How To Be Successful On eBay!

by Paul Wilson


ebay-logoThere seems to be a lot of top 10 lists popping up on the web these days. I think our attention span with the Internet is so low that anything longer than 10 bullets is seen on the same level as War and Peace.

The other day I came across a top 10 list which listed the best ways to make money off of the Internet. Number one on the list was eBay.

I honestly don’t believe that eBay holds the luster it once had. It seems that these days eBay is more like junk bay. Occasionally there are good deals; or once in a great while you can sell something and make an extra buck; but the amount of effort one puts into it doesn’t seem worth it.

Six or seven years back I was an eBay junkie. I couldn’t get enough of the wheeling and dealing found on the site. In fact, I was so into it that I had several companies use my service to just work on their auctions.

So for those of you who still haven’t lost the faith in eBay here’s my top 10 list 8) of how to do eBay right:

(10) Use eBay as a marketing tool. Believe it or not eBay is a great resource in building your company’s name. I did auctions for a paper company that really understood this principle. They often would allow people to get great deals through eBay so that people became familiar with their products. It’s very rare that your website will get more traffic then eBay!

(9) Be familiar with eBay’s rules. There’s nothing more frustrating than putting a lot of hard work into an auction and having eBay shutting you down with no recourse. Unfortunately, I learned this hard lesson when I tried to help a friend sell his extra military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). Did you know that eBay doesn’t allow you to sell MREs? Neither did we! Instead of getting our hands slapped, we had are account suspended. No matter how hard we tried we never did get that account re-instated.

(8) Good drop shippers rarely exist. I find that most people starting out turn to drop shippers for an easy way to sell on eBay. I am sure that there are some individuals that do really well with this method, but more often than not you are competing with the exact people who are shipping your products. If you really want to succeed on eBay find and ship your own products. You will make more money cutting out the middle man.

7) Provide quality products. As with most businesses success comes from quality. For some reason I feel a lot of sellers miss this point on eBay today. I remember reading in Jim Collins book “Good To Great” that either be the best at something or don’t do it at all. Why try to make money off of something that is mediocre or not worthy of your time and attention. If you are doing digital downloads (which I recommend) please do us all a favor and not resell books that have already given the reselling rights to everyone and their dog!

(6) Utilize the paid section. This may not always be possible or profitable, but if you have enough margins pay the money to be in the paid section of the search listings. It is a sound marketing principle to understand that the more visibility you have the more likely people are going to bid on your auction.

(5) Pictures, pictures, pictures. I am constantly amazed how many auctions I see without pictures. Mostly it is the pictures within the search listings that people feel that they don’t need. I rarely click on a listing if it doesn’t have a picture. Spend the small amount of money it takes to add a picture. I promise this will help you significantly.

(4) Even more pictures, pictures, and picture. Focus on the quality of your pictures. Really people don’t realize how far a good picture can go. With eBay you need to work to stay ahead of your competition. Creating professional looking pictures help you in this endeavor. I had a good friend who spent an afternoon creating what he called his “eBay room.” He bought a light gray paint and painted two connecting walls with this color. He found that the gray helped bring out the features in the different items he sold. It also made sure that nothing was in the background to distract the eye away from what he was selling. The money is in the details.

(3) $1 no reserve. I learned this trick from a company that made $3 million a year selling on eBay. We tested both the $1 no reserve against a reserve and a minimum bidding price. Without fail the $1 no reserve auction would make more money than the other methods. We concluded that this technique got people to start bidding, which created a want for the item they were bidding on. If you feel that you have to have a reserve or minimum bid than I think you are selling the wrong item.

(2) Research your title and category. When a user searches on eBay the title and category play an important role. Keyword research is vital with the title. Try to use multiple words that people will use to search for your item. Use Google’s keyword research tools to see how often people search words (searching on eBay and searching on Google are not too much different). If you can, try to put your item in as many categories that are appropriate. People use the directory almost as much as they use the search function on eBay.

(1) Focus on creating great auction write ups. One of the greatest advantages I had on my competition was the detail I gave to my auction write ups. I was extremely detailed and usually wrote anywhere from 500 to 600 words per auction. This takes time, particularly if you pay attention to your keyword research. However, if you have a high ticket item this really pays off. I wrote item descriptions for an antique company. I would go into great detail describing the history and style of the item. This gave me the opportunity to add a lot of keywords I normally would not have been able to get in otherwise. Doing this makes it so that you are found easier. It also does a great job in helping convince the buyer that your product is superior over your competition (even though they might be exactly the same).

I am sure that there are many other things that could be added to this list. These tips, however, helped me to be successful on eBay. I also recommend that if you are really serious about making eBay a source of income to find a good ebook. I promise you that there are no shortages in eBay ebooks.

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