Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The Top Ten Tips For Auction Success!

If you were to look through eBay, or any other online auction site for that matter, you would find that many people make some very basic mistakes. And, they repeat these mistakes over and over again. As indicated in my book "eBay Marketing Wholesale SourcePak" with a little common sense these mistakes are completely preventable. So to prevent you from making these very same mistakes I have put together the Top Ten Tips For Auction Success.
10. Shipping
Always state what your shipping price will be. And, Do Not try to rip off your buyers by inflating the shipping price to increase your profit. Believe it or not, people do have a fair idea of what shipping costs should be. If they feel you are inflating your shipping price they will not bid on your item and may not look at any of your other auctions either from fear of being ripped off.
9. Customer Support
You must respond to all emails regarding your auctions. Yes, responding to emails is time consuming. But, if you don't, that potential bidder will look else ware for the product and you will have lost yourself a customer.
8. Reserve Price
Do your research on the price for your item. If you must use a reserve price keep it real. If you over price your item you will not get as many bids. And, while all good marketers know there is a time and place for the Reserve Auction, you may actually get more bids using no reserve pricing at all. Do your research to help you make this decision.
7. Item Condition
You must let bidders know what condition your item is in. Is it new and in it's packaging, or used but like new condition. Does it have any imperfections they should be made aware of.. A potential bidders will want to know what condition your item is in before making any bids.
6. Terms
This could come under the heading Customer Service. If you have terms on your auction page that read something like this "Not Responsible For Item Once Shipped" or "Item Sold As Is" you will lessen the number of bidders for that auction. Be a responsible eBayer, have insurance on the item that your buyer can purchase. And be sure to have some sort of guarantee on your products.
5. Feedback
One of the most important parts of your eBay Business. Feedback is a method eBay uses to allow buyers and sellers to record their experiences with each other. Then, others can check out the feedback of any eBayer they wish to deal with, to see if there has been any negative comments left. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep your feedback rating positive.
4. Auction Start/Close Time
You must plan your auction start/close time around the bidders you wish to attract to your auction. If the product you are selling appeals to the working woman, the best time to start/end your auction would be in the evening or on the weekend. Always create a profile on your product and what group of the population you are selling to.
3. Item Description
Not enough information or too much rambling of information will discourage people from bidding. So too will to many typos. Your item description must be clean and concise. Succinctly provide all the information required to describe the item sufficiently and create buyer interest.
2. Image
You need to use an image on your auction page. Remember a picture is worth a 1000 words! Potential bidders will want to see what the item looks like before they make a bid. With digital cameras, being so affordable these days adding a image to your auction page is easier then ever. But, make sure the image is clear and well lit to show it's detail or any imperfections it may have. Also, keep the image at a reasonable pixel size so your auction page doesn't take to long to load.
1. Headlines
This is the most important issue for getting more bidders to your auction page. You must include words that people will search on eBay. And, you must make your headline enticing, so potential bidders will click it. If you are selling an antique make-up table a headline saying old vanity table would not pull in a lot of bidders. But, if you said something like "Vintage Vanity Table - Mint Condition - Collectors Item" not only would you get more potential bidders to view your auction, you would also be using words people would search eBay for. Your auction title would appear in searches for Vintage, Vanity Tables, Collectors Items. Therefore, allowing even more potential bidders to see your headline.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

