Advertising Your Cleaning Business On Craigslist

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by Tom Watson on November 14, 2010

Advertising your cleaning business on Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) is a absolute must in today’s world.

This is true for both the beginner and the experienced cleaning company owner for several reasons. The first one is rather obvious, because it’s free! The second main reason is because it works extremely well.

Craigslist is vastly different from other commercial websites online today. The sparse pages, though functional, lack the finished look and feel that fills the Internet today (admit it, we have grown accustomed to high-impact designs filled with video and flashing banners with paid advertising opportunities).

Craigslist on the other hand has no banner ads of any kind and it is free to post in most sections (and it works extremely well as a result of this design). You might be thinking…

 “how can such a simple site work so well?”

The answer is because Craigslist manages to take the web and whittle it down to a smaller community, which in turn makes it easier to navigate. This is what makes Craigslist so utterly unique. Instead of your advertising message getting lost out in the vastness of the Internet (hoping someone will find you), you broadcast it only to your regional audience.

As you look around Craigslist you’ll find that it’s more than just your run of the mill classifieds section. Craigslist is a magnet for website traffic, places “number one” for countless local key phrases (the popular ones no less) and serves as a nerve center of answers for every possible question. What does this mean for the owner of a commercial cleaning company looking to advertise their business?

Highly Captive Audience + Targeted Ad Placement + Optimization = Sales

Now the question becomes “how do I make Craiglistslist advertising work for my cleaning business”. The equation for making money advertising on Craigslist is as simple as Craigslist itself. By understanding how Craigslist works, the market of people looking for cleaning services and testing various ad layouts for optimal conversion, you can make a good money on Craigslist.

Craigslist will not only make your phone ring, it will increase traffic to your website (provided you have one). It will also give you a new and free advertising venue to market your business, build powerful customer relationships which continue to produce sales (through referrals) and allow you be part of an exciting new method for growing your business.

Why Craigslist is so popular (and why it will stay that way).

For starters it gives everyone a voice because it’s free for virtually all users. Another reason is because it’s just so simple to use. There is not much of a learning curve for beginners (even seniors make use of the site).

Some other reasons include the material posted on the site (its new and fresh, which keeps the traffic strong all day). And lastly (like we mentioned before ), there is no ads to be found. Which means no flashing banner ads or those pesky pop up ones that drive you crazy.

It is for these reasons that I anticipate Craigslist being around for some time. It’s already a senior citizen (in Internet terms), as it was founded in 1995, so it has stood the test of time. Making it a part of your marketing strategy sooner rather than later is highly recommended.

How Craigslist works.

Craigslist allows you to place a post in 9 major categories in more than 500 cities in 50 countries around the world.  All postings are free, except certain postings in some major cities (even then, the cost to post is well below market average).

Craigslist is an open market for every combination of business ­you can think of. This includes business to business, business to consumer, consumer to consumer and even consumer to business.

Craigslist is similar to eBay, but capable of much more. Craigslist allows users to sell spare car parts, legal services, find a job or a soul mate all in one location. This captive audience of 50 million plus people each year is a marketer’s paradise.

Craigslist “tricks of the trade” for advertisers.

Craigslist has a basic “no-frills” look. Your ad should mimic that overall look and feel. How? Just by keeping it simple. Unlike some other, more content controlled websites, Craigslist users have absolute freedom to post ads with little limit to what one can say (which is refreshing in a society dominated by corporations).

It’s very important to create an advertisement that is equivalent in quality to one that would be used in any other marketing medium. With that said, in order to get the most out of  your Craiglist efforts (or any type of advertising for that matter), you need to keep several things in mind.

Here is a short list of items to keep in mind when posting.

  1. Make sure your spelling, punctuation and grammar are spot on.
  2. Keep the posting simple, don’t ramble on unnecessarily (don’t put extra fluff content).
  3. Make sure the posting is up to date (if you had a special offer, did it expire? If so take down the posting).
  4. If you have a website, make sure to include the link within the ad posting.
  5. Stay on top of your phone and email to ensure a quick reply to any inquiry.

One thing you need to keep in mind when posting is the “words you use” in the post. As with any major search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) search terms and phrases are important. If used correctly, they can be effective marketing tools. From a advertisers (marketing) perspective, it’s vital to get the most out of the terms directly associated with its posting and or website.

For example, a business advertising “Commercial Cleaning Services” would want to make sure to include the following terms in its ad in order to produce the highest number of “relevant” responses; cleaning company, janitorial, janitorial service and office cleaning to name a few.

