Craigslist! What a wonderful, weird, profitable place. At its core, it's an online marketplace where you can buy or sell anything directly from the buyers and sellers. At its fringe edges, it's a subculture of comedians, poets, and sexual deviants. Take a look at the Best of page to be entertained for hours. But this isn't what we're here to talk about. We want to sell our things. Ideally, we want to sell most of our things. A good first step is to reduce the amount of clutter in your life. After doing so, you will have a sizable pile of semi-valuables ripe for the 'listing.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
This adage is an oldie but a goodie. When it comes to Craigslist, if you don't have a photo, you won't have a sale. There are so many posts to skim through, so photos are a quick and reliable way to show the item you're selling. Imaging trying to sell a car without any photos. Probably not going to happen. Not quickly at least. We want to see the quality, the color, the condition, the size, and detail.
If possible, spend some time with your photos. Use these tips below to take the best photos possible:
- Shoot near a window with natural light. Indoor ceiling lights are harsh and yellow, while natural light is cooler in temperature. Natural light is also more diffuse, making shadows soft and supple. Yes, supple.
- Use or borrow the best camera you can get your hands on. Smartphone cameras are okay, but any sort of DSLR camera will make your photos more clear and dynamic. Blurry low-res photos look cheap.
- Find a nice surface to place the object on. As seen in these photos, the black wood makes the Nikon look premium (despite it being a Nikon...)
- Take a ton of photos! Craigslist allows you to upload a ton of photos, so take advantage of it! Take a look at the slideshow below. The photo of the bottom of the camera wasn't absolutely necessary, but it shows what kind of tripod mount it has, that the camera cover is actually intact, and more detail on the lens type.
- Shoot macro shots of any defects and damage. You want to be honest so the buyer knows as much as possible about what they're getting into.
The Perfect Title
The title for your post should be as concise as possible, while only using one adjective. You want to explain your item to someone who's just skimming the list view. Think about what would sell you on the item. Obviously list what it is and include any included elements (such as a lens). A good technique to use is by searching for your item on Amazon. If you're selling a Canon 5D Mark III, your title might look like:
Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
This title is incredibly detailed and tells a lot in a little space, but it's a little overwhelming. Most users who are buying this camera either already know some of those details or don't need to see that much info. Let's reduce some of the extra words to make it easier on the eyes.
Canon 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame Digital Camera + 24-105mm f/4 Lens
This is much easier to read without skimping on any important details. You'll also notice that I replaced "with" with a "+" symbol. This helps break up the title into two separate parts. That way, you can quickly see it's a camera and a lens. With the first title, that wasn't as apparent.
Now that you have a buyer's attention, you must convince them that your product is the one worth buying. The overall consensus for writing style varies greatly, I've found. In my research, some people recommend being technical and brief while others suggest adding more life and humor to the posts. I'm with the latter crowd. When someone reads my post, I want them to chuckle just a little, making them feel like I'm a real person who is both trustworthy and reliable. Here are a few overall tips:
- Use proper grammar and spell check! I have passed up on many posts where sentence structure was thrown to the wind. If you're not willing to put a little love into your post, you probably haven't put much love into caring for the item I want to buy from you.
- Be friendly and funny. Like I was saying above, make the person feel like they want to be your friend. Make them excited to put a face to the prose. I usually make a lighthearted exaggeration to some of my claims like, "These headphones will literally melt brain with auditory euphoria."
- Make bulleted lists of features. Lists are easy to skim or read and provide nice structure to your post. If you're selling a camera and I see three long paragraphs with stories and technical details throughout, I'm already exhausted before I start reading. Make the entire post skimmable!
- Be honest. If there is damage or unusual wear or a little fray in the fabric, call it out! The more accurate you are, the most trust you'll get.
Location, Location, Location
Absolutely post your location. I think it's optional on the site, but it's not an option for you! If I see that something is near to me, I'm much more likely to hit them up and schedule a meetup. Especially if I can take a quick walk or bus ride to get over there. If you have to drive for 30 minutes in traffic for a $20 pair of headphones, is it even worth it?
Speaking of location, if you're able to deliver your item, be sure to mention it! Selling cabinets is way easier if you have the ability to deliver it to the location. You can even offer to deliver for a price. Alternately, if you don't have a vehicle, you could offer a discount for someone to pick it up directly from you.
If your post doesn't get any hooks the first time, just renew the post! When renewing, you can also drop the price a few bucks to make the deal more tempting. I've had a pair of headphones on Craigslist for a month now. Each time I renew it, I leave the price at $20. Just today, someone finally emailed about it. Persistence pays off. As long as you're not in a hurry to get rid of it, patience pays.
If you follow all these tips, your ads should explode with popularity as you sell all your leftover goods. Happy selling!
Oh, and this Nikon (in all these photos) is for sale from my girlfriend. Let me know if you're interested!
↓ Nikon D5000 12.3 MP Digital Camera + 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens - $285 ↓