Want more leads but on a tight budget? Mortgage leads via Craigslist may be just the thing! The combination of a free and easy to create ad that targets local prospects makes it worth the modest effort.
A search query on Craigslist works similarly to other search engines. For example, when you search “mortgage leads” on Google, you’ll get one set of results.
Do the same search on YouTube or Pinterest, and you’ll get another set of results.
The reason for this difference is due to the content as well as various search criteria and algorithms that each platform uses to generate the results. In the case of Craigslist, one of the main search criterias is the geographic location. (read: targeted marketing opportunity!)
What this means for your lead generating efforts is that anyone clicking on your free Craigslist ad was not only looking your targeted location, but they were also searching for that particular loan product or service.
That’s not a warm lead — that’s sizzling!
The process of creating a Craigslist ad for mortgage leads is fairly simple, but there are some guidelines that you’ll want to follow for both getting quality leads and avoiding getting flagged as a spammer.
Create Your Account
If you don’t already have an account with Craigslist, you’ll want to do that first. You can have multiple accounts, but each one should be associated with a different email address. What’s the benefit of having multiple accounts?
With multiple accounts, you can post several times a day without looking like a spammer. Posting too many times can get your ad removed or account suspended.
List Your Ad Under The Correct Category
Craigslist has had significant problems with spammers in the past, and they’ve really cracked down on anyone violating their terms of service. Even Craigslist users, who act like a community, take it personally if you look spammy and will actively flag anyone that doesn’t look like they’re on the up-and-up.
Avoid looking like spam by listing your ad under the correct category.
We recommend listing under “Services” then narrow the category down even further by choosing the kind of service. We suggest “Financial Services” or “Real Estate Services.”
Unless you are listing a home specifically (because you’re also a realtor), you don’t want to list your home loan ad under the “Housing” section. Listing a mortgage ad in this section will likely get it flagged and removed.
A note about flagging: Sometimes your ad will be flagged not because it violated any Craigslist terms, but rather because a competitor has poor etiquette. It’s unfortunate, there’s no way of knowing who the poor-sport flagging your ads — or way of blocking a person from doing it. The only consolation is that your Craigslist ad didn’t cost you a dime nor does it really affect your reputation. Plus, anyone that wastes their time flagging the competition truthfully poses no threat to your lending business anyway.
Choose a Target Product or Niche
Although it might seem counterproductive, you’ll want your ad to be highly focused on one product. Creating an ad the focuses on one product narrows its reach, like a laser, to consumers that are in the market for that precise loan product.
Posting an ad for a specific mortgage service also positions you as an expert and consumers often prefer to work with a specialist versus a generalist.
But what if you want to promote your multiple loan products? That’s where your multiple Craigslist accounts come in! Create an account for each loan service you want to promote on Craigslist.
The key to writing a great Craigslist headline is not only to make it noticeable but also to make it so enticing and irresistible that the prospect must click through…immediately.
Here some tips for creating a clickable ad on Craigslist ad:
- Avoid using all caps. Instead, reserve capital letters for one or two keywords that you want the reader to really notice.
- Double check for spelling errors.
- Use a variation of the headline for every ad. Readers may ignore the same headline.
- Mention the specific loan product or the type of buyer. For example, write “mortgage after bankruptcy” or “refinance for veterans.”
- Put yourself in your prospects shoes when you’re writing your headline –what would motivate them to click your headline?
- Be honest. Never promise more than you can deliver.
Sizzling Content for Your Ad
The content of the Craigslist mortgage lead ad needs only three elements:
- Description of the service
- Benefit for your prospect
- A way to contact you.
Many mortgage professionals make the mistake of adding too much information — remember this is an advertisement, not your homepage. You don’t need to add extensive information about your business, your lending experience, endorsements, or social media profiles.
Essentially, include just enough information that the reader will know in a few seconds the loan product you offer, why they need it, and that they need to contact you now.
Remember to make it exciting, but never over-hype. Over-hype is just as bad as spam.
Call to Action
So now that you have a click through, and your prospect is motivated to contact you — let them know how! Instead of adding a link that directs them to your site, we recommend that you encourage your prospects to contact you immediately via telephone.
A word of caution: Craigslist is notorious for phishing so make sure that you list your contact info only in the “contact info” section. Do not put your phone number or email address in the body of the ad.
What about adding your mortgage website on the ad? We recommend that you don’t for the following reason: Putting your site on the ad may trigger Craigslist to remove it. (Read on to see where to add your website!)
Craigslist prefers that you don’t lead their users to another site (an exception to this would be if you are creating a listing for a home. In that case, you can add a link to your site that features the home. But even then, you never want to lead traffic to a homepage.
Want to add your website? Try this! After your primary image (see below), and another image with your website. However, we recommend that you keep this infographic image simple. Remember this is an ad –tell this just enough to keep them interested along with how to contact you.
Our eyes are naturally drawn to pictures. We also process images faster than we do text. Take advantage of this impulse by including an image that draws in your prospect.
Want to make this customer-hack even more powerful? Forget about the typical logo image with stats and company info and use an image with a smiling face. Studies show that people, even from a very young age, prefer attractive faces — it even influences decisions!