When it comes to affordable advertising, your local Craigslist site has the potential to give you plenty of bang for your buck. In fact, some Notaries, like Colorado-based mobile Notary David Harper, depend almost entirely on the classified site for business. It’s free, it’s easy to update, and, for many Notaries, it works for generating business. Like all aspects of your overall advertising plan, Craigslist marketing requires some forethought and strategy. That said, it shouldn’t be very time-consuming if done correctly. Harper, owner of A Dependable Notary, spends approximately 15 minutes a week on his Craigslist campaign, which generates the lion’s share of his business. Anatomy Of Effective Craigslist Advertising Your Craigslist Notary advertisement should include the following: 1. A Title That Is Clear, Informative, And Audience-Focused Harper changes out the titles of his ads to target the appropriate audience, using court-related headlines during the week, and “last minute” messaging to target weekend clients with Notary emergencies, which have proven most profitable for his business. 2. A Message That Is Clear, Concise, And Captivating “My overall advertising strategy is to get the person to call me,” says Harper. He credits his success to two simple words: “fast” and “affordable.” By keeping his message simple, Harper is able to stand out from his competition, who, he says, rely too heavily on visual “clutter.” 3. Use Eye-Catching And Relevant Images “We are visual first,” says Harper, “so I want to catch peoples’ attention with an image, then leave them with my message.” Many Craigslist users set filters to exclude ads without pictures, so finding appropriate images is critical in lending credibility to your business listing. 4. Post Often “With Craigslist, people only look at the top of the list. I always want to be in the top three,” says Harper. Because the site automatically sorts ads chronologically, Harper posts every other day, which, according to Craigslist rules, is the maximum that users are allowed to re-post free ads. Experts also recommend deleting older ads. 5. Include Contact Number and/or Links Make sure you provide an easy and quick way to reach you. 6. List Services Under Multiple Categories Most Notaries list their advertisements in the Legal Services or Financial Services categories. Figure out which categories work with you, and post accordingly. 7. Track Your Success Track the days you receive the most calls and the days you go out on the most assignments, and ask clients how they heard about you. Pay attention to what is working — and what’s not. Final Words On Craigslist Advertising Rather than depending solely on Craigslist, which can vary in its effectiveness based on your location and market saturation, try cross-listing your services on other free sites as well, including Yelp, YP.com, and Google Maps, and register with Notary listing services, both locally and nationwide. Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.