Trying to promote free classified website

20 replies
I don't want to break any rules on the forum and I won't list the name of the website I am trying to promote. I am searching for information. My company recently launched a free advertising site, similar in theory to Craigslist, but much, much better. We have categories for everything, including adult and personals. I am curious if this is a good forum to promote such a site or if anyone knows of a good way to get users to start listing for free on the site. I know many companies and individuals make money from such ads and we are completely free and just trying to drive users to our site. Thanks for any information and replies.
#classified #free #promote #website
  • Profile picture of the author guzze
    One, you have to do your SEO homework very well and build lots of backlinks on regular basis. Two, you will be competing with the likes of Craigslist, so you need a deep pocket for other forms of advertising such as CPC. Finally, you need to bring something new to the market, because the classifieds market is overdue for new innovations, if you look at the big players in the market you will understand what I mean.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaCato
    You may want to start out building momentum in your home town area, by purchasing ads in your local newspaper.

    Let people know that your site is online, locally, and expand from there?
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  • Profile picture of the author SamuelCarter

    You could possibly make review sites based on your new site and this could be via articles or video. The key is to include valuable content and this search engines will pick up on this. Not quantity but quality!
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  • Profile picture of the author rolyasm
    thanks for the replies. I know it is a long, uphill battle, but we are doing some innovative things and I think if we can get people to the site, they will appreciate the way it is setup, the features and the ease of use. So yes, the hardest part is getting people there.
    What are your thoughts on a contest to Cancun? We are offering a free, all expense paid to cancun to people/businesses who list or refer "x" amount of people or items. It will probably cost us close to $5k. Do you think this is bad investment in order to try and get people to the site?
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    • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
      Originally Posted by rolyasm View Post

      thanks for the replies. I know it is a long, uphill battle, but we are doing some innovative things and I think if we can get people to the site, they will appreciate the way it is setup, the features and the ease of use. So yes, the hardest part is getting people there.
      What are your thoughts on a contest to Cancun? We are offering a free, all expense paid to cancun to people/businesses who list or refer "x" amount of people or items. It will probably cost us close to $5k. Do you think this is bad investment in order to try and get people to the site?
      I think offering a trip is a great idea. But rather than spending $5000 for one trip why not stagger your contests and offer five $1000 trips instead? You can get decent weekend Vegas packages for around that price, cheaper even if you shop around.

      Someone mentioned starting local, taking out ads in small classified newspapers. That's how I'd do it. Another thing I think would serve you well is to specialize at first. Find one or two hot, local markets where people want to take out ads. Jobs for example, or apartment rentals. Small companies looking to hire will use you if they know about you. Same thing for landlords and property management companies. Keep that in a certain region at first. That makes your marketing efforts less daunting. Once those categories start to take off, only then would I think of expanding.

      Make a study of what CraigsList did to get started along with the history or background of other free classified sites. Then try to do what they've done.

      This is doable. I think the trick though is to specialize at first. Then follow that with a gradual expansion. Good luck.
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      • Profile picture of the author rolyasm
        Thanks for the replies. I hired a marketing director 2 weeks ago who has been implementing many of the strategies you are talking about. One of the biggest problems I have right now is that the site is not functioning. It has been a big learning experience for me. When your programmer says the site will be done on such and such a date, don't believe him. So now I am waiting for everything to be functioning before we really start to push the site.
        We are going to offer all categories for listing, but our focus will be to push the gun area, which doesn't have as much competition as the other areas. We will start with 12 or 15 major cities/areas that have a high percentage of gun purchases and sales. From there we will push the other areas.
        TravlingGuy, I do like your idea about splitting up the vacations. We have also thought of other smaller contests for guns, electronics, gift cards, etc.
        FreeAdstime: I never mentioned what my site was called. How did you take a look at it to compare? Just curious. Also, many of things you mentioned I believe we have implemented, though I am not quite sure what "structured data" is. Can you explain? Once the site is fully programmed many of the things you mentioned will be there, such as reporting abuse, favicon, and yes, we have wondered about the decision for multiple domains. We did it for marketing reasons, but what we may end up doing is linking the sub domains, or redirecting the domain clicks to the sub domain. It has caused us endless issues with fluidity of the site. I do like it for the adult section in that you have to have a different login for the adult site. Just a little more security. As far as dropping the adult section, I don't understand why craigslist did it, except for PR. They still have endless ads for escorts and prostitutes, they just hide it under personals. BackPage seems to be doing fine with it. It is risky, but bad publicity is publicity non-the-less.
        What is Mod_pagespeed and Facebook Open Graph? My programmer and marketing guy may know what it is, but I like to keep educated.
        Thanks again for your responses. I will let you know how it progresses.
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        • Profile picture of the author rolyasm
          That is kind of funny. I was asking FreeAdstime how he knew what my site was called. I just realized it is at the bottom of each of my posts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    You probably should have thought about a traffic strategy before even building the site. Just because you think it's a good idea doesn't necessarily make it so.

