Gaining customers for life that trust your business

Any successful business has built a following, and most of them have grown slowly over time. Those ones that rise quickly usually don’t have much of a following, and sink as fast as they rise. On Ebay, the same sentiment is true. If you have a big following, you can grow slowly over time and become a presence on the Ebay site (and off).

Photo right of followers courtesy of marfis75 on flickr.

There are several tools available to you that you can take advantage of to start a “following,” but first, you need to have a passion for whatever it is that you sell. Enthusiasm will win every time. If you don’t like what you sell, it will eventually catch up with you, and you’ll fizzle out.  For those of you that know your niche, keep reading.

Yes, Ebay does provide you with some great tools to promote your store, but you need to know how to use them and you have to have a goal in mind. Let’s take the blog format for example. Ebay provides sellers with blogs attached right to their profile page, and these are indexed fast by Google. Like any type of online writing, you need inject some personality into the post to make it appealing and fun to read. It also has to be optimized for search engines, which is actually not hard. Blog consistently about products that you sell, and you’ll not only start seeing some search engine traffic, but you’ll see develop some connections with other Ebay sellers. All Ebay blog posts are posted to a main page, http://blogs.ebay.com/. You’ll have your chance to have a post right on this PageRank 5 site. Post daily, post whenever you can, just keep posting, and you’ll see results. The main thing is don’t quit.

Update: The ebay blog feature is now defunct. Instead, strongly consider starting your own blog and promoting your items there.

The forums are another niche area you can offer up your expertise and network with other sellers. If you sell antiques, buyers might have questions about some antique clocks that you can answer. You might not be gaining a sale right then, but do this over and over for a period of time, and you’ll gain a reputation. You’ll also have your signature link to your store in every post, a good opportunity for traffic.

The Ebay Guides section also allows you to spout off about whatever your an expert at, and link back to your store. Do buyers have questions — the same questions — over and over again? A guide to answer their questions might be just the thing you need (plus you’ll get a backlink to your store!). You can also make as many guides as you want. These, like the blogs, are indexed well by Google and have a lot of respect in the search engines.

Next, you’re going to want to make your store just as spiffy as all of your Guides, forum posts, and blog posts. Use those free custom pages Ebay gives you. Fill out the header of your store and tell everyone what exactly you sell. Make it easy for them to navigate around your store, and make it easy for them to sign up for your store newsletter (link to it in every auction).

Speaking of auctions, that’s one of the most important parts to your success. Running auctions dependably at certain times every week can also bring you a following. A store selling discount shoes that always sells a big batch of shoes on Fridays starting at noontime will soon develop a following of customers that are hungry for these buys every week.. but only if they do it consistently, and they continue to advertise this fact.

Now that you’ve blogged, built your guides, started posting in forums, and run auctions every week, it’s time to link all of them together. Actually, do this at the first chance you get. Networking all of these pages together will create more links, more traffic, and make your presence bigger. One tip: link related things for the best results, not random stuff.