5 Ways to Drive Traffic Away from Your eBay Auction

eBay is a one-stop solution to any one who wants to make money online. Whether you just selling a few unwanted items from around your house or your want to develop a work from home business, eBay removes many of the obstacles for you. Not many other websites can help you drive targeted traffic towards your sales, process the order on your behalf and accept payment though paypal. All you need to do then is dispatch the item to your winning bidder.
And let's not forget the biggest advantage over selling on eBay. The majority of users have money in their hand just waiting to find the right item.
So if eBays so great why would you want to drive traffic AWAY from your auctions?
Well there are a few reasons why you'd be better off selling from your own website, rather than though eBay. Firstly & most importantly, think of all the listing fees & final value fees you could save if everything you sold on eBay you could sell on your own website. Personally it would save me thousands of dollars per year alone in listing fees.
Secondly, you'll be protecting yourself from eBay policy change. Imagine you were selling thousands of ebooks weekly and then suddenly eBay policy changed to prevent any ebook listings.
Overnight your business would simply disappear & your income would vanish. It's the same with listing fees - A sudden hike in fees could wipe out your business & profit overnight.
With any business, especially an online one you need to safeguard yourself against measures that are out of your control. So by driving traffic away from your auctions to your own website you'll slowly start building up an alternative source of revenue. The following methods can be used on eBay. Some are on the borderline of eBay policy & you should check out any policy violation before using them. Saying that, a huge proportion of sellers use these on a daily basis.
1) Image Hosting
All the best sellers have auction templates developed to maintain a professional listing. And of course those sellers ALWAYS use images or graphics to accurately show the condition of the items their offering.eBay itself allows you to upload the images to their servers, other commercial & free services are available. However really you want to store any images on your own server. Not only will search engine robots follow the links from your listings to your site (helping in improved visibility in any search engines), but many browsers will show the address of where the images are loading from in the status bar - For instance "Loading Image From http://www.visitmyshop.com" or "Waiting For http://www.visitmyshop.com". This is a great way for your visitors to see to become familiar with your site.
2) Feedback
Many sellers include their own website in the feedback comments they use. Strictly it is against eBay policy but many Powersellers use comments like "Thanks for your custom from http://www.Visitmyshop.com" as standard. This is perhaps one of the widely violated policies on eBay. I've never known of anyone receive a warning for this policy, but use it with caution as you could be the first.
3) Email Address
eBay allows your listings to contain one email link address, in addition to the "Ask The Seller A Question Link" they already provide. Use the opportunity to show the an email account associated with your domain name for example sales@visitmyshop.com. The only condition about showing your email address is the one shown must also be your registered email account with eBay. Before you list it, make sure they match up.
4) About Me Page
Bay actually allows you to link to your own website from your About Me page, as long as the actual page does not directly offer to sell items. Therefore make it an information or about us page that you link to, BUT one where visitors can easily navigate to your catalog of items for sale. Additionally drive traffic to your About Me Page by including a link on every listings, for example "Click here to learn about me". An average basic shop on eBay will get over 1500 item views within a month. If you can drive just a small proportion of these to your about me page & then to your site you'll certainly see a difference in your non-eBay sales.
5) User Id
While eBay does not allow your user id to be that of an website, you should have it as closely to resembling your site name as possible. You CAN NOT attach .com, -com or *com to the end of your user id - this is strictly against eBay policy. However nothing would stop your id being VisitMyShop. The idea is to get your eBay visitors comfortable with dealing with you away from eBay.I hope these tips help you drive traffic away from your auctions towards your site & lessens eBays grip on your business. Remember, Ignorance is not an excuse eBay accept if you do violate their policy. While you initially get a warning for policy violation continuous offences may result in your account being suspended. Having said that, eBay mostly rely on policing from other users to enforce their policy so as long as no reports you should be in the clear.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

4 Hidden Resources For eBay Users

Many thousands of people making a living both buying & selling on eBay. Currently ranked as the 37 biggest site on the net (according to Alexa figures) eBay shows no signs of slowing down, even fortune 500 companies are opening eBay shops to sell surplus & unwanted stock. The following are five resources that I use personally & encourage you to use them to increase your eBay profits with ease.Reports show that over 90% of searches on eBay are done using the search facility. What users do not know about eBays search factility is that by default it only searches the item titles - not the descriptions of the items. Remember this fact as it will show the significance of some of the resources listed below.

1) FatFingers

How professional a seller are you? Do you check your listings before submitting them or even does someone else proof read them for you? With millions of listings on eBays networks of sites at any one time, a small proportion of these listings contain errors - & a misspelt word is about the biggest error you can make. Imagine your selling a Sony Television for example. What if you misspell the item as Sony Televisoin. Anyone who searches for the term "Sony Television" simply isn't going to be presented with your item. Only those eBayers who search manually though the category will find your items. Needless to say that if people can't find your item, they're unable to bid on them.FatFingers is a service you can use to find all misspelt variations of a term. Why would you need such a service?Well obviously if an item has low visibility on eBay it's also likely to have zero or few bids enabling you to snap yourself up a bargain. I've known people use this service to make a full time living, purely buying items cheaply and relisting them without errors.
Details at: Fatfingers.com

2) eBay Pulse

Back to the search facility eBay pulse shows you the top 10 searched keywords in every category. It's a real gem of a service, obviously by looking at the most widely used search terms you can see what eBayers are after. And if your selling in this category, by inserting some of these keywords within your title your items will be seen by more users.The only thing to watch out with this service is make sure the keywords are relevant to your item, IF NOT DON'T USE THEM. How many times have you saw listings such as "SONY PANASONIC LG WIDESCREEN DIGITAL TELEVISION GUIDE", - listings such as these are well thought out to earn high visibility from the way users search. Anyone searching for the items with any of the keywords will uncover your listings. While it may lead to a high number of views, firstly fellow users will get annoyed if they find your item completely unrevealed to what they searched for, Secondly keyword spamming as it is known, is against eBay policy and will lead to your item being pulled. I use pulse daily with all my listings but make sure it's relevant to your item first.
Details at: pulse.ebay.com

