Then, I dunno, maybe show them what you're selling? Not everyone is going to take the time to email you and ask for what you already should have provided.

Post a damn picture larger than 10 pixels. Amazingly, among those who do have the wisdom to post a picture, there is a not-insignifcant subset who post pictures that are so small it's impossible to get a good look at the item(s) for sale. They may as well not have posted a picture at all. Stupid.

Post a damn picture larger than 10 pixels and that doesn't feature blurry or obstructed views or crap all over your item. An even larger subset of idiots seems to think that a picture of, for example, that table for sale is useful even if there's a tablecloth covering it completely. Or a picture of barstools that are actually hidden behind the bar. Or a couch covered with a blanket and kids' toys. Still not helpful! Think, damn you.

Include useful information. I can't count the number of times I've seen ads (sans picture) that also do not include what a buyer would consider crucial information in making a purchasing decision. Example: "For sale: chair. Call Dipshit at 734-555-5555." Why not save everyone time and say what color the chair is, what the dimensions are, and whether it's an armchair or a folding chair, wood or upholstered, indoor or outdoor, swivel or stationary -- you get the idea. When you post details, you screen out uninterested buyers and don't force them to call you only to get annoyed when it turns out you have a stool when they wanted a Barcalounger.

Don't spam the list with same ad over and over. I know you think maybe people missed it the first or second times and re-posting may catch fresh eyes. That's fine. But when I've read the same fucking ad for the same fucking thing six or more times, it may be time for you to consider:

  1. Posting more details. Your ottoman might be really cool because it's hollow and holds stuff, but you need to mention that.
  2. Including different pictures. More is more where pics are concerned. Try a different angle or a detail view.
  3. Lowering your price. Maybe your expectations with this piece are way out of line with what any nonretarded buyer is willing to spend for it.
  4. Giving that shit to goodwill. It could just be nobody wants an eagle-beak toaster lamp hat. And can you blame them?
There you go: seven solid tips for posting your Craig's List ad in such a way as to not cause me to swear at my monitor. You're now on your way to, as famous rich guy Donald Trump says, thinking big, kicking ass, and selling junk.