How to Sell on Craigslist > What to Include in Your Craigslist Ad

What to Include in Your Craigslist Ad

This chapter will give you an idea of things to include in the title and description. Keep in mind that buyers only see text before clicking on your ad. There are no thumbnails next to the titles on the search pages as there are in eBay and other paid auction sites.

what to include in craigslist ad

If you are really looking to make money on Craigslist, it is a good idea to leave a phone number in your ad so people can call you.

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your main phone number, you can leave a secondary phone number. Just be sure you are able to check messages.

Making Buyers Wait Sucks

A lot of serious people looking to buy on Craigslist don’t want to send an email and wait for a response. They want to call and talk to you about the item in real time.

It is useful to specify a time frame in your ad indicating the best times for people to call, such as evenings from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

Leave a Phone Number

If you feel comfortable leaving your phone number in the ad for people to contact you, then do it. You will be more successful.

About 90% of my craigslist sales have come from phone calls. One of the benefits of asking people to contact you by phone rather than email is that serious buyers will call.

Scammers Don’t Actually Call Craigslist Sellers

Also, you are less likely to be contacted by a scammer over the phone – scammers tend to contact unsuspecting sellers almost exclusively by email.

It is also good to leave the option for people to email you, as some people buying on Craigslist may not feel comfortable calling a stranger at first, and may feel more comfortable at least making the initial communication through email.

Inform the Buyer before They Contact You

Try to keep your title as informative as possible with the space given. Since the page results are all text based, you will need to give people a reason to click the ad.

Brands and model numbers are good to include in titles. Depending on the item, the color of the item is also good to include since there are no thumbnails of your item next to the title.

Let’s compare two titles:

Nintendo Switch Console with Red & Blue Controllers – Used


Nintendo Switch

If someone is browsing or searching for a Nintendo Switch on Craigslist and all they can see is text, which title do you think is most likely to motivate the buyer to read the ad?

Here is a quick way to unlock & reset Nintendo DSI parental codes, too.

Say What You Are Selling

The first title says exactly what is being sold and contains many keywords.

The second title is much shorter and does not describe everything that is being sold, even though each ad may be selling the same product.

The second title has less of a chance of being seen. It is best to maximize the space given for the title – fill it with relevant information.

Sort of like Twitter’s 140 character limit. Use the space you’re given.

Once you have a clear title, you will need to work on your item description. The brand and model number (if the item has a model number) of the item are important to include. This will help potential buyers easily comparison shop by checking other websites and other craigslist sellers offering the same item.

Include the Item’s Condition

Include some idea of the item’s condition. You don’t have to be so detailed as to say, “There are 17 scratches measuring approximately 1 inch each on the back bottom left corner of the TV.” Instead, “Some visible scratches on the surface of the console” would suffice.

Do include major damage, missing parts, or anything that may be wrong with the item. It is perfectly OK if your item has some wear or scratches and it is OK to put that in your ad. You are selling used items so this is to be expected.

Include the Item’s Age

The item’s age is another good detail to include in your ad. People almost always want to know how old the item is or how long you have had it.

Also, you might want to add the reason you are selling your item, such as, “I received a new iPod for my birthday, so I am selling my older one.”

These are questions that potential buyers almost always ask, so tell them up front in the ad and then you are more likely to be contacted buy serious buyers.

Item Features

Add a few features and specs about the item, too. (Holds 5,000 songs. The speakers are 500 watts each. It has a 6.25 horsepower engine, etc.) The more information you include in the ad, the more likely you are to be contacted by a serious buyer, rather than a comparison shopper.

Most importantly, be honest in your description. You don’t want to say in your ad that your item is in mint condition and nothing is wrong with it, only to meet a buyer face to face and they notice missing pieces and a dent.

You will disappoint your buyer and it will seem like you misled them in your ad, so then you will just be wasting the buyer’s time as well as your own.


Once you have put together a complete description, make sure you have spelled everything correctly! If you have misspelled words in your ad, how can buyers find your ad in the search results?

The only way someone is going to find your ad is if they happen to misspell the same word in the same way that you did – what are the odds?

Singular & Plural Spelling

Also, remember again to include both the singular AND plural versions of your main keywords. Using the iPod example from earlier, you could say something like,

“I am selling my 30GB black Apple iPod Classic because I have two iPods. I bought a newer model and I am looking to sell my older one for some extra cash.”

See how the words “iPod” AND “iPods” are used in those two sentences?

If that were in an ad selling an iPod, that ad would have a better chance of showing up in the search results for people looking for an iPod because it includes the singular and plural version of the most important keyword, “iPod”.

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