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THE CRAIGSLIST TRAP
If I had a dollar for everytime a real estate agent gets braggy about their lead generation mastery using Craigslist. "Back in the day" (which means about 4 years ago) - Craigslist was "Special". It was not widely used by Real Estate Agents, but buyers absolutely flocked to it. Real Estate Agents were not paying much attention.
As time went on, the successful agents who were using Craigslist started talking about it. Proud statements like "I generated 30 leads today and never left my house", were boasted by agents in the office around the water cooler. Before long, the Real Estate Industry took notice.
Suddenly there were "How to post ads on Craigslist" e-books, reports, videos, classes, webinars etc. - You could now MASTER the art of craigslist posting in a few easy steps.
Suddenly - Craigslist was no longer special, no longer unique, no longer a "Purple Cow" (Seth Godin Reference)
Now to stand out on Craigslist, you had to use fancy titles, trickery, and post like a maniac. I personally had no problem with that but some gave up (but not nearly enough). The agents that are sticking with it are getting results, GREAT results still in lead volume. But what's a lead? An internet MLS search registration? That's debatable. And what now do you do with this guy named FRED FLINSTONE that just registered on your site?
There inlies one of the problems. The general real estate agent population does not understand the systems it takes to CULTIVATE these Craigslsit leads so they turn into appointments. They don't have the discipline it talkes to stalk the leads and find OTHER ways to find out who Fred Flinstone REALLY is so they can try to contact him and go for the appointment. So MOST of these generated "leads" don't get converted.
If you ask MOST agents who post on craigslist 1 out of 100 may turn into a closing. Those are some pretty rough odds if you ask me. Unless you have a proper SYSTEM for converting leads, you are spinning your wheels generating them.
The thing that bothers me the MOST though, and it really breaks my heart to watch, is that MOST agents posting on Craigslist are not using the rest of the web to effectively market themselves and their properties to generate leads. They put ALL Their eggs in the craigslist basket and nothing else. part of it has to do with that INSTANT GRATIFICATION they get when they post and 10 minutes later there is a lead. The rest of the web is not that generous. It takes time on task and seriously disciplined, purposeful lead generation to work the entire web.
So I wonder - What happens to them when Craigslist shuts them down due to overposting, or their ads are continuasly "flagged" (which means deleted basically) by their competitors, or suddenly they wake up to post ads and realize Craigslist is now charging per ad? It happens - All of it! Now, the agent is out of business.
~ I should clarify that I LOVE Craigslist and the power it brings to agents who want to generate leads RIGHT NOW. I post like a maniac on Craigslist. But as I'm doing this, I market the entire web with:
- Blog Posts
- Classified ads on OTHER sites besides Craigslist
- High Volume of web sites with intense seo
- Pay per click campaigns (few - but I do it)
- Social Networking
- and so on.
If Craigslist suddenly closed their doors, I'd be sad for sure. But I would STILL be rocking internet leads!!!
The Ballen Group
Lori Ballen and her husband Richard Ballen manage a top producing Las Vegas Real Estate Team at Keller Williams Realty Las Vegas on DI and Durango with Debbie Zois and Dave Jenks. As Las Vegas Short Sale Specialists, Lori and her team focus on distressed properties and residential real estate in Nevada.
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