Now where do we advertise our cleaning business?

The placement of your Craigslist listing is a rather important decision. There are 9 main categories (and roughly 169 sub-categories) in every location. Craigslist is generally a very regional based marketing outlet, so we will discuss placement with that in mind. With that said, pick the metro closest to your target area.

Next up is picking a category. Category placement is an important part of finding the right customer. Some categories may attract more attention, but may also be more competitive. You’ll notice that some of the main categories feature sub-categories that are quite similar to others.

For our purposes we will be choosing the “services” category. The sub-category will be “skill’d trade”. Craigslist allows you to post ads for services here. People who visit this area are actively lookingto purchase specific services. I would recommend this category for commercial cleaning services (for house cleaning services you would probably want to post to the “household” sub-category).

Now lets build an ad to market your commercial cleaning service

The following commercial cleaning advertisement portrays several elements that indicate a well thought out and effective Craigslist ad.

***Affordable Commercial Cleaning Services***

Do you have an office that needs to be cleaned regularly?

Choosing a quality office cleaning service can be a very stressful undertaking. With so many office cleaning companies to choose from, it can be very difficult to weed through all the less than reputable office cleaning / janitorial companies that are out there.

YOUR NAME Cleaning Service set out to change all that. Our companies mission is to provide the best cleaning services found anywhere in YOUR STATE OR COUNTY. We maintain a loyal customer base that includes not only many smaller commercial clients, but many large corporate and municipal customers as well.

Benefits of our service include:

Free No Obligation Quotes
Security Of A Fully Bonded Company
100% Satisfaction Guarantee On All Services
Peace Of Mind By Dealing With A Fully Insured Company

We will work hard to craft a plan that meets your needs without breaking your budget. Though the needs of each customer are different, the basic cleaning service includes the following:

Dusting
Vacuuming
Trash removal
Break room cleaning
Bathroom cleaning and disinfecting
Sweeping and mopping of hard surface floors

Whether you need a “highly detailed” or “just the basics” service plan, we can deliver where others have failed. We would love to have you as our next “satisfied customer”. Contact us at 555-555-5555 for a free no obligation quote.

Check us out on the web: http://www.your-website-here.com

Lets break down what we did with this posting.

  • The title was simple, “Affordable Commercial Cleaning Company” summed up our service.
  • I created a little “separation” from all the other ads by adding the triple asterisks (***) on each side of the title.
  • I made sure to include the benefits of our service (free quotes, the fact that we are bonded etc…)
  • Brief mention of what we offer (dusting, vacuuming and trash removal).
  • Our website.
  • Phone number.
  • The simple design (copy is organized, aligned, and error free).
  • I fit in several variations of “commercial cleaning” (janitorial, office cleaning, cleaning companies etc…) This can help ensure the ad shows up when the searcher types in different search phrases that also convey the same meaning as “commercial cleaning” (some people like to call our services “janitorial, office cleaning and cleaning service to name a few).

We could have gone a little further and added a special offer for the first 3 callers (20% off the first month for example). The point is we got our point across without going overboard. Now what you need to do is track the response of this particular ad. This means how many people called, and how many turned into customers.

You will want to constantly test different posting to see what works best. Sometimes a simple tweak here or there can result in considerable improvement (or decrease) in an ads effectiveness. If you start out testing from day one, you will be an expert after six months to a year, so make sure to track the ads consistently.

As long as your service is professional and meets (and hopefully exceeds) the customer’s expectations, there is no limit to the positive buzz that will channel through the various discussion forums available on Craigslist. Word of your business may even appear on the “Best of Craigslist” (postings that are nominated by craigslist readers) at some point.

At the end of the day, customers want the facts about your business. Include the pertinent information related to your cleaning service (like we did in the example ad). Feel free to use the example ad as a template for your first ad.

To summarize, your commercial cleaning Craigslist ad should allow who you are to show through (what you and your company represent). Your ad should also express a level of professionalism consistent with how you want your cleaning service viewed.

Make use of this free advertising medium before your competition does!

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anne J Goddard March 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I can’t tell you enough how useful the information in this post is. Thank you very for sharing.

2 Tom Watson March 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Thanks for the kind words Anne!

3 rhonda mashburn October 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm

this ad was helpful what i have seen but where do i place my free ad?

4 Tom Watson October 17, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Hi Rhonda!

You just have to create an account over at craigslist, then place your ad for free.

