Every business should be using online classified ads to promote their business and website. Ads can be used to talk about specific products or services and drive traffic and interested buyers to your site. Most business owners have at least heard of CraigsList, but many have never heard of Backpage. We'll review what Backpage is, how it works, and how to use it effectively to put your business in front of a targeted audience.
What is Backpage
Backpage, like CraigsList, is an online classified ad website. First-time visitors are prompted to select a metro area from the United States or Canada, as well as the UK, Australia, Mexico or South Africa. Once they select a metro area, they'll see all of the various categories and subcategories in which ads can be placed and viewed. If they select a subcategory, they'll see a list of ad titles, by date, posted to that subcategory. Visitors can search as well as select a different metro area from the subcategory screen. Sponsored ads appear to the right, and visitors can also choose to view ad briefs in the list instead of just ad titles.
Why use Backpage
How to Start
To get started, go to Backpage and scroll down to the bottom where it says Account Login and click there. On the next screen, click on Sign Up For Account. Complete the form and click on Create Account, and follow any other instructions Backpage provides. Once you have an account you can begin posting your first ad.
Go to the metro area you want to post an ad in. Click the "Post an ad" button near the Backpage logo. Choose a section for your ad, then choose a category. We always select Services and then Computer as the most logical place to post our ads for professional website design services. Next, choose the metro area. You'll see the area you were in as well as other areas within the same state. You can then proceed through the ad creation process.
Step One is to write the ad. We recommend using Evernote or a similar program for actually drafting your ads. You can draft multiple versions of your ads and copy and paste them when needed. Ads that you draft can be in plain text or can use HTML for more advanced formatting.
Once you've written your ad and completed any other fields needed, you can proceed to the next step. Once you've gotten the hang of writing and placing ads, we do recommend taking advantage of some of Backpage's advanced feature like reposting or posting in multiple cities at once.
Type in the CAPTCHA image text and click Place Ad and you're finished. Backpage will send you an email with a link to edit your ad which you should keep in case you find you have a correction to make, or may have to remove the ad later for any reason.
Repeat for each metro area in which you wish to post an ad.
Ads remain live for 30 days. After 30 days, you will receive an email with a link to easily renew the ad for another 30 days. Once you've been posting ads for a month, you could potentially just wait for the renewal emails to come in each day and keep renewing your ads.
How to Excel
First, as mentioned above, be sure to use a tool like Evernote to manage your ads. Take the time to write good, compelling ads, and save them for future use.
Make sure that all of your ads include complete contact information.
If you're comfortable creating graphics and using HTML, posting an image as your ad can be extremely effective. To see an example of one of our ads, click here.
Schedule your ads so that you know where you have ads posted. Remember that every category displays the newest ads first, so it is important to repost ads in areas that receive a lot of traffic.
Be creative and informative.
Make sure that you choose an appropriate Section and Category, but don't be afraid to try others as long as it's not a clear misuse or mis-categorization.
Do not try to post ads on holidays. It's also likely that evenings and weekends will not be the best times. Use your website analytics to gauge traffic, but you will likely find that weekday mornings are the most effective time to post.
Keep your ad text brief and to the point. Explain what you have to offer and if possible, focus on specific issues you're prepared to solve for your clients.
If you have additional questions or comments about Backpage or online classified advertising in general, please feel free to comment below.
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