3) Selling Manager

When you first open a selling account on eBay, options listed under the sell tab of eBay are enough to get you by. However, you can upgrade to a more in depth service known as Selling Manager. As eBay describes the service "eBay Selling Manager is our online sales management tool for medium to high volume sellers". It allows you to track every eBay sale, customise your feedback comments, print shipping labels & much more. It saves me about four hours a week tracking orders and watching my sales.Selling Manager is FREE on eBay.co.uk & has a small monthly charge of on eBay.com (after one a month trial free). Once I moved over to Selling Manager, there's simply no way I would go back.
Details at: Click on services once you've logged into your eBay account.

4) eBay Popular Products

Here you can see, directly from eBay, what the most popular products are in several categories. an invaluable tool for an eBay seller.
Details at: http://product-index.ebay.com/best_selling_1.html

I hope you find these services useful & time saving in your goal for a successful home business on eBay. Remember, your most important resource is your time when your starting or building up an online business & if you discover any site, person or opportunity that can save you time give it the attention & serious consideration it deserves. Every top Internet marketers constantly educate themselves by purchasing & reviewing almost every new product released. The way I look at it, if an ebook costs $197 and the information within the ebook saves me this or allows me to make an additional $197 it's well worth it - once you can do it once you'll be able to repeat the exercise over and over again making repeated profits. If you discover a precious eBay related resource let me know & I'll consider revising this list for future editions.Good luck with your eBay selling.

5 Secrets To Make A Killing on eBay

Secret #1: Find a ‘real’ wholesale and drop ship company

Do you know what one of the biggest problem is to be successful on eBay? ‘What should I sell”? I can tell you, I get many emails per day from eBay sellers, asking me what they can sell. Let me explain this more in detail. Let’s take John and David for example. Both are sellers and try to make money on eBay. Let’s start with John. He mainly gets his items from garage sales. So, every Saturday morning he gets up very early, hops into his car and drives around the neighbourhood to check out the garage sales. So he went last Saturday. John did not buy anything on the first two garage sales, but on his third garage sale, he found a little treasure. An old book from 1897 - for a bargain price of $10. Bingo! John was proud! ‘I can sell this for huge profit’, he thought and he went home. He took his digital camera and he made a high quality digital photo. It took quite some time but finally he was happy with the result. Then he had to upload this picture to his computer and he spent some time writing the sales copy. Late Saturday afternoon finally he was finished and launched this book onto eBay. 7-10 days later his item got sold for $75!! John is excited. He packs the item, labels it with the buyers address and then he drives to the nearest post office. Oh no, what a long line. After 15 min of waiting he could finally post this item to his customer! Wow, a lot of work for $65 profit? Don’t you think?Let’s look at David. He usually gets up very late – usually at Saturday around lunchtime. He is still in his pyjamas and he makes himself a nice cup of coffee and gets onto the Internet. He logs into his drop ship account and browses through some hot selling product. ‘Yes, I can sell that” - A nice laptop for a bargain price of $550 (wholesale price). But David does not have to pay upfront for this item, so he just downloads the professional digital photos offered by his drop ship company to his computer. ”Oh wait”; David has just discovered that this drop ship company has also a ‘ready-to-use’ auction sales letter available. That’s really cool …and David copies and pastes the source code of this letter into his eBay listing and he launches his auction. A Dutch auction, since the drop ship company announced that they have more than one of this laptop currently available. Great, David could sell 6 laptops. He hits the submit button for this Dutch auction of 6 laptops and enjoys his coffee (which is still hot by the way). After 7-10 days David has sold all 6 laptops for $830 each. All what David does is the following: He waits until he gets the payment from his 6 customers in his paypal account, sends the address of the customers together with 6 x $550 (wholesale price) to his drop sip company via paypal. He has made pure profit of 6 x $280 = $1,680 in about 25 min of work – total. That’s why David is a smarter eBay seller than John. I think the idea is clear …drop shipping can be the answer to your problem what to sell on eBay and it can saves you a lot of time too. No packing, posting etc.

