Marketing seems like an abstract concept at times. How do you KNOW it’s working? How do you KNOW that more people are interested than before? How do you KNOW you’re making more money directly from the marketing? Well, it may sound strange, but eBay will give you real world examples of marketing principles in action if you know what to look for.
#1: MAKE YOUR ITEM FINDABLE
This tip is first on my list for a reason. If no one can find your item on eBay, then no one’s going to buy it – period. The same goes for your marketing strategies!
eBay’s search bar is a perfect analogy for a Web-wide search bar such as Google or Yahoo. You want as many people to find your item as possible. So that means Keyword Optimization. You don’t want to put a guitar on sale as “guitar.” That’s oversimplifying it, but if someone’s looking for a specific guitar, even if it’s the same as yours, they’ll never find it because the search term isn’t found in your title. A good rule of thumb is to get as many relevant keywords in the title as you can (without going overboard).
#2: DESCRIBE YOUR ITEM IN DEPTH
Going back to the guitar example: if your description for the guitar you’re selling just says “Nice guitar. Plays well,” then you’ve just lost your chance to tell people WHY they should buy your item. If two eBay items are identical except that one has a great description that doesn’t make me wonder what I’m getting into, then that one will be the one that sells.
#3: SHOWCASE YOUR ITEM
There’s nothing like dark, blurry, and incomplete pictures to send buyers running. If I want to buy that guitar, then I want to clearly see what the whole thing looks like (in good light) so that I know you’re not trying to hide anything. Similarly, I probably won’t buy anything from you if your site is littered with poor-quality pictures or if it lacks pictures in the first place. Back up your claims by showcasing your products and your clients will thank you for it!
I bring up these 3 things because I know to avoid them as a regular eBay seller. You can search previous items and see what they sold for and it becomes pretty obvious why two exact items sell for such different prices. eBay also shows you statistics of how many visits and “watchers” each of your items has. Sometimes just a refreshed title can be enough to attract more visits.
As a buyer, this is a whole different story. These seller mistakes can work to your advantage. I was looking for a “ESP LTD EC-400 GUITAR” one day, and I accidentally hit enter after just “ESP” and the first result was “ESP GUITAR.” Well I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the exact guitar I was looking for. But there were no really good pictures, hardly any description, and of course the title left a lot to be desired.
eBay protects their buyers from getting ripped off by ensuring refunds for items that aren’t as advertised, so I decided to chance it and ended up getting the guitar for around half of what others like it had sold for. Now, anytime I’m looking to get a steal on something, I’ll look for a lack of the three criteria I mentioned above. I’ll search the most general term I can think of and filter the results with the on-site tools, and every now and then I’ll get a ridiculously low price on something. If the pictures and description are lacking, my chances are even better.
What’s the lesson? Don’t keep your business below the radar with poor descriptions, optimization, or photos. Step up your game and you could be a power seller in your industry!
So head to your favorite browser, pull up eBay’s site, and see if you can learn from eBay sellers’ mistakes and successes. Can you think of any other parallels between eBay listings and online marketing fundamentals?