Real Estate Leads on Craigslist: Announcing the AIDA Formula

AIDA: Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

It’s a very old ad formula that’s made hundreds of advertisers and copywriters the golden boys and girls of business. And it’s perhaps the most effective tool, or framework, you can use in real estate marketing.

In fact, with a simple little tweak, it could be a very potent inbound lead generation strategy for you over the next year.

I know this for a fact.

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been systematically testing this formula on Craigslist–and the results have been outstanding.

AIDA: What Is It?

First things first: What is AIDA?

AIDA is a simple formula that guides you down a step-by-step path to writing compelling and powerful ads. In a nutshell, you simply attract attention, capture interest, provoke desire and ask for action.

Attract Their Attention

What makes your audience tick?

That’s the #1 question you have to answer, especially when clutter, media and noise dominate our culture. You need to find their hot buttons, pleasure boxes, value ranges. You need to be specific, enticing, dramatic and bold.

Fortunately, inside Craigslist’s real estate listings, you don’t have much competition. I mean, really: Browse the top 100 listings for the day and you’ll fall asleep. Posting after posting of boring, eye-twittering copy.

However, with a minimal investment of ten minutes, you can create a post that people simply can’t turn away from. More importantly, a post that will bring you quality inbound lead calls.

So, how do you demand attention?

Ask yourself, “What’s the most beneficial promise my subject line can make to the reader? Is it compelling, unique and powerful? Or is it easily dismissible? Will it stand out?”

One of my favorite examples of a headline that rivets eyeballs to the screen:

“Ferrari-driving, High Tech Recluse to Sell Westgate Hideaway: it’s on 2 lots and has a 5.5 car garage”

Here’s another great headline.

Capture Their Interest

Now, once you’ve got their attention, here’s what you do next: Satisfy their curiosity and give them what  you promised.

In the example above, ask them if they are a ready to buckle up for a ride through a sensational home with an astounding story to tell.

Then tell them how the home will sooth their housing pain or satisfy their housing pleasure. Really stroke that ego. If you don’t, they’ll go away.

And by the way: don’t just give them the price without teasing them with it in the ad. Ever. I’ll explain how in a minute.

Provoke Desire

At this point you need to build a strong desire for the home.

Paint a picture of bliss, ease, prestige, pleasure. Tell a real-life story that causes something to stir within their hearts. Something that touches their deepest fears and desires.

Furthermore, make everything you write unique, useful, urgent and ultra-specific. But don’t cross the line: Overstate, and you’ll blow your credibility.

Call to Action

What is the most-overlooked element of advertising?

Unfortunately, it’s the call-to-action.

Too many people either neglect asking for action or simply tag “call or visit today” as an afterthought to their ad. Wrong.

If you want action, you have to direct your reader to the next step. This is the point where all your hard work pays off.

Here’s the little gem I used to make my real estate posting on Craigslist light up my cell phone with 57 leads in 48 days on 1 listing:

Automated Information – 24 Hours
Call or Text 1-800-959-6550 ext. 1000

The call-to-action is the most important part of your posting. It’s an essential piece you cannot forget. Neglect it, and you’ve wasted your investment.

Proof That It Works

Think back to an ad that you found irresistible. One that compelled you to lose sleep until you acted. Likely that was AIDA in action.

Any ad that persuades and charms you into action probably owes its success to AIDA. This holds true for real estate listings on Craigslist. My testing and experiences are proof that it does.

Why Should You Tease Prospects with the Price?

Well, if you didn’t figure it out already, teasing with the price is the bone-weary, panting fox hunted by a relentless pack of baying hounds. It’s what creates the hot pursuit after your listing.

To conclude, inside your ad write a line of copy that says “Due to changing market conditions, for current up-to-the-minute pricing call or text our 24-hour automated information line. Again, for current pricing call 1-800-959-6550 ext 1000 anytime 24 hours.” Something along that line.

And I promise you: this call-to-action tweak is the number one strategy to trigger a significant flow of inbound lead calls for you.

By the way, Let me know what you think. I’m curious to hear if anyone else has a Craigslist success story to share.

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