Is This Piece Missing From Your Marketing Strategy?
By Phillip Woolgar
Handing out flyers and brochures, placing ads in newspapers and magazines, and announcing promotions on radio stations and television channels do work. But you’ll be missing out in this digital age if your marketing strategy doesn’t incorporate an online component.
You can definitely stretch your marketing budget by placing free or low cost-ads online in certain classifieds sites. While mostly free, ads on online classifieds can generate a substantial return on a relatively small investment – mostly just your time rather than your cash.
Read on for a look at the importance of online classifieds as a marketing tool for your business. You will learn about the benefits of online classifieds, will see two excellent online classifieds sites and will learn about the relative ineffectiveness of certain types of sites.
Online Classifieds: The Benefits
There are quite a few benefits to using online classifieds as part of your corporate marketing strategy – and they include the following:
- Little to no cost: With online classifieds, you can get plenty of bang for the buck. And the cost is definitely right as it can range from free to minimal cost depending on the site used and the options chosen.
- Wider reach: While you shouldn’t ignore offline advertising, online advertising definitely has a wider reach. So online classifieds, particularly on popular sites like Craigslist.com and Kijiji.ca, can help you to reach a critical mass of potential customers in a way that other more traditional marketing vehicles would not.
- Tinker: Print advertising can be unforgiving if you need to make changes midway through your marketing campaign. But you can easily make changes to your online classifieds ads around the clock as long as you have access to the Internet.
Online Classifieds: Enjoying the Sites
Craigslist and Kijiji are two popular online classifieds sites. Craigslist says that in excess of 60 million people in the United States use the site every month, and the site gets more than 50 billion page views per month as well. Meanwhile, Kijiji says that more than 17 million unique visitors patronize the site every month, that just south of 55% of Canadians use the site each month and that north of 1.6 million new ads are posted on the site every week.
- Craigslist: Advertising on Craigslist is a no-brainer considering the potential reach and the ability to focus on specific regions. In fact, there are 700+ local sites representing 70 nations. So you target would-be customers in specific regions. Users, both businesses and individuals, post more than 80 million classifieds ads every month on Craigslist, and the site supports a wide range of languages other than English. These include, but are not limited to, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, Filipino and Spanish. So if you’re chasing a multilingual demographic, you can personalize your ads using different languages. A word of caution is in order: You must adhere to all applicable regulations when using Craigslist. A few of the prohibitions include weapons, ammunition, prescription drugs, alcohol or tobacco and pet sales. Click here for a more complete list of no-nos.
- Kijiji: Kijiji is the largest online classifieds site in Canada. One metric that can give you an idea as to the site’s popularity is to consider that two ads are posted on the site each second. You can target potential customers in different regions using this site, and there are lots of categories where you can place your ads. According to the company, the site’s most accessed categories include buy and sell, real estate, cars and vehicles, services, jobs, pets, and community. Consider the products and services you want to market, and decide where to place your ad on the site in order to generate interest. As for policies to keep in mind, you should refrain from placing duplicate or similar ads; post ads in the proper category or the most relevant category; refrain from posting links to other classifieds, job or dating sites; avoid ads promoting prohibited items; steer clear of keyword spamming; and avoid slanderous statements.
Online Classifieds: (Mostly) Avoiding Other Classifieds Sites
While there are lots of online classifieds sites that you can incorporate into your marketing plans, your best bet is to stick with the more popular ones. Sites like Craigslist and Kijiji will give you the most bang for your buck as you look to market your products and services. Meanwhile, alternatives classifieds sites like Backpage.com do not necessarily provide the same benefits. Yes, it is possible to advertise locally on a site like Backpage. But the site has a lot less posters and users – which means that the critical mass of potential customers simply isn’t there. And this will translate into a much more meager return on investment. That said, alternative classifieds sites can potentially be useful to you if they offer categories where your ads would fit perfectly. Just be sure not to rely solely on these alternatives for your online marketing efforts.
It goes without saying that if you’re not making use of online classifieds as part of your marketing strategy, then you’re missing out. Using sites like Craigslist and Kijiji can help you to promote your products and services to a critical mass of motivated consumers. So ensure that the online classifieds option isn’t the piece missing from your marketing strategy.