Direct-Marketing Your Listings to Other eBay Community Members

Q: "If I am selling something on eBay and I see the same item being offered by someone else, can I contact the bidders in that other auction and tell them about my listing?"

A: Absolutely, positively not. By approaching another seller's bidders directly, you are interfering with that other seller's auction, and if he finds out you've done that, he will raise a fuss with eBay. Believe it or not, you can actually be sued on those grounds—it's called interference with contract (or sometimes tortuous interference with contract or inducing breach of contract). Don't do it—if you've listed your item correctly on eBay, the buyers who know and collect this stuff will find you, including that other seller's bidders if your item is clearly superior to his.

Q: "If I am selling something on eBay and I see that an auction for the same item closed recently, can I contact the underbidders in that other auction and tell them about my listing?"

A: The good news is that probably would not be considered interference with contract or transaction interference (see previous listing). This might, however, violate eBay's antispamming policy (see pages.ebay.com/help/policies/ rfe-spam-ov.html), as you are sending unsolicited e-mail messages to other eBay members. If you've listed your item correctly on eBay, the buyers who know and collect this stuff will find you, including another seller's bidders if they regularly check eBay for new merchandise, as most buyers do.

Q: "When I ship stuff to winning bidders on eBay, is it okay to include some brochures and price lists for my brick-and-mortar antiques store?"

A: Absolutely yes—doing this almost certainly wouldn't violate eBay's fee circumvention policy (see pages.ebay.com/help/policies/listing-circumventing .html). Keep in mind, though, that most of your buyers will view this as junk mail, and some will think less of you and your eBay business for promoting yourself that way.

Videos and YouTube

Q: "Should I consider adding videos to my eBay listings? What are some tips for creating eye-catching videos?"

A: You absolutely should consider adding video to your eBay listings, says Cindy Shebley, eBay photography expert and producer of the DVD Add Video to eBay Auctions (ghostleg.com). "Online retailers report an average 72% increase in their sales when they add audio or video to their Websites," says Shebley, adding that "while video listings are still pretty new to eBay, there's every reason to believe you'll be just as successful as off-eBay sellers are using video."

Shebley says you don't need fancy equipment, such as a state-of-the-art video recorder, to shoot a video for eBay. "If you have a Webcam for your Internet telephone calls (such as Skype(r), which is owned by eBay), you can use that; even a cellphone or 'still' digital camera has the capacity to take short videos, which is all you need," says Shebley.

Shebley has the following tips for shooting eBay video:

• Use a tripod to stabilize your video camera, because "you don't want your viewers to get seasick."

• Shoot your eBay items indoors and control the lighting. "Use a couple of daylight balance fluorescent bulbs—the little spiral kind—and you should be okay."

Can you post your video on YouTube.com with a link to your eBay auction listing? Absolutely, says Shebley. In fact, Shebley recommends posting your video on Google, America Online (AOL), and MySpace as well—eBay is optimized for all of these. Shebley doesn't currently recommend posting your video on MSN.com, but only because the technology is in transition. "Make sure to include the URL of your eBay Store or auction listing in any video you post on YouTube or anywhere else," says Shebley.

Public Relations (PR) Strategies

Q: "How can I get more visibility on the Web for my business?"

A: According to Catherine Seda, Internet marketing expert and author of How to Win Sales & Influence Spiders (CatherineSeda.com), try press releases.

"Thanks to the Internet," says Seda, "press releases are more powerful today than ever before. Not only can the media see them, so can consumers. The press release you send out once through a newswire service can be re-published on hundreds of websites or blogs all across the web." A one-time distribution fee can range from $8o to $200 or more. Seda recommends PRWeb and Newsforce because these are low-cost services that also include search engine optimization features. "Regardless of the service you choose," advises Seda, "look for one with SEO benefits, like the ability to hyperlink keywords from within your press release to your website."

Finding More Time for Marketing

Q: "All this marketing stuff sounds great, but I don't have time to write a blog or a custom page or a Squidoo lens, because I spend all my time listing. Is there any way I can market my eBay Store and auction listings without investing a lot of time?"

A: This is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes small business owners (not just eBayers) make. Marketing is the one essential activity when you run your own business—stop doing it, and sooner or later your sales wither and die. If you're in business for yourself, 20 to 25 percent of the total time you spend on your business should be spent on marketing activities.

There are a number of ways you can free up more time for marketing, says Cindy Shebley, eBay marketing expert and Certified Education Specialist (clovercitysells.com), including the following:

• Automate as much of your eBay listings as possible, using eBay software tools such as Turbo Lister 2, Auctiva, Blackthorne, or Selling Manager Pro.

• Hire a student intern for $10 to $20 an hour to help you with your listings.

• Go to elance.com or craigslist.org and advertise for a freelance writer who can write your blog, your Squidoo lens, and other online marketing material for you. Just be sure they sign a copyright assignment, so that when you pay them, you own all of the content that appears on these pages.

• Repurpose your content as much as possible. Write an article for your blog, then change a few words and post it on your Squidoo lens, then change a few words and put it on one of your eBay Store content pages, so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel each time you sit down at the word processor.

 
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >