[Craigslist Test for Offline Clients] 10 emails and ....

23 replies
Although others have mentioned in other threads of having success with Craigslist, I myself, have not. I'm still of the belief that mainly it's a lot of 1-man-shows who can't afford, don't understand, or simply want somethign for nothing (in regards to advertising) - but perhaps I'll stand corrected with this little test.

I also realize the warriors who have had success in most cases have had direct phone contact rather than trying to get business via email. However, I don't have that luxury during the day since I work a regular gig.

Anyhow, I thought I might take one last crack at the Craigslist peeps and share my method along with any results. Certainly, this approach is nothing new and you may even recognize some of the verbiage below if you've purchased any offline WSO's. If nothing else, it may get your juices flowing.

So, here's what I did ......

1. I found a service niche in a medium sized city, made a video and ranked it on the 1st page of Google (that took less than a week, but my video has actually been ranking since August).

2. Then today, I went to CL and found local companies advertising for this same service in the same city.

3. Sent out the following email 1-by-1 to 10 potential companies:
Hi {business owner first name}

I noticed you are advertising your {niche} services on Craigslist. If you're looking for new clients, I have an easy way to get your phone ringing!

Check out this video I have on the 1st page of Google for "{service + city}" {link to YouTube video} - or you can go to Google and type in the term yourself. You'll see the video, right there on the 1st page.

My expertise is in local search marketing, specifically video marketing - not {niche service}. Basically what I do is target specific niches in certain cities, then I create a video, rank it on the first page of Google, and then rent it out to businesses like yourself.

As you can see, this video sticks out like a sore thumb on that page and that is the whole point...to catch your eye.

So how does this help YOUR business? Well, you use the video to drive traffic to your website (if you have one) and/or get your phone ringing with prospective clients. The best part is, I've already done all the work for you!

Since I'm a business owner myself, I like to keep things nice and simple. I rent out videos like this for a flat rate of $99 a month (no contract and you can pay through PayPal). For that, I will put all of YOUR business information in the description area below the video and in the overlay in the video as well (that's a good place for a phone number).

Finally, I only work with 1 client type per city (in your case, only 1 {service} in {city}) and it's a first come, first serve basis. I'll be contacting other {type of service provider} in your area today, so if you're interested please call me a.s.a.p.

If it happens that someone else decides to take me up on this deal, I sincerely wish you continued success in your business.

Best Regards,
{My Company Name}
{My Company Phone}
{My Website}

I may have some grammatical errors/misspellings in there, but I figure it wouldn't sound so "salesy".

One last note, I did pick a niche with a typical transaction value of anywhere from $50 - $100 on the low end. My thought was even if my potential client got only 1 sale from renting my video, then they would at least break even. Although I believe anyone offering this specific type of service can EASILY make 10 times that ROI based on the number of EXACT matches/month that I ranked the video for.

I'll report back with any results, but I'm not too confident in the copy.

Anyone have any thoughts?
#clients #craigslist #craigslist clients #emails #offline #offline marketing
  • Profile picture of the author somacorellc
    Off topic - I would be interested in your success rate if you called 50 businesses and left messages before going to work in the morning, and then just checking your messages at the end of the day and seeing if anyone called back. I bet it wouldn't be too much different than just direct cold calling.
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  • Profile picture of the author MaxReferrals
    Originally Posted by shockwave View Post


    I may have some grammatical errors/misspellings in there, but I figure it wouldn't sound so "salesy".

    Anyone have any thoughts?
    Uhhhh....

    ... I have a thought... and no dig on your initiative, but...

    Why would you deliberately represent yourself as someone who doesn't know how to spell...

    ... to not "sound so salesy...?"

    Explain that one again pls...
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    • Profile picture of the author somacorellc
      He doesn't use the word "salesy" in his email. Lay off the dude.

      Sometimes I wish this forum had a "no thanks" button.


      Originally Posted by MaxReferrals View Post

      Uhhhh....

      ... I have a thought... and no dig on your initiative, but...

      Why would you deliberately represent yourself as someone who doesn't know how to spell...

      ... to not "sound so salesy...?"

      Explain that one again pls...
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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      Originally Posted by MaxReferrals View Post

      Uhhhh....

      ... I have a thought... and no dig on your initiative, but...

      Why would you deliberately represent yourself as someone who doesn't know how to spell...


      ... to not "sound so salesy...?"


