Friday, May 1, 2009

Hosting a Garage Sale: Part 4

If you missed the first three parts of this series, here are part 1, part 2 and part 3. This week's focus is on marketing the sale. Here are a few of the ways to market your sale in order to gain the most customers:

Newspaper: Yes, newspaper readership is declining, but for many people this is the first stop when deciding their garage sale strategy for the day. I used to always advertise my sales in the paper and received many customers directly because of it. The few sales I haven't advertised turned out to be pretty pathetic sales. This year the paper drastically increased their price so I'm trying my first sale in years without advertising in our local paper.

Craigslist: In most areas, Craigslist is free to advertise and is rapidly gaining popularity. I put up an ad earlier in the week about the sale and then relist it the day before and day(s) of. I recommend not putting your actual address in for safety reasons but to put a good starting point as to where your signs will be. I've actually presold a few items through my postings so I find this an easy way to gain customers.

Local media websites: Many TV and radio stations in our area have a garage sale section on their website and the majority are free to advertise on.

National websites: More and more national websites such as Garage Sale Tracker are popping up to promote garage sales. I do not have a lot of experience with these sites but my best guess is that they will grow with popularity since our economy has tanked and people are having to bargain shop more than ever before.

Signage: This is probably the most important marketing tool as it gains drive by customers. Start your signs at a major intersection and provide easy directional signs all the way to your house. I live on a cul-de-sac kind of hidden back and I always put out a ton of directional signs so people can find me. I've received many compliments on the signs because most people would turn on the street attached to mine, not see the sale, and turn around but that last sign telling them to keep going let's them know they are close.

My other piece of advice for signage is to keep it simple. As people drive by, it is hard for them to read a lot of wording, therefore I usually just put SALE and an arrow. I'm not a fan of putting times or addresses as people abuse this.

This is the last in my garage sale series - I hope you have enjoyed it. If you have a garage sale, I would love to hear how it goes. Ours is going on right now and I will update everyone once it is over. So far, it has rained almost the entire day but our sales are still good considering.


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