Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Using Online Classifieds To Your Business Advantage

When you hear the words "online classifieds" it usually brings to mind stuff we need to get rid of or a way to score cheap concert tickets. However, when you consider that nearly half (49%) of all online adults worldwide have used online classifieds at some point and that every day, 9% of online users visit a classified site, you should start thinking about how your business or services can benefit from exposure on online classifieds. If you get creative, there are many ways to advertise ethically and wisely. I'll explain those after more interesting data from this study:

According to a recent Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project study, it was also found that consumers have doubled their usage of online classifieds since 2005. Some other interesting info from the study:
  • Classifieds are most popular with those aged 25-44 years. Over half of this population (62%) have used the sites.
  • Those 18-24 and 45-54 years old use less frequently, but the figures are still well over 40%.
  • Fewer than 35% of users aged 55-64 years old use online classifieds.
  • Men are more likely to used a classified site on any given day - 12%, compared to 7% of women.
  • Those with household income levels of $50,000 or more are more likely to use online classified sites than those with incomes under $50,000 (25% vs. 15%).
  • The fastest growing online population using online classified sites are 30-49 years old, and those with incomes over $50,000 per household.
So, how can this help promote your business or service? The #1 online resource for classified advertising is Craigslist ( Here are some actual examples I found of how businesses are using Craigslist:
  1. Realtors: Under the "Housing" section, list rentals and residential/commercial properties for sale.
  2. Automotive: Under "Services Offered > Automotive Services" promote brake repair, oil changes, tune-ups, etc.
  3. Lawyers: Under "Services Offered > Legal Services" place an ad that specifically promotes your area of expertise (bankruptcy, criminal, divorce, etc.)
  4. Gyms: Under "Community > Activities" post an ad seeking those in need of personal trainers or general fitness.
  5. Photographers: Under "Community > Artists" place an ad promoting your photography business.
  6. Massage/Spa: Under "Services Offered > Theraputic Services" announce a "Grand Opening" or promote your massage services, offer promotions, etc.
  7. Tanning Salon: Under "For Sale > Free" offer a week of free tanning on your basic beds or perhaps a free trial on a more advanced tanning system.
While there are some posting guidelines that need to be followed, posting on Craigstlist is absolutely free! Free advertising that is also effective? Yep.

The key to using Craigslist is to post ads frequently. As with any effective advertising, a healthy balance of brand exposure and familiarity are required. Then it comes down to time - how much are you willing to spend if it means growing your business?

If you'd like to try other, popular online classifieds resources, I would suggest (eBay's classifieds site) and, which handles classifieds for Facebook.

Anthony Vita
Web Feat Works