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Archive for the ‘tips for beginners’ Category

Craigslist can be a lucrative source of business for some companies. If you currently post on craigslist, or plan to, here are some suggestions to make the most of them:

  • Post often. Posts can get buried quickly as new postings come in frequently. Craigslist will not let you post the same ad more than once within a few days of each other. So consider developing at least five different versions of your advertisement that you can rotate through.
  • To help you come up with different ad versions, while increasing your responses, develop different ads targeted to specific types of people. Don’t worry that being so specific will turn others away. In fact, in the sea of ads on Craigslist, being more specific allows you to stand out more to whomever you’re targeting. In most cases, this approach should receive more responses than a more general ad. For instance in your ad titles, call out to stay-at-home moms or runners. Or make it geographically specific like: Violin Lessons for Costa Mesa Residents.
  • In your ad copy, break up your paragraphs into smaller chunks. People scan and they scan very quickly. Breaking it up makes scanning easier and they capture more of what you’re saying.
  • Include images. If you’re selling your services, then include a photo of you. In a service business people are buying YOU so let them know who you are. Other visuals are also good to portray what you do (like musical instruments if you’re a music teacher). Also include your logo. Consider taking some of your key selling points and making them a graphical image you can include like: Great references!
  • Always check for typos and grammer. People are wary of scams and typos or poorly worded ads are one way people screen for businesses to avoid.
  • Put in your ad title the words you think people will use to search for a business like yours. Not everyone will search by going to particular categories. Some will use the search function like “music lessons”. Determine what you think people would use to search for a business like yours and then include that in your title.
  • Make your ad stand out. Use special characters in the beginning and end of your title. Use unique characters that aren’t on the keyboard like stars or musical notes, etc. You can create these in a Word document and use a symbol type font. Then cut and paste into the Craigslist ad creator.
  • Post when your audience is on Craigslist. You know ads quickly disappear to the bottom. Desk professionals are usually on the Internet right before lunch and right before they leave the office. I think mid-afternoon is a good time too. Think about who your target audience is and when they might be searching the Internet.
  • Track to see which ads get the most traffic. That will help you fine tune your ads to perform even better over time. Use a service like: http://bit.ly/. They shorten your URL to your website that you include in your ad and at the same time it tracks how many clicks you get. By creating a different bit.ly URL for each ad, you can see which ads drive the most traffic. And if you use a bit.ly URL for each ad you do for certain times of the day, you can track to see what times of the day are the best to post an ad.
  • Happy advertising!

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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    I love the Hubspot Website Grader program. Been using it to track how well my site is designed for search engine optimization. I currently have a score of 91 out of 100. Still work to be done to increase traffic but headed in the right direction. It’s free. Check it out for your business: Website Grader.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2010 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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    Moms are an active force on the Internet and believed to be outstanding word-of-mouth spreaders…if you’ve gained their trust and appreciation.

    If moms are your target audience for your product or service you can find them on many different sites. Here are just a few examples:

    1) Local mom clubs like geocities.com/sfbamc and local web sites like marinmommies.com
    2) National sites like momslikeme.com and themmob.org
    3) Support groups on Yahoo Groups, Facebook and the like.
    4) Blogs that moms follow like suburbanjungle.net and momversation.com
    5) Moms that twitter on twitter.com and twittermoms.com

    Happy connecting.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2009 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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    If you had someone design a web site for you, you have come to realize that whenever you need to make changes to the site (and there were more changes than you ever realized) you have to go back to your designer to make them…and that costs more money.

    Maybe to fix this you decided to create a blog to inform people about updates about your business. Not a bad thought but now you have to work on getting people to visit both sites. (Please note: A blog can be strategically important to creating a relationship with prospects and customers and driving traffic but it’s focus should be on just that and not a band-aid fix for your main site).

    Or there’s the option of hiring a web designer to create your site and allows you to log in to a content management system to make your own changes. A great option but at a high price.

    Have you looked into online DIY web site services where you can create your own web site? My current favorite is www.yola.com. They have several templates you can customize with your own images. It’s all online so you can easily access and make changes whenever you want to. It’s amazingly simple to use–almost as easy as using Word. You can incorporate your search engine friendly keywords without having to learn HTML. They also have many fun additions to include like a Google map, videos, an online store, Google Adsense ads, widgets from SpringWidget and Widgetbox and more with just a click and drag.

    Oh, and it’s FREE.

    Use your existing URL and have it point to the site you create on Yola (they give you instructions) or they can purchase a URL for you for a professional business presence.

    Certainly a custom web site created by a design professional and maintained by that designer or through a content management system is the ideal way to go. But if your budget just can’t support this, an online DIY web creation service has become a great way to go.

    Other sites worth looking into are hubpages.com, homestead.com, joomla.org, smallbusiness.officelive.com/Home, webs.com and weebly.com.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2009 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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    If you’re on LinkedIn, how well have you optimized your profile? Check out these articles for great tips:

    Six Elements of a Great LinkedIn Profile

    What recruiters look for in a LinkedIn profile: 8 tips

    How to Improve LinkedIn Profile

    There are lots of reasons why people use LinkedIn. Check out this list of resources to find articles on how you might improve your usage of LinkedIn.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2009 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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    Here are my new favorite FREE tools for checking on how well I’m optimizing my website, creating SEO friendly press releases, utilizing Facebook, twitter and more. Not only do you get free analysis but you learn how to improve what you’re doing. These are all from HubSpot.

    Apparently I need to work on my “Personality” Grade. Man that hurts! (And a great April Fools release)

    http://grader.com/

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2009 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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    Check out my contributing article to the Best Biz Practices blog at: http://bestbizpractices.org/2009/05/26/top-10-advertising-tips-for-small-business/. Thank you to Mike Clough.

    Small Business Advertising Ideas © 2009 Glynns Thomas and Advertising Spark. All rights reserved.

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