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I’m sure by now that every real estate investor surfing the internet for information is well aware that the big 3 (Craigslist, Kijiji, and BackPage) are an essential tool in generating leads online. However, there is a disconnect between knowing and doing and what often stops people is ‘Where do I start?’ Well just starting and only having the idea in your head that you have to post doesn’t really leave much conviction for the poster if they don’t really understand the ‘why?’

Today we’re going to be covering the nuts and bolts of ‘The Big 3’ and laying out a game plan that answers the question ‘Why?’ Keep in mind this is to generate seller leads or to build your buyers list, if you’re posting properties then the recursion trick at the end isn’t going to be a factor since listing a property is time sensitive, as where lead generation is constant throughout your time as a business.

Craigslist is the epicenter of online classifieds where its biggest strength is the sheer amount of traffic. Unfortunately the economics of it all also dictates that where there is high traffic there is going to be a high volume of competition. The biggest problem with Craigslist is that you are really operating between a rock and a hard place where there is the benefit of high traffic, but you are posting to a list that turns over rapidly. By rapidly I mean that after your post is up it could only be a matter of ten minutes until your post is off the front page and whisked off to the archives.

Right now we see that there is high traffic that is basically a push when the dealer reveals the mindboggling amount of posts that you have to compete with. To add to this precarious scenario we must take into account the limitations of your time and how much you can get away with posting before you’re tagged by Craigslist and have to jump through extra hoops in order to post something that will really only see the light of day for a brief moment. Being the savvy investor that you are I’m sure you can see the predicament of the ROI on your time.

Now I’m not saying that Craigslist is bad and to just forget it… Competing on Craigslist for leads simply isn’t a playing field for beginners and I believe that this is one of the biggest stopping points for most investors.

Fortunately Kijiji and Backpage are far more beginner friendly as well as less time consuming!

Kijiji has many interesting little elements to it, but also lacks in some areas. One of the lacking qualities is that Kijiji doesn’t accept HTML code, which means you can’t post a hyperlinked flyer image. But the traffic and competition that makes Craigslist such a chore is notably less which gives the beginning investor a much more realistic chance of being seen en route to gaining a lead. A really interesting little feature that I haven’t seen on BackPage or Craigslist is that you can automatically post your posting to Twitter and Facebook which can provide tremendous value as you iron out your social media strategies. You’re also treated to a visitor count and the possibility of recurring your posts every 90 days. While this is a much more natural first step for investors I contest that BackPage actually offers the best first step.

BackPage is setup to be a much more autopilot online classified and requires the least amount of work to make a significant impact. The traffic is comparable with Kijiji but one major factor to me is that I can post linkable images to encourage motivated sellers to visit my site and get the special report.

When I look at BackPage the 3 biggest things I see are:

  1. Competition hasn’t caught up with the traffic.
  2. I can use HTML for Maximum Conversion
  3. You can automatically repost your ad every 30 days.

Number 3 offers a great starting point for those who are looking to get their feet wet and here is a simple game plan for making your BackPage presence almost automatic.

When you post an ad on BackPage it is good for 30 days and after 30 days it expires. When your ad expires you have the option to repost it by simply clicking a link. Now if you want to have a daily presence on the real estate service’s front page on BackPage what you need to do is over the next 30 days post 1 ad daily. Create each ad individually and DO NOT simply post the same ads consecutively because you’ll be much better off targeting different scenarios as the visitors look through the typical week’s worth of posts. After your 30 days of posting you now have a 30 day cycle where all you have to do each day is go into BackPage and click renew. If you’re feeling a little lazy and feel like your time is worth more too much they offer automatic repostings, but I assure you that if you go through the entire 30 days of making your monthly BackPage marketing loop you will come to understand through experience some extra nuances that synergizes with your campaigns.

All and all online classified sites are great for online lead generation, everyone knows this, but the key is how you start out. The biggest pitfall investors have is that they start by playing in the big leagues (CraigsList) where competition is fierce and you really need to have a real grasp of strategy to make it worth your time. By starting on BackPage you are not only competing with lighter competition, but you are also gaining first-hand experience that will evolve over time to a strategy that will give you the footing to really compete.

Leads and experience… What a deal!

Please feel free to post questions and comments about your experiences with online classifieds below. While I can write to no end about my experience and observations the real metal comes to the surface when you ask questions because that is how I can provide you with help and information that can help you directly!


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Macdonnell1542@gmail.comI enjoy reading posts like this. Thanks

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t.metcalfe@hotmail.co.ukI have never used Craigslist or Kijiji but use Baclpage regularly and find it a very valauble source for generating business.

Mike Jacka2/5/2010

mikej@realestatepromo.comYes, free clasifieds work when done consistantly. Otherwise they are just like everything else, an experiment.

Dawn Fanth1/29/2010

dawn@bluemoonbigfish.comThis article clears up several questions we have had in the past. We have posted on Craigslist multiple times, zero responses. We did note that there were many other ads of similar content running at the same time. We want to join forces with an experienced investor. Is there anyway that we can be of value to your business, in exchange for real Real Estate experience. This is the first time of hearing about Backpage and Kijiji. Thank you for this post.

Paul Tomlinson1/29/2010

pauly999@gmail.comI advertise properties that I am selling via all 3... Craigslist, Backpage, and Kijiji. What I find is that when combined with YouTube videos, I get the most bang for the free buck. I get more views of my property through videos when incorporating them with Craigslist. However, what I've noticed is that I sometimes get better long tail keyword conversion with the Backpage ads as compared to either Craigslist or Kijiji.