Most businesses these days have to do some sort of Internet niche marketing if they want to keep their head above water. If you are small-business owner like me, chances are you have had to learn some niche marketing strategies in order to survive, perhaps even begrudgingly. I know myself, I would rather be focusing on learning more about my craft and my business itself, not the ins and outs of niche marketing. Yet niche marketing has brought me a greater appreciation for my customers and their needs. In fact, I even enjoy it now.
In this article I will share with you general approaches for one of the most viable free traffic sources on the Internet: Craig’s List.
The big “Internet gurus” are just finally getting around to noticing this incredible source of free traffic. Yes, Craig’s list is a Goldmine of marketing opportunities awaiting you if approached correctly. If approached blindly however, you can waste a lot of time and not see any reward.
I live in San Francisco. As such, I have seen Craig’s List grow from a very small list into a worldwide phenomena. In fact, I have spoken with Craig many times (yes there is a real guy named Craig). To some people the Craig’s List web site might look a little complicated. Do this right now, open up another browser window and I will walk you through a few areas of the web site, highlighting the potential free niche marketing options.
* Community *
In the upper left-hand corner is this box. Listed as subheadings are “activities”, “artists”, “general”, “pets”, and others.
The “General” category is an excellent place for any kind of free report or other free promotional activity. Really, anything goes in this category. Having said that, you do not want to post anything in here that mentions a fee or even has prominently displayed fee based services on your landing page. If you do, it will likely get flagged, quickly.
However you can market your free newsletters, free reports, free tele-classes. If you have a niche product that corresponds to one of the subheadings, all the better. For instance if you are promoting a book on dog training, the ” pets” category here could be a gold mine.
* Personals *
You may think “personals” is a total waste of time unless you are looking for a date, however, the “missed connections”, “rants and raves” and “miscellaneous romance” could be a viable place for marketing a free newsletter or free products or relationship tools or similar things. Again, be careful with fee-based products. The Craig’s list community will flag them very quickly.
* Discussion forums *
It speaks for itself. In general, these are focused discussions on an array of topics. Currently there are 72 discussion forums active. The discussions are worldwide, existing on every Craig’s list. Personally, I have not spent much time here, but I bet you could have great success if you found an appropriate niche. These are real-time discussions. (Hmm, I have to try this myself)
* For Sale *
Yes, For Sale. How have you overlooked this before? These are free classified ads going out to thousands and thousands of people interested in what you are selling in every major city in the world. These are focused niche categories. There are many ways to promote products. For instance, there is a “computer” category. Presumably, those that click on this category will be looking to buy a computer or computer related products. What if you wrote an e-book on how to maintain your computer? Sell it here. “Registry Cleaner Affiliate”, sell it here. There are categories like “sports”, ” musical instruments”, “motorcycles”, “general”. Check this out. It is a real goldmine. I still promote FREE stuff here, with the “For Sale” items at the landing page.
* Services *
“Services” is where independent businesses can place free ads. Niches include, “financial”, “legal”, “therapeutic”. This is also a category where you can flat out promote your services. And it is all free.
How to Leverage the Power of Craig’s List.
Craig’s list is operational in hundreds of cities all over the world now. This gives the opportunity to put free ads in front of thousands and thousands of people every day, focused and targeted toward your niche. However, who has the time to post hundreds of advertisements? I certainly do not. And, one thing about the Craig’s list niche marketing strategy – you must post a lot of ads and rotate them regularly.
This is not easy as Craig’s list has duplication flag that will not allow you to post the same message in more than one location or at one time. So, the way around this is to write several different ads. Just change the wording; it is simple. Yet, it takes time. You only have to do it once. It is time well spent.
What I do is write several different ads/postings for different categories.
I have “Free Stuff” Ads for the Community and other non-sales areas. I have several free reports and several e-mail newsletters. So, I have four or five different versions of each “Free Stuff” Ad.
I have “Paid Products and Services” Ads For the Sale and Services Sections. I also have four or five different versions of several paid products that I list in the “For Sale” and “Services” section. Part of my business is in the therapeutic section.
Every day I have at least 15 to 20 Craig’s list ads targeting specific niches. I generally post in the most populated and active communities. I rotate the ads so as to not set off the duplicate content filters.
Niche Marketing to Craig’s list can be very profitable if it is done correctly. It can also be very time-consuming. It is the type of job you should outsource. Also it takes a while to know exactly how to approach each of these different subgenres.
As someone who has grown up in the Craig’s list community, I have seen the ins and outs of of it for years (since 1997 to be precise) and realize its quirky nature. All of this effort will do no good if your postings get flagged by the community or if your delivery and approach is wrong. You have to be ever vigilant of both when and where to post sales ads and free stuff. You must have specific strategies relative to landing pages. You must have a certain conversational nature to your advances, etc.
Niche marketing to Craig’s list can be an absolute gold mine if done correctly. If done incorrectly, you can waste a lot of time and not see any results.