      Explain that one again pls...


      It means exactly what I said it means. Perhaps I should be more specific and deliberate in my explanation.

      Really, what I should have said is: "I'm too lazy to do a spell check. Not only did I not do a spell check on the sales copy, but I also did not do it for my explanation throughout the explanation of my actions".

      I understand your point though. But, as it has already been pointed out, "sound so salesy...?" was not even used in the email.

      My point is I don't think a few grammatical errors or misspellings are going to hurt when approaching the "typical" type of potential customer on CL. If anything, it may come across as more genuine.


      On a side note, this reminds me of a line in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. In it, Franklin is describing some of the members of his Junto - specifically Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician.


      "...as like most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal precision in everything said, or was for ever denying or distinguishing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation..."

      I try not to trouble myself with trifles either. Are you a Mathematician Max? LOL! (j/k)
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      • Profile picture of the author oogyboogawa
        Originally Posted by somacorellc View Post

        He doesn't use the word "salesy" in his email. Lay off the dude.

        Sometimes I wish this forum had a "no thanks" button.
        Originally Posted by shockwave View Post



        It means exactly what I said it means. Perhaps I should be more specific and deliberate in my explanation.

        Really, what I should have said is: "I'm too lazy to do a spell check. Not only did I not do a spell check on the sales copy, but I also did not do it for my explanation throughout the explanation of my actions".

        I understand your point though. But, as it has already been pointed out, "sound so salesy...?" was not even used in the email.

        My point is I don't think a few grammatical errors or misspellings are going to hurt when approaching the "typical" type of potential customer on CL. If anything, it may come across as more genuine.


        On a side note, this reminds me of a line in The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. In it, Franklin is describing some of the members of his Junto - specifically Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician.


        "...as like most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal precision in everything said, or was for ever denying or distinguishing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation..."

        I try not to trouble myself with trifles either. Are you a Mathematician Max? LOL! (j/k)

        I don't see how whether or not the word "salesy" was used in the emails is in any way relevant to the point MaxReferrals was trying to make... why did both of you bring that up? His point wasn't that you shouldn't use the word "salesy" his point was that intentionally disregarding spelling and grammar doesn't present a very good image.

        I didn't spellcheck your letter either, just skimmed through it so I don't know how bad any mistakes might be. But I have to agree that the fact that you state you left any spelling and/or grammar mistakes in there to sound less salesy doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

        Also, I've seen very "salesy" messages that had horrible grammar and spelling - that did not in any way take away from the "salesyness" of the letter/email/fax - it just took away from any slim chance I was going to buy their product or service.
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  • Profile picture of the author FormerWageSlave
    So did you get any responses?
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    grrr...

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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      Originally Posted by FormerWageSlave View Post

      So did you get any responses?
      As of right not - Nope...none at all. Not even a "no way".

      Unfortunately, I did not send this out through any email system that would track the deliverability or open rates.

      * Maybe the ad copy sucked?
      * Maybe it went into a SPAM folder?
      * Maybe I didn't send it out to enough potential clients?
      * Maybe this specific type of business doesn't understand lead generation?
      * Maybe they read the email and simply chose not to respond (even with a decline)

      .....and the list goes on and on. Too many variables.
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      • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
        Not to get this thread off track, but I do a lot of advertising for my business. As a result, I get a lot of unsolicited emails like this. A lot.

        When I open one, if I see simple misspellings of words, I immediately delete it. Maybe I am different than others, but in this day an age of spell checkers, that just shows laziness and carelessness in my opinion. This email is my first impression of this person or business. They better put their best foot forward. If their best foot includes not even taking 10 seconds to run their ad through a spell checker, it is not someone I am going to do business with.

        I'm perhaps more picky than others, but if I'm getting hit with a ton of offers (and most business owners are), it is an easy way to weed out some of them.

        Now back on track to the thread. I think you are going to need to send a lot more than 10 emails to see a response. People are scraping Craigslist and sending offers all the time. I've posted ads on Craigslist myself. The email box fills up pretty quick with junk. If you are emailing 10, chances are only 2-3 at most read it and the rest got heaped with the garbage.
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        • I would send out at lease 100 to test! Then make sure you are focusing on helping the client! Their are a ton of people out their waiting on you to help them! Also try sending a personal letter offering your services! Remember it's all a numbers game! Some will, some want, someone waiting!
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        • Profile picture of the author shockwave
          Originally Posted by MikeFriedman View Post

          Not to get this thread off track, but I do a lot of advertising for my business. As a result, I get a lot of unsolicited emails like this. A lot.

