Grow Your Ebay Sales: Make More Money Through Marketing, Keywords, and Photography
Wondering how to make more money on Ebay? The answer may be just under your nose. Ebay is one of the best places to make a living online, but the site isn’t static. The marketplace shifts not monthly, weekly, or hourly, but by the minute. Growing your Ebay business can be a challenge. There’s marketing, keywords, photography, and maintaining a feedback score all to take into consideration, not to mention costs, fees, and competitors. This means that you have to have a presence in as many places as possible, and raise your profile as high as you can. This process will involve utilizing keywords correctly, taking more professional photos, and claiming your own piece of the web outside of Ebay to promote your business.
Once you’ve passed the newbie stage of a seller on Ebay, you may decide that you want to sell on ebay more seriously. To make things clear from the beginning, you cannot rely on ebay to promote your store. There is little exposure for your store, and it’s up to you to get your business seen, just like any other type of business. There are a few things to think about when opening your store:
- Where will you be getting your inventory? Can you get the same items over and over, and how much competition do you have?
- Have you calculated how much the listing fees will be for your store, including feature fees and subscriptions?
- Ebay stores do not circumvent auctions. Stores supplement auctions, not the other way around. Ebay has and always will be an auction site (we hope!)
- Do you have a plan in place to advertise your store?
- Are you ready to commit your valuable time towards this venture? It’s very time consuming, but can be very rewarding.
Choosing the Best Keywords to Improve your Ebay Sales
eBay’s keyword title is the most important part of your auction being found online, on ebay or off ebay. You have 80 characters to use for each auction in the title, so choose them wisely (previously it was 55, so it’s a little less hard now).
And that subtitle box? Well, that costs an extra 50 cents, but if you have a high priced item, it might be worth it. However, the subtitle has nothing to do with buyers finding your item through the ebay search.Great titles simply lead to better ending prices.
Before you list any item, check the completed listings of similar items. What keyword titles are they using for their auctions? If the seller is using certain words to attract attention to an item and is having great success, maybe you should give it a try. You need to get very specific with your title, and you may even want to lose the abbreviations. Abbreviations on ebay are often overused. What’s “NIB” mean anyway? That means “new in box,” but how would a new customer know that? The word “new” would be a much more universal and searched word to use.
Choose the Right Items to Sell on Ebay
There are millions of ebay sellers that you will be competing with, and perhaps befriending along the way. But let’s face it — you’re not in it to make friends, you’re in this to make money! That being said, you really need to focus on where you will be getting your inventory and what you’ll be selling.
So…where do Ebay sellers find their inventory?
They find their inventory in a number of places. They’ll find them in their local Wal-Mart. They’ll find them from a liquidation company. They might even get them at yard sales or boutiques, depending on what your niche is. Have you considered any of these options?
- Thrift stores like Salvation Army
- Wholesalers (be careful about this! Many people claim to be wholesalers and are not)
- Garage sales
- Church sales
- ebay (yup, ebay!)
- Manufacturers (go straight to the root!)
- Outlet and discount stores
- