How I Turned Someone Else’s Junk Into My Fortune
Working at an old IT job, the company had this small container called the “Recycle Bin”. Whenever someone wanted to get rid of any item they own, instead of dumping it in the trash, they could put it inside the Recycle Bin so others can make use of them. Essentially, it was a charity box.
This mic set was bought for an event hosted by the company. It was used once and never again. Time passed and they decided it was better off if they gave it to someone who needed it so they put it in the Bin. Still, it remained unwanted.
I didn’t notice the microphone set at all actually but when I did, I took a look, asked about it, and learned its history. I decided that if no one wanted a barely used microphone set, I might as well take it home and flip it. So I did.
It was sold for $250 in less than 2 weeks. Here’s how I sold it:
The Craigslist Ad – Case Study
The purpose of your ad’s feature image? To grab your prospect’s attention. The purpose of your ad? To compel your prospects to click and read on. Every single aspect of your ad has only one purpose: to make them read the next word.
Joe Sugarman calls this the Slippery Slide. It’s an appropriate metaphor. Your words must be a lubricant that makes it hard to leave once they’ve read it.
So, as with every ad, I do research on the product I’m selling. The research I do is relatively quick because most brands have a dedicated site that details all their features and highlights. I’ll go over all major elements in this ad. Starting with…
Headlines should be straightforward. If your product is branded, it’s wise to add that in. You can’t go wrong with directly stating the brand of a product.
Since the product I’m selling includes a bunch of other stuff, I made sure to include them. Additional items bundled up as one, always attract attention. Keywords are key when it comes to titles for your ads.
I added the model of the product because this is an electronic appliance. Most people are inquisitive when it comes to purchasing products online, especially if they’re a little bit pricey, so adding the models of each product allows your prospects to search the product themselves so they can get a look at what the original for reference.
After the headline, comes your first sentence. Again, go straight to the point. People don’t want their time wasted on dull things. The trick to creating a decent hook is to know your prospect’s need for buying your product. Ask yourself these questions before writing a word for your ad:
- What does my product solve?
- To whom is it for?
- What does my prospect lack or need?
Notice that the first sentence is a question. It does two things:
- It’s direct and personal. When a person wants to buy something, it’s because they have a need that needs filling. And needs are personal. You have to address it to them immediately to give them a reason to continue. And…
- The question is structured so that it implies that I have the solution for the prospect’s problem. Which is then appropriately confirmed in the next sentence.
Apply that correctly and your prospects will thank you.
Ad Copy | Features & Benefits
In the main part of my ad copy, I begin to detail each of the product’s features and benefits.
A feature is a technical aspect of the product such as “Automatic Frequency Selection” and “Automatic Transmitter Setup”. To the average person, this means nothing. Only people who have a background in electronics will understand this. However, I recommend including this in your ad, because it does two things:
- It shows authority. Putting that in will make it seem like you are knowledgeable about the product whether you are or not. This gives prospects confidence that they are buying a product from an authoritative source.
- It allows people who are knowledgeable to trust you.
A benefit, on the other hand, is the action or purpose that the feature provides such as “making wireless setup a snap” and “it eliminates the need for cable”. Giving your average non-technical prospect a more understandable explanation does one important thing:
- It personalizes the item. It allows them to see what it would be like to actually use the item. And when you’ve managed to do that, you’re halfway there.
Also, see the blue boxes. I segmented each product with a small transition of the product’s original prices. This does two things:
- It doesn’t intimidate the reader. It gives the ad a smoother reading experience and makes it more readable. Remember, we want the slippery slide. And…
- It increases the product’s perceived value. They’ll see that the product they’re buying isn’t something cheap.
Summary of Package
If the prospect, by this point, hasn’t been convinced to buy the product yet, then this is the deal sweetener. In a concise manner, it details all the things the prospect will be receiving. And it’s made so that it’s easier to count. Lists are perfect for this! It’s simpler and easier to digest.
This was used. It’s basic etiquette to add this information. It also builds authenticity, if you tell prospects what they’re getting. Just make sure it’s truthful and not a lie. (Yes, I know. It’s obvious. But it bears repeating!)
Call To Action
This is the last thing you need to do. It tells them how to contact you to proceed with the purchase. And sometimes, people need a little push to actually take action. Don’t forget to say thanks too! Reading is effortful.
This article basically had two parts.
The first detailed how I took an unwanted thing and turned it into a fortune. Which is training in perception and execution. You need to change how you perceive the world if you want to be a flipper. I wrote about this more in-depth in a previous article, A Dozen Monitors, A Dozen Opportunities, which in short was to keep this in mind Everything Sells. Adopting an “anything can be sold” mindset will let you see past an item’s function and look into its value.
The second part details how I wrote the ad description. There were a lot of points there, which I hope was understandable enough.
Overall, this flip was extremely profitable. It didn’t take me much time to finish posting it since I didn’t have to go to a thrift store to buy it.
There are opportunities. You only have to spot them.
You know why.
Easy. Super portable. Just carried it in my bag.
Time Spent: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Probably spent less than 30 minutes prepping this for posting.
Overall, I’d give it a 5.3/5 considering these factors:
- Time spent: <30 minutes
- Transport: Super easy carry-on.
- Profit: All profit and no cost. Easiest $250 I ever made.