Secret #2: Have a professional auction listing

A professional eBay auction site is like your business card. If you are serious selling on eBay you should show your potential customers that you are a professional seller and that you are selling high quality products. Please, don’t just upload a photo and type the text in the description box. Do your homework and learn some HTML. Look around there are many professional tutorials and ebooks around helping you in that matter. It’s definitely worth it. And you’ll be surprised, because if your auction listing looks nice and professional potential buyers stay longer on your site and usually it’s more likely that they place a bid.

Secret #3: The money is in the follow up

“Yes, I’ve heard this before”, you may say. But, this is a very important aspect of your successful eBay career: Follow up with your customers. Send them an email ~10 days after they have purchased the product and ask them how they are going with the product and if everything is all right. Invite them to have a look at your other auctions. (You have to be careful though not offending anyone, but if the products are related and you ask how they went with the product, that’s fine). I never got complaints by doing that and your customers are happy to get some “insider tips”. You’ll be amazed how many customers will buy from you again, since they value you as a seller. Keep in mind that it is easier to keep an existing customer, instead of getting a new customer. You could also send them a thank you gift in form of a downloadable digital information product. That’s easy for you and they get some valuable information. You’ll see that your existing customers will be very thankful and they feel good that they have bought from you and will do again in the future.

Secret #4: Sell internationally

This aspect is often neglected by many eBay sellers: Sell internationally! First, check with your drop ship company in which countries they are shipping and how much postage they charge to send the item overseas. If you have sort out these details, you can go ahead and list your item internationally. You’ll be surprised how many more items you are selling when the potential buyers see: Ship worldwide. Don’t miss this opportunity or you are leaving big bucks on the table.

Secret #5: Be creative

Be different How do you think your listing will be stand out from the crowd? Good question isn’t it. In my 4 years of being an active Power Seller, I have tried and tested a lot. First have the photo in the gallery; it just costs a bit more to list but these additional cents are well spend. A recent study has shown that people almost ignore listing without a picture in the gallery. So that’s mandatory! The next step is your title. Do you know that only the title is spidered by eBay when potential customers are searching for specific products? So, you have to make sure that your title includes as much keywords as possible. But be careful here, eBay does not like “keyword stuffing”. So, be creative and come up with 2-3 different titles for the same item. Try them all and you’ll see what works best.

Dropshippers & Ebay

Drop shipping has become the latest craze in business and is helping to drive the latest surge of new websites being created today. Drop shippers are creating multiple websites selling numerous product lines and making a fortune in the process. Just type any product you can think of into a search engine and just look at how many pages of websites come up-and most of them are drop shipping companies selling their wares! Drop Shipping Benefits The reason why drop shipping has become so popular and exploded so suddenly is that it is simply the most efficient way to sell retail goods. People surfing the web find a site selling a product they want and then make a purchase. The website owner (drop shipper) then passes that order along to their wholesaler along with payment and shipping costs. From there, the wholesaler processes the order, packages the product with the website owner's business name on the packaging, and ships it directly to the customer. The website owner bought the product at wholesale price and then sold it to the customer for whatever price they thought they could charge, and profited from the difference. It really is pure genius! But, there is more to this than you think and the beauty of drop shipping gets even better! First of all, there is virtually no overhead because there is no store to operate (or employees to pay!) or any inventory to maintain. Stores like Wal-Mart may get better wholesale prices because they buy in such large quantities, but they still do not make as much profit on each item as a drop shipper due to the costs of operating their stores. Drop Shipping with Ebay Although websites are definitely cheaper to create and operate than a conventional retail store, they still can require a fairly sizeable investment of time and money. Between paying for servers and either creating or paying for content, websites can definitely eat up some time and money. But, this is where Ebay comes in. For a small fee, you can post your wares on Ebay and benefit from the millions and millions of people who surf the site every year. This way, you never have to worry about maintaining any website and you can start selling products within a day or two. Due to the incredible traffic on Ebay, it is definitely possible to make a fortune by drop shipping from the site. If you just think of the Ebay fee as a business expense, there really is no downside to the arrangement and it can definitely be more profitable than operating your own site and worrying about getting people to visit your site. While some people may not like the idea of depending upon Ebay for their business, the fact remains that drop shippers can substantially benefit from the partnership. Due to the incredibly low operational costs of drop shipping, the Ebay fee is a very small price to pay for the convenience and high traffic offered by the site. If you are thinking about going into drop shipping but are not crazy about the idea of creating and operating your own website, consider posting from Ebay because the benefits far outweigh the small fee charged by the site.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Create a Compelling Title for your Ebay items

Think for a moment the questions that you would like answered. I bet you're really interested anytime you see anything offering the answer. Imagine your question is 'Is there an easier way to get to work?'. You might express it as 'I wish there was an easier way to get to work'. But it means the same thing. You see a headline that says 'New Easy Way To Get To (where you work)'. Would you be curious? Of course you would.

