Here’s what we know
As of today, in all areas as far as we’ve been able to see, Craigslist has removed all embedded images and all links. Ads can still be posted, and images can still be browsed for and uploaded, but all hyperlinks are turned into non-active text links. This means that when the consumer clicks the link, it doesn’t go anywhere. They stay on Craigslist. Wouldn’t you think that’s what Craigslist would have wanted in the first place?
Here’s what we don’t know
Are links coming back? Will they come back with a pay-per-link or pay-per-ad feature? We think so. This year, we started paying $25 an ad for employment ads. At The Ballen Group Las Vegas Real Estate Team, we run four to eight of these a week and quickly adapted to paying. We saw value, and made the change. We did not panic. We have to figure there are a lot of businesses who did like we did. Craigslist watches, learns and is probably already on the path to charging for housing ads as well. It would just make sense.
For everyone who was using Craigslist as a main source for website traffic, this hurts. For those of us who saw this coming, not so much. We have stood on a soapbox more than once and yelled, “Do other things besides Craigslist, it will change!” When you work the Web strategically through great website content, blogging, video, press releases, other ad sites and social media, you have cast a wide net. And when one thing changes, you don’t feel damaged.
Here’s some suggestions on how to adapt
- Bring back old-school techniques.
- Consider your Craigslist postings to be like a yard-sign call. Don’t discount the value of a call. We, personally, have always included our phone number and find great value in a call vs. a Web lead. Always better. Ability to convert a live call increases conversion rates from your Craigslist posting efforts.
- Offer an item of value. “For your free list of foreclosures, call” or “See all homes listed in Summerlin under $200,000 today by calling _________.”
- Include a short, simple dot-com website address so they can still type one in if they should decide to do so.
- Focus on the images you are uploading. You will want to go back to using more bright, beautiful images. Without links, you will need to give them real motivation to want to know more.
- Take advantage of the fact that most posters will not adapt and will go away. You now have less competition.
Lastly, you need to create a marketing plan you are proud of!