          When I open one, if I see simple misspellings of words, I immediately delete it. Maybe I am different than others, but in this day an age of spell checkers, that just shows laziness and carelessness in my opinion. This email is my first impression of this person or business. They better put their best foot forward. If their best foot includes not even taking 10 seconds to run their ad through a spell checker, it is not someone I am going to do business with.

          I'm perhaps more picky than others, but if I'm getting hit with a ton of offers (and most business owners are), it is an easy way to weed out some of them.

          Now back on track to the thread. I think you are going to need to send a lot more than 10 emails to see a response. People are scraping Craigslist and sending offers all the time. I've posted ads on Craigslist myself. The email box fills up pretty quick with junk. If you are emailing 10, chances are only 2-3 at most read it and the rest got heaped with the garbage.
          Spellcheck and higher test volume....noted.
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  • Profile picture of the author Blindbiz
    Do the puppydog close. Send the leads for FREE for one month and then ask for the $99 a month.
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  • Profile picture of the author MrSDPromo
    I have seen a little success with Craigslist but not much
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    Jake Widmer
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  • Profile picture of the author katiehewatt
    You have a good idea but, craigslist is full of scammers and most people are skeptical of inquiries they get to their craigslist email. Maybe that's why you didn't see much response.
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  • Profile picture of the author omurchu
    Shockwave:

    Fair play for putting a plan into action and thanks for sharing.

    I agree that it is difficult to judge from 10 emails.

    What ould you think of a different sales copy:

    Along the lines - calling all (niche) in (city). Do you need more calls/leads/business? SEO expert ranks lead generation (or sales) video on Page one of Google. If you want your business featured/branded on this video then the first (niche) to contact me below gets the video. First month FREE!!

    I think your copy is too long and may not be read fully. This copy is shorter and more direct. Also highlights the FREE angle. Probably could be improved further but you get the idea.
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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      Originally Posted by omurchu View Post

      Shockwave:

      Fair play for putting a plan into action and thanks for sharing.

      I agree that it is difficult to judge from 10 emails.

      What ould you think of a different sales copy:

      Along the lines - calling all (niche) in (city). Do you need more calls/leads/business? SEO expert ranks lead generation (or sales) video on Page one of Google. If you want your business featured/branded on this video then the first (niche) to contact me below gets the video. First month FREE!!

      I think your copy is too long and may not be read fully. This copy is shorter and more direct. Also highlights the FREE angle. Probably could be improved further but you get the idea.
      Like the idea of shorter copy. Quick and to the point is good. What I like less is FREE. - I do understand pay-for-performance though.
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  • Shockwave- what was the subject line you used for the e-mails?
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      Originally Posted by Joe Ditzel View Post

      Shockwave- what was the subject line you used for the e-mails?
      Hi Joe,

      Luckily, the CL ads had either a name or phone number or website. I first tried to find out if they had a website which - and 9 of these people did.

      From that, I was able to find their name and an email address. In that case, my subject line was:

      Hi {owner's first name} - quick question about your {niche} service...

      For one of them that had a website, I could only find the contact form on their website, so I tried that.

      And for the 1 that did not have a website or direct email, I just responded through CL using the Title of their original post as the subject line.
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    Well, apparently people are getting sensitive in this thread. Some people are too lazy for spell check, I am just too lazy to care if I step on any toes.

    In my opinion, you don't want it enough. You can't expect potential clients to take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously.

    Your sales copy sucks. Your test volume is way too low. You can go 100 emails with no response 10 emails you can count on all 10 not reading your email.

    I don't think it is a matter of if craigslist works or not, it just doesn't work for you because you aren't doing it right. That is all. Do you have your own domain? Compelling subject line that doesn't flag the junk or spam filter?

    I make 3-4K a month, just from craigslist. If I put in a bit more time into it, I could probably double it. I have made 24K a year, from 2 different clients. Craigslist works, only if you know how to work it. A couple ads, a couple emails, you are playing the lottery. I get 3-4 calls a day from craigslist, and I have the luxury of turning people down.

    Do you have your own website? People claim that you can't get results by just emailing, but you can. I do it. I also cold call. You say you can't, but you can call during your lunch break right? Do that.

