Do papers and websites give out free car classified ads?
If you’re looking for free classified ads for your car, you won’t find them in the newspaper. That’s one of the reasons that the Web is threatening newspapers’ future. So go online, and try posting to these sites in particular:
All the venues on this list are worth your time, but Craigslist’s system is different from the others. Here’s some advice to help you make the most effective use of each. Also, be sure to enter your ZIP code into the FREE auto insurance comparison tool to receive the best rates!
The size of the market is both the best and worst thing about these sites. They reach lots of buyers quickly, but they also serve up thousands of auto ads a day. How can you stand out from the pack, while still setting a fair price?
Your best tool is your description. In Craigslist, a description is almost all-important, since users can only search ads by keyword. Other sites offer buyers a greater ability to narrow their search down by key details. You’ll want to put that information in your Craigslist description, but leave it out of other sites where it’d just be redundant:
For the rest of the description, get creative! Write out a sales pitch that you could see yourself delivering in person, just before the buyer shakes your hand and says, “I’ll take it!”
Don’t Overdo It!
But don’t get too creative. Don’t CAPITALIZE words unnecessarily. Don’t lie. Don’t put in things that seem to be contradictory, even if they’re true.
And don’t put in too much useless detail. No one really wants to know that you got the car in a divorce, or that you used it to drive your kids to school. A little of this can add charm to a description, but only a little. As in any kind of salesmanship, your most important task is to anticipate the needs of your buyer.
Pictures often speak louder than words when it comes to making a sale.
- Photograph your vehicle on a sunny day
- Show it in the best possible light
- Use many different angles so the buyer is convinced you have nothing to hide
- This includes interiors! Buyers like a clean driver’s seat
Craigslist’s sites are divided up by city or area, while the other services ask for a city or zip code when you submit, and allow buyers to search by proximity to a zip code afterward. You always want to reach as many people close to you,with as little competition, as possible. This different approach to geography can affect the market you’re addressing, depending on where you live.
If you live in Virginia Beach, for instance, Craigslist will encourage you to put your ads in its Norfolk website, norfolk.craigslist.org, even though Norfolk is actually a smaller city.
This may mean you have a bigger audience of potential buyers than on other sites. Online buyers certainly prefer to find all the relevant listings with a single search, and if that search is for “Norfolk,” it might exclude you even though you’re just fifteen minutes’ drive away from them.
On the other hand, if you’re reaching a larger part of the map, then the number of people competing with you will increase, too. If you have a less attractive vehicle, you may want to use keywords in your description to identify your location more specifically.
That said, don’t put your address in there, unless you want a lot of unsolicited visits from would-be buyers even after you’ve sold your car.
Once you post, you should see results reach your e-mail inbox fairly quickly, if they reach it at all. Most buyers respond within 48 hours of seeing a new ad.
If you didn’t get anywhere…
- Take a second look at your postings, particularly your description
- Rework anything that might have been off-putting
- Try again
If that doesn’t work, you may have to face the idea that you’re just asking too much money for the car you’re selling. This can be hard to admit. But take a good look at the vehicle’s Blue Book value, and the prices of similar vehicles on the sites, then be honest with yourself.
You Don’t Have To Delete
You usually don’t have to worry about taking your ad down once you’ve sold your car. Many other people fail to do this, and so buyers generally assume any ad more than two weeks old is for a vehicle that’s already found a buyer.
If you’re still having trouble selling through the Web, smaller newspapers near you are an alternative approach that reaches a different market. Sometimes you can reach tens of thousands of people for less than $50. But you’ll have to research the circulations and ad rates of your local papers to determine if this is a workable solution for you.
And try doing it for free first! There’s no good reason not to! Be sure to find the best rates for auto insurance as well by entering your ZIP code into our FREE comparison tool below!