We recently had a yard/moving sale at our house. To make things more interesting, my wife (say it like Borat) and I decided to hold a contest - which method of yard sale marketing is better.
The two methods we evaluated were on-road signs (at strategic intersections and on our road) and craigslist moving sale / niche-category listings.
These great looking signs were posted on light posts around our neighborhood. It also helped that we had an Estate sale nearby, which drove even more traffic through our street, and for much of this traffic, to our yard sale
I posted a number of ads on craigslist into several general purpose categories (Moving Sale, Furniture) as well as several ads to a niche category (Bicycles). The niche ads were specific to the bicycling parts, with a link (below) leading people to a photo gallery.
Available at our <a href="http://l.geyfman.net/XvAm5P" target="_blank">moving sale</a>!
<a href="http://l.geyfman.net/121RSAl" target="_blank">Photos!</a>
We'll have free lemonade and cookies, with purchase!
For discount, mention Ad ##!
Saturday 8AM - 12PM
Sunday 8AM - 12PM
<a target="_blank" href="http://l.geyfman.net/ZkIeVf">Corner of 18th Ave and Orangewood Ave, 85021</a>
The following ads were posted:
- Bike Category, bike stuff
- Baby Items
- Garage Sale
- Wrought Iron
- Bike friday and Track bike
- Wheels and Tires
- Stems and Bars
Link statistics gathering
Notice that all of the links go through l.geyfman.net - that’s my bitly link shortener domain. All links going through this domain are logged and bitly shows me the breakdown of referrers for each link - super useful for figuring out where people came from to get to your site, and, what methods of advertising were better than others.
Armed with a $50 credit from Twitter, I registered on their ads.twitter.com site and started a promoted tweet campaign. The tweet that I promoted was a link to this tumblr blog for the Purge and Renew post, which had the same links you see above.
Below are my settings for targeting and spend.
Our facebook campaign was pretty simple - my wife posted an status on facebook w/ the signs picture above, and I shared it. We got some friend traffic, albeit not much. We don’t have a huge network in Phoenix.
Overall foot traffic
We had at least 100 people stop by our moving sale. Of those, 60% were interested in the wares, and many converted into buyers.
The early part of Saturday morning was dominated by bike-related sales. Clearly, the niche strategy paid off, and several of the buyers ended up buying more than $50 in bike parts, each!
The craigslist traffic died off in the late morning, and beside one guy coming back to pick up some parts, and another buyer for one of the bikes I was selling (Bike Friday), we had no more craigslist traffic after 11am Saturday morning.
Organic traffic generated through neighborhood signs continued steadily into the afternoon on Saturday with sales up until the sun was overbearing.
Sunday is a whole other story. There were practically no buyers on Saturday, and besides already-committed buyers, we made $5 on Sunday. Needless to say, we won’t waste our Sunday again.
Customer Acquisition Cost
Below are the stats from the twitter ad. Since the cost of our customers was only in sign-making materials and twitter spend (which twitter gave us for free), the costs of this yard sale effort were minimal. That said, twitter says it generated 150 engagements, which resulted in a lot of traffic to this tumblr blog.
From tumblr, a good number of people ended up clicking on the photo gallery page (15). Check out the bitly stats below:
Yard Sale photo gallery link
Map and directions link
CL Garage sale link
Without a doubt, craigslist brought in the lion’s share of money. While the number of people coming in through CL was low compared to organic foot traffic, the average spend was 10x at least! I am really happy about our craigslist strategy, especially advertising the moving sale in niche categories (like bicycling).
This was a fun experiment and taught me a lot about collecting information through links and targeting segments of twitter’s users. For the next time I attempt something like this, I need to gauge better how Twitter counts “engagements” - I don’t think my blog got 150 clicks, so engagements must be tweet views? Anyway, more research to do there.
Another thing that would help is to advertise in more sections on craigslist. CL brought a lot of traffic to the yard sale gallery (see above), so it stands to reason that more niche ads would bring even more people to the galleries and, hopefully, to the yard sale.
Last, big-ticket items should be broken up into their own ads, with links back to the aggregate niche-ad (like all biking stuff) and to the overall photo gallery. We tried to do this a little bit, and I ended up selling one of my big-ticket items for nearly my target price!