    If you were to have planned a marketing strategy you probably would have seen a huge problem with driving traffic to the site and having to convince people to use yours over the competition.

    That being said, I think you have to narrow your focus for the site, drive targeted traffic to it with plans to expand into other categories as popularity grows.

    Look to your competition and find their weak areas. What don't they handle very well that you could improve upon and market that angle.

    At the end of the day I think to get a site like this running strong you'd have to spend a lot of money and time advertising your brand.
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  • Profile picture of the author freeadstime
    You have said your site is much better than Cragislist. Your site quality is far from Craigslist quality.
    - /about-us/ and /about-us both work on your sites. Only one should work.
    - Add a favicon
    - Add structured data, we are in 2012
    - Add Facebook Open Graph
    - Install mod_pagespeed
    - Getting multiple domains for same site, is an old idea. It seems Google is not in favor of it anymore, hopefully they don't de-index your site. You could have used subdomains.
    - There is a reason Craigslist doesn't have adult section, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer about this.
    - You didn't put the option for reporting an ad. Some ads can be inappropriate or illegal and visitors should have the option of reporting such ads.
    - Cragislist covers cities from around the world, you only cover US

    How your site is much much much better than Cragislist again?

    Your comparing the 9th most visited site in US with a site that gets couple visits a day. Not knowing is not bad, but do your 100% research first before saying such thing. Nonetheless, put your focus on it and you may be the next Craigslist. Best of luck,
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  • Profile picture of the author tjm2788
    Sounds like a bit of hustling is needed. It takes a lot to get a new site like that off the ground. Start picking up the phone and calling offering free spots for a few weeks and maybe consider mail drops locally to get the word out?
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  • Profile picture of the author freeadstime
    @rolyasm, it is a good idea to ask your developer and internet marketer what these terms mean. If they gave you an ! face, then it's time to hire new people or they need to go through these terms and learn everything about these stuff %100. I can explain it all, it just may take over 2000 words to cover everything. The best is to Google the terms. Competition on internet has never been this high. If you are lacking something, you won't win.
    As for the adult section, it was all over TV channels. They almost said it in every news channel that Craigslist censored the adult section. Maybe it is good to Google that too. The examples you are using are not the greatest either, these people are in billion dollars range with best lawyers out there.
    Don't ever give up on internet. Most people would quit when they are almost there, they just don't realize it. It might be an at least 5 years of battle, before success.
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  • Profile picture of the author rolyasm
    I really am only confused as to the structured data comment. My programmer understands everything you have mentioned, but is not sure what you mean by "structured data." Thanks for your reply.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    How much money are you willing to fork up to promote your free classified site. What made you want to enter into the niche? Did you see an opportunity somewhere, or did you just think it would be a cool idea to go against a giant like Craigslist (or even Ebay Classifieds?)?
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  • Profile picture of the author rolyasm
    Thanks for the information. I will try to use it wisely.
    As far as how much money am I willing to fork up, well, whatever I can round up. I have about 50k to work with. That isn't near enough cash to make any quick changes, but I don't expect to make any money from this for a few years. A couple of reasons why this is going to work. 1) Our main focus will be guns. The biggest players all charge money to list. We don't. Huge benefit to buyer and seller. 2) personally I think, as many others do, that Craigslist has a purpose, but as a general ad site, it sucks. I know they make a lot (LOT) of money. But that only leads me to believe that even if I can get a small portion of that market I can make some good money. 3) Adult site. Yes, there is controversy in this. Craigslist is big enough they can afford to drop the adult listings. Backpage is currently the king of these listings and makes approximately 20 million a month from these listings. Again, 5% of 20 million is a good living. 4)Besides, Backpage, Craigslist and others won't be as good as our site once we get it up and fully functioning We really will have the best site on the web. Sure it won't please everyone, but it also won't be static like many sites and we will change as our customers to. Besides, what else am I going to do with 50K and too much time on my hands.
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  • Profile picture of the author soniamit
    better post your website ads in all other classifieds website this is best way to grab traffic and do social marketing in twitter, facebook, g+.Best keyword for seo for classified websiteis Free Ads

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  • Profile picture of the author Emar
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    I would research the top classified web sites. Everything has a history and maybe you can get some tips.
    Start here maybe. How Craig Newmark Built Craigslist With "No Vision Whatsoever" | Wired Business |
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