So it makes sense to ask yourself what questions your target customer has which you can provide the answer. Then construct your headline as the answer.


Customers question
'What can I buy for my wife's birthday present?'
Your item
A quality ladies wristwatch
Your headline
'Just What The Lady Wants - Quality Wrist Watch'

Customers question
'How can I study less and still remember?'

Your item
A new way to study faster and remember everything
Your headline
'New Way - Study Faster and Remember Everything'

Customers question
'What can I sell on Ebay?'
Your item
A guide on what to buy and where to find these items at car boot sales
Your headline
'What To Buy and Where To Find Saleable Ebay Items'

Customers question
'I'd write and sell ebooks but don't know how'
Your item
A simple way to write an ebook
Your headline
'The Easy Way To Write A Saleable Ebook'

Peoples questions often begin with How, Which, Who, Where, When, What and Why.

Ebay Scams To Watch Out For

There are many eBay scams out there to keep an eye out for when you are selling on eBay. This article will cover a few of the known and not so known scams to be aware of. Whether you’re a causal seller, or a professional seller on eBay, you need to know about these scams so that you can take measures to prevent or recognize if it’s happening to you.

Bid Shielding
This scam is something you need to watch out for as a seller on eBay. Basically the scam is run using two separate eBay accounts. The scam works like this. You put your item up for auction. Let’s say your item is worth $100 and you have no reserve. The first bidder (scammer) comes along and bids $5 on your item. Right after that, another bidder working with the first bidder comes along and bids $200 on your item. Since your item is only worth $100, you receive no more bids for the duration of your auction. Right before your auction ends, the first bidder backs out and cancels their bid, leaving the $5 bidder the winner, effectively shielding all other potential bidders because of the $200 bid.

Because of the potential for this scam it is always good to have a reserve on your auction. Also, I would put some sort of disclaimer on your auction stating that if you suspect bid shielding on your auction, you reserve the right to back out of the sale. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your auctions and watch for this type of behavior. If you suspect this is happening to you, be sure to report the parties involved to eBay right away.

Wholesale List Scam
This scam takes advantage of the fact that many people don’t pay close attention or read the fine print on an auction. This scam is targeted at buyers who are looking for deals on electronics and technological items on eBay. The wholesale list scam is basically an auction that looks like the seller is offering a great deal on a product like an iPod for example. They may have a buy now price of $40 for an iPod that is worth $150. However, if you actually read the fine print on the auction, you will find that you are not really buying the iPod. In fact you are purchasing a wholesale list.

To avoid this scam, just be sure that you read the entire details of the auction before making a bid or a purchase. Basically, just use common sense. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is, so read the auction carefully.

Bad Check Scam
This eBay scam is exactly what it sounds like. The bad check scam is simple. Someone purchases your item and sends you a check as payment. You receive the check, and send out the item. However, 2 weeks later you find out the check bounces and now you are out your item and the money.

To avoid this, simply do not send out any products until the check has cleared.

Spoof eBay Emails
This eBay scam is an attempt to get your personal information and/or eBay account information. Basically the scammer sends you an email that looks like it’s from eBay. The email may direct you to a website (that also looks like eBay) where it asks to you verify your information. In reality, the website is created by the scammer to collect your personal information and use it for identity theft. The scammers can be very tricky and make everything look very official.

To avoid this scam, you need to be wary of any emails that you get. The first thing you need to check is the email header. Emails from eBay, will have “@ebay.com” as the last part of the senders email. Also any links that are in the email may be directing you somewhere other than where they say they are. Also copy and paste the links into your browser, and only visit official links that start with “www.ebay.com”. If anything seems suspicious to you, forward the email to eBay and wait for their response. They will let you know if it’s legitimate or not.

In conclusion, most people you run into on eBay are good honest people and not out to scam you. You may do business on eBay for years and never run into any of this. However, occasionally these things do happen so it’s important to use common sense and use your best judgment when it comes to this stuff. Just be aware that it can happen, and take the necessary precautions and you will be fine. There’s a lot of money to be made on eBay, so don’t let anything scare you off. Keep yourself armed with knowledge and information and you will be successful out there in the auction world!