To promote your classified ads website you must do the following:
1. Fake it until you make it: Your website can’t be empty and expect people to post. Get other ads from print or wherever, contact local businesses or friends. Get something on that site to show that your site has value.
Narrow your focus: If your site allows ads in many categories then you have to concentrate on one category at a time. Find a niche that you think will have better results and focus your energies on getting people in that niche to use your site. Once you feel comfortable with that niche move on to the next. It will be a continuous process.
Advertise: You can advertise on other classified ads or on social media or google adwords. I find facebook ads give great results, also twitter. Some people rave about google adwords. The good thing about google is that your hosting might allow $100 free adwords credit when you spend $25. I spent $30 on facebook ads for my website Lightpost Ads got 300% increase in fb likes and 90% jump in page views.
Find something to keep them coming back: Ads are great and they work, but I find that often times its just a one-time visit. They don’t come back. So now I am researching my audience to see what I can offer to encourage return visits. Over time this won’t be a problem, but initially you need people to find a reason to return. Haven’t figured out this part yet but I know it’s important.
SEO: Blog, blog blog. Find something to write about. I find blogging really helps my rankings. Also do some of the other white-hat SEO tricks, like link building. Add your website in your email signature, add your website name to your images. Just learn to do SEO – it’s worth it.
Get Social: I personally would have no need for twitter if it wasn’t for my business. I don’t make personal updates to my facebook very often and I had never used Google+ before. However, since I am running a business, I have to be seen, I have to be found and I have to be interesting ( much against my personal comfort zone) but I tough it up and do it. Identify your ideal customer in each of your ad categories and follow them on twitter, like their tweets, create a facebook page, create Pinterest boards, create google + collections and circle people. Be social, plus when you use google+ it really helps your page rankings too!
Build an email list: Check other classified ads and look for email addresses. Send a personal email and in a few words encourage them to use your service instead the next time they have something to advertise. The idea is if they posted a classified ads elsewhere, they are more likely to post on your site as well. Throw in some kind of incentive: maybe displaying for longer, maybe a coupon. Just something and make it personal. Don’t bulk email and don’t spam.
Get others to talk about you: I have never done this and it is actually just occurring to me as I am writing this. The idea is that you find a mover and shaker in your niche. Someone with a lot of followers on social media, someone well known to talk about you. Maybe sponsor something just so they can advertise your service and say your website and tagline publicly. What’s coming to my mind is a particular youtuber who has influence in my niche. I think I will sponsor one of his videos and see if he will end by mentioning my website and then see if I get any conversions out of that.
So this is helpful!