5 John January 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I created an account at craigslist and posted an ad it was great, I posted another ad the following day and it did not show up on results? I posted 1 more ad the day after that and it does not show? why is this? Thanks you for your information.

6 Tom Watson January 14, 2012 at 8:57 am

Hi John!

You can only post every 48 hours. Here is the exact text Craigslist uses to describe how often you can post…

“You may post to one category and in one city, no more often than about every 48 hours.

If you are submitting a post that is similar to another currently active post of yours on the site, you will get a blocked message. Removing the active post will allow you to post the new ad, unless the active post is less than 48 hours old.”

Hope that helps!

7 Rose August 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

TOM
I am trying to open an account on craigs list but it’s asking $25,00
Is it right?
I had an add on craigs list for many years few years ago, it was great,made lots of money, but all of sudden it didn’t let me access my account anymore. It required a confirmation number, I did everything it was asking but no longer able to access. There is no phone number, no costumer service line there to help me. Please, help me, trying to criate a new account but now it is chargin me.

8 Tom Watson August 30, 2012 at 10:21 am

Hi Rose!

Follow this link, it spells out why there is no fee to post for cleaning services… http://www.craigslist.org/about/help/posting_fees

9 Kay Kim August 31, 2012 at 12:10 am

Hi Tom!

I love your blog and I find it very helpful! we’ve been struggling since several years ago with the market down turn and it has been better this year but still very tough.

I just put service ad on Craigslist (i didn’t even know you could do that lol) and I am planning on send our brochures to many property management companies in our area.

Anyway, thank you for your effort to help others!

10 Tom Watson August 31, 2012 at 8:41 am

Hi Kay!

Nice to hear you like the blog. Yes…craigslist is great, because it’s free. Whatever you get out of it is a bonus!

11 linda November 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

I have been seeing several post a day from the same company on craigslist. How are they doing that? It then puts my post down to the very bottom for that day.

12 Tom Watson November 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I don’t know for sure, but they may be bending the rules by having two different accounts and posting each one everyother day (keeping them on top everyday).

13 Natasha February 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

Pretty useful information, however I don’t think putting asterisks or other symbols in titles work. Personally, I think they look extremely stupid and I tend to ignore ads based on that alone. The people I’ve asked have all felt the same way.

14 Tom Watson February 21, 2013 at 10:21 am

Hi Natasha! Certainly some people get drawn to them while others get turned off by the practice. I would just do what you are comfortable with.

15 Emile April 1, 2013 at 11:02 pm

A work mate linked me to this resource. Thnx for the information.

16 Tom Watson April 2, 2013 at 6:04 am

Hi Emile! Happy to have you. If you need anything just touch base!

17 Lynda fay June 9, 2013 at 10:28 pm

How to advertise on Craigslist?

Name: MAID TO SHINE

I want only homes. Where to advertise? What should it say?
PLEASE HELP!

18 Lynda fay June 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

PLEASE HELP!

19 Tom Watson June 10, 2013 at 9:32 am

Ok… help with craigslist?

20 Tom Watson June 10, 2013 at 9:35 am

Lynda…maybe this craigslist ad will be a start for you. It’s short and to the point (or modify as needed). Good luck!

***Affordable House Cleaning***
Want a clean home but don’t have the time?
I have 10 years experience and tons of references.
For a free quote call Lynda at xxx-xxx-xxxx

21 C Pollard August 28, 2013 at 6:16 am

Top of the morning to you tom,I am trying to get my feet wet I am a llittle on the dry side.
I dwells in the heart of Baltimore city,So many
Oppurtunities around me evolving cleaning
Services. Confidence is there but no luck any remedies?

22 Tom Watson August 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

Hi! Are you just advertising on Craigslist or are you doing other forms of promotion as well?

23 Marin October 11, 2013 at 8:16 am

Hi,Tom
Good morning. ,7:07am 10-11-13
How I can target it only OFFICE CLEANING? Please HELP .
Thank you
Marin
MINNEAPOLIS /St,paul MN

24 Tom Watson October 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Hi Marin! I talk about that in detail in my courses (http://www.cleaning-4-profit.com/start-your-own-cleaning-business/), but it’s through a combination of elements. You have a little direct mail, some networking, a bit of handing out flyers and sales letters to your target market.

The sales letters I have in my courses really do the heavy lifting for you, as they speak the language of those who will hire you. Throw in a great offer (50% off the first month or similar) and you have the makings of an offer the customer can’t refuse.

If you are asking about how to do it on craigslist, then you really can’t, other than the fact you need to CLEARLY indicate you are an office cleaning company.

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