Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Craigslist works great for some things, not for others.

When I lived in Santa Cruz I was using Craigslist to advertise our spiritual counseling and healing practice, my photography business as a photographer for hire, and separately to promote my art photography and Sheryl's art as well. I even used Craigslist to promote Sheryl's Mamalove Perfume business. It being the Bay Area, Craigslist had a wide reach. We also used some print ads to promote the spiritual healing work, but never to promote the art and photography. I'm not sure why that is, probably it was just a matter of having a budget. Plus, Sheryl and I primarily got together to do the spiritual healing and counseling even though the arts and literature ( and music too, and in my case, film ) were a big part of our lives.

Well things change. We moved around a bit. Eventually we settled in Chico, California. Craigslist itself has gone through a few changes too, and some of the stuff like the healing practice isn't so easy to promote there, but at least the "Therapeutic Services" section is no longer as inundated with sex ads. In any case, here in Chico I tried to utilize Craigslist to promote a host of things over the course of a year and nothing happened. Pretty much nothing. Possibly, absolutely nothing. It can be hard to track, but I am relatively sure that I got nearly zero response until I decided to sell an old bicycle for cheap, then some old bike parts, then a used microwave. Those ads drew overnight and enthusiastic responses. Bing, bang, boom; I actually made money. I had not made money on any other ad, diligently posted and re-posted over the course of a year. Hmm.

Craigslist is for locals, it's supposed to help locals at buying and selling goods and services-- all kinds of goods and services. In the Bay Area, we got some response, not overwhelming, but something. Here, we get nothing. And I don't just mean people aren't buying, I mean people are barely even looking. I have decent enough tracking to know that. Further the pattern is to see similar ads, like for photography services or even spiritual counseling-- to note that they crop up from time to time and then quickly disappear. That's what I saw. That means it's not working for them either. If the ads worked, they'd re-up them. We've moved around enough to discover that it's not the same Craigslist everywhere you go. Bizarrely, it's not the same Google either, but I may write about that another time. I think the first key is to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of a specific medium of communication, but the real lynch-pin, the anchor is to be willing to accept what you see, to act on that and to move onward, onward and upward.

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