    Ultimately, I think your problem may be that the people you are approaching don't care about video marketing. I'm sure they understand lead generation, but people are STILL not sure what SEO or google places is. Why would they care about a video? Unfortunately, you don't have third party credibility for what you are offering. You have to first, educate your potential clients on what it is, how it can benefit them, and then the reason they should choose you. Too much trouble I think. I would only add it as an extra service.

    If I were you... and I was really stuck on the whole video marketing thing, I would switch up the technique you use. Get a website, like shockwavemarketing.com or whatever you would want, with basic information on your website. Have your email be the @yourdomain.com email instead of a free email account. Have a phone with a professional voice mail message. This increases trust and legitimacy. NEXT, shorten your sales copy, no busy entrepreneur is going to read through random emails like that.

    For your next hundred emails, don't change the craigslist subject line. If you change it you probably are being flagged as spam or junk. If you use the subject line and they are posting ads, they are more likely to read your email in response of their ad than they are for your random service. That might get you a response or two.

    FYI. When I need a sale, and it is too late to cold call, I will send out hundreds of emails to people that post on craigslist. Out of that I will probably get a sale within a couple days.
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    • Profile picture of the author gorufus
      Wow, that was a kick in the arse...

      Shock,

      I agree with expanding your test reach to at least 100. Then tweak one part of the test, subject line, one part of the copy etc. and do it again. Keep going until you are seeing some results.

      Maybe after a few more days of the not smoking, IAmNameless will be willing to sit down with you on skype for a few minutes to go over his or her craigslist strategy and get you going in the right direction. What do you say Nameless?

      I don't think it's from your lack of effort, maybe you just need a little help and that's what you made your post.


      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      Well, apparently people are getting sensitive in this thread. Some people are too lazy for spell check, I am just too lazy to care if I step on any toes.

      In my opinion, you don't want it enough. You can't expect potential clients to take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously.

      Your sales copy sucks. Your test volume is way too low. You can go 100 emails with no response 10 emails you can count on all 10 not reading your email.

      I don't think it is a matter of if craigslist works or not, it just doesn't work for you because you aren't doing it right. That is all. Do you have your own domain? Compelling subject line that doesn't flag the junk or spam filter?

      I make 3-4K a month, just from craigslist. If I put in a bit more time into it, I could probably double it. I have made 24K a year, from 2 different clients. Craigslist works, only if you know how to work it. A couple ads, a couple emails, you are playing the lottery. I get 3-4 calls a day from craigslist, and I have the luxury of turning people down.

      Do you have your own website? People claim that you can't get results by just emailing, but you can. I do it. I also cold call. You say you can't, but you can call during your lunch break right? Do that.

      Ultimately, I think your problem may be that the people you are approaching don't care about video marketing. I'm sure they understand lead generation, but people are STILL not sure what SEO or google places is. Why would they care about a video? Unfortunately, you don't have third party credibility for what you are offering. You have to first, educate your potential clients on what it is, how it can benefit them, and then the reason they should choose you. Too much trouble I think. I would only add it as an extra service.

      If I were you... and I was really stuck on the whole video marketing thing, I would switch up the technique you use. Get a website, like shockwavemarketing.com or whatever you would want, with basic information on your website. Have your email be the @yourdomain.com email instead of a free email account. Have a phone with a professional voice mail message. This increases trust and legitimacy. NEXT, shorten your sales copy, no busy entrepreneur is going to read through random emails like that.

      For your next hundred emails, don't change the craigslist subject line. If you change it you probably are being flagged as spam or junk. If you use the subject line and they are posting ads, they are more likely to read your email in response of their ad than they are for your random service. That might get you a response or two.

      FYI. When I need a sale, and it is too late to cold call, I will send out hundreds of emails to people that post on craigslist. Out of that I will probably get a sale within a couple days.
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    • Profile picture of the author shockwave
      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      Well, apparently people are getting sensitive in this thread. Some people are too lazy for spell check, I am just too lazy to care if I step on any toes.

      In my opinion, you don't want it enough. You can't expect potential clients to take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously.

      Your sales copy sucks. Your test volume is way too low. You can go 100 emails with no response 10 emails you can count on all 10 not reading your email.
      lol! Seriously now Nameless...tell me what you REALLY think! Gee for a minute there I thought I was actually in Glengarry Glen Ross. I think you could give Alec Baldwin a run for his money!

      [Warning: loads of profanity]

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