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Market Your Used Car on Craigslist

Craiglist a Great Place ‘Cuz It’s Free


Market Your Used Car on Craigslist

This 1999 Buick LeSabre is an example of what you might find on Craigslist.org

Photo © GM

The website that's helping put newspapers out of business is the best place to market your used car on the web. Craigslist is "local classifieds and forums for more than 550 cities in over 50 countries worldwide - community moderated, and largely free," according to its website. It has more than 12 billion page views a month (be still my beating heart) used by more than 50 million people a year (40 million in the U.S.). It is the number 8 website worldwide in terms of english-language page views behind eBay and ahead of the BBC.

The simple reason Craigslist is the best place to market your used car is it's free. You just can't beat free. Well, that's not entirely true. You can waste your time by placing free ads, but you're not going to with Craigslist.

As mentioned above, unlike most used car websites, Craigslist localizes the ads to the specific geographic area. People don't necessarily always search for a used car by type. They look by price or region. This way people may stumble upon your ad, even if it's not the exact car they were looking for.

It's also easy to search for the exact vehicle you want, which means people are going to find your car easily. It's important, though, that you put the name and model of your used car in the posting title (i.e. don't say, 95 Civic - put in 1995 Honda Civic).

Take plenty of good pictures of your car from different angles. Also, show the interior of your used car. I saw lots of ads without interior pics and it made me suspicious. Frankly, I would not travel any distance to look at a used car if the ad didn't have interior pictures.

Here are some basic tips: shoot pictures later in the day when the bright sun won't wash out the colors of your car; post lots of photos of different aspects of your used car; and, make sure it's clean before you shoot and post the photos.

This idea comes from a blog called Fiscal Fizzleand it's brilliant."Format the listing like a blog post. Use short, concise paragraphs with a few sentences each. Too many Craigslist ads look like a giant blob of text goo. Being clear & legible will go a long way. Enclose each idea (what's good with the car, wrong with the car, etc.) in a single paragraph."

Once your ad is posted, email a link to it to as many people as you can. Remember, word of mouth is one of the best ways to sell anything.

One thing to keep in mind is you might want to advertise in two markets if you're accessible to both (i.e. if you're halfway between Decatur, Ill., and Peoria, Ill., you would post on both craigslist sites). Wait a minute. Peoria has its own craigslist website? Just kidding.

One aspect I like about craigslist is it recognizes people are going to try to rip you off. It warns you repeatedly to be on your toes when dealing with prospective customers.

Photo © GM

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