Driving Traffic From Craigslist

Something that entrepreneurs don’t have much of is MONEY, unless of course you:

-Previously had a successful acquisition (awesome)
-Recently quit your corporate job and have savings to survive on.
-You’re a trust fund baby.

There are countless amounts of other ways entrepreneurs obtain/have money prior to starting up, obviously.

The fact is, MOST entrepreneurs do not have much money to start, and if they do, it’s usually savings.

No money + A need for gaining traction = Scrappy creativity.

I started “growth hacking” (shortly after I put two and two together and understood what the actual term meant) on Craigslist.

Craigslist reaches 33 million people every month… So I want to show you a quick little hack to grab some of those people and bring some eyeballs onto your site.

Before we start, CREATE a craigslist account. If you have a craigslist account you can perform a quick little hack to make your posting jump to the top of Craigslist’s postings.

Craigslist is in Chronological order, so your post will move down the list fast given the volume of users posting. At the end of this post I will show you step by step how to keep your post at the top.

Lets do this.


Don’t pay for a job posting.

Craigslist is notorious for their spam bots. (i.e. princes from Egypt wanting to wire you money) If you post a job posting you will get a shit ton of bots sending random bot messages to your inbox and it will drive you nuts. So don’t.

The reason I recommend not posting a job is because the most powerful and sought after section on craigslist is the “job posting” section.

This is why you are going to post gigs for free, and get the same if not better people you are looking for to respond and/or click through to your website.


Google voice is your backup.

Background: Google voice in simple terms, allows you to pick a new phone number and re-direct calls to your current phone number. (A magical cloak, if you will)

Now, the way I utilize Google voice is a bit different than it’s intended use.

I use it to create multiple accounts on any website that requires a phone number for sign up verification. (I.e. making multiple Gmail accounts, Craigslist)

The reason I recommend this is if your email address gets banned from craigslist OR you decide to create multiple accounts the Google number will help you loop around their verification process. (This hack didn’t get my email banned so yours should be ok)

Always have a backup plan. (Say this in a deep creepy voice while reading)

Craigslist is where your Google voice number will come in handy more than any other site on the Internet.

Chunk #3

Get a promo code worth a damn.

When you don’t have money, you have to come up with other things to use as currency. Given I am not really interested in bartering with sexual favors, I use promo codes as the replacement for cash.

A fellow growth hacker “extraordinaire” found a promo code for one year of free office space at the worldwide chain Regus. (this is valuable, especially to other entrepreneurs)

The promo code can be for anything. (Coffee, food, Amazon web services. ect.)

Once you have your promo code you can legitimately classify your craigslist posting as “paid.”

Chunk #4

99% of the ad is the subject line.

The best tips for a subject line to:

  1. Be creative
  2. Use a photo
  3. Don’t be afraid to be FUNNY. (highlight that)

Examples of rephrasing the same subject line:

Chunk #5

Link your post. AND TRACK IT.

Everything you do when starting a company HAS to be based on data or you will fail. Plain and simple.

Here it is again.

Everything you do when starting a company HAS to be based on data or you will fail.

Google Analytics makes it so you can track where users are coming from so you know what works, and more importantly, what does not.

I am going to assume you already have Analytics integrated into your website. BUT real quick, here’s a scenario;

Once upon a time, there was an entrepreneur that decided to spend his/her funding (savings, stocks, promo codes, bonds, trust funds, whatever the hell he/she had to spend to scale their startup) on non-data backed marketing campaigns.

He/She assumed that their idea was so world shattering that people from all over would flock to their site, so they were going to just run campaigns on Facebook where their friends are, as well as 1.3 billion other potential users… Fail.

Facebook marketing doesn’t work. (for all startups)

In fact, most marketing doesn’t work for startups, period. The only way marketing can work in your favor is having data backing your user acquisition channels proving where you should spend your little amounts money.

Moral of the story. Get fucking Google analytics if you don’t already. Thanks.

Chunk #6


Always use pictures in your post. People trust posts with images in them more because usually spammers, scammers, and bots do not usually upload pictures onto their posts.

It doesn’t have to be a picture that will blow peoples minds, but I have found our most successful conversions come from funny pictures closing off the joke from the subject line.

Often I will just upload an image that has to do with what I am promoting. For example Slingbot, I use a twitter image in a superman logo. Simple.

Subject line is your intro.

Picture is the punch line.

Chunk #7

Brand your company with a signature.

All startups need to have a one liner or high impact pitch that you tell people as you bump into them and have 10 seconds to get their attention. (i.e. Instagram meets Angelslist.)

Taking this to the next level all startups should have a “signature.”

Hotmail did this wonderfully when they started saying. “Hotmail loves you, sign up for a Hotmail account for FREE here.”

We have do the same thing when running experiments. Slingbot’s signature is, “Slingbot loves you, if you love what we are doing share us with your friends.”

Come up with a clever “signature” that promotes virality (sharing) that you can put at the end of every ad campaign, text, email, and professional conversation.

Brand your company.

Here is one of our most successful Craigslist campaign:

Alright, here’s a final little hack to keep your startups posting at the top (courtesy of Lifehacker)

1. Create a Craigslist account and log in.

2. Post your ad, wait until it falls in the listings, and then right-click the ad you want to repost (on your account page) and open it in a new tab.

3. In the new tab, you’ll have an option to edit your ad. Right-click the option to edit and open it in a new tab.

4. Now, right click your category and open that in a new tab. Create a new ad in that category, then navigate between the tabs you already have open and copy and paste the information from the existing ad into the new fields.

5. Once you’ve copy-and-pasted all the information into the new ad, delete the old one from your account page and post the new one. Now your ad will be back up top.

Thanks and I hope this helps,

Sign up for Slingbot. We would love your feedback.

Written by

Startups, Stunts, and Sushi | Co-Founder & CEO @DapperJobs | @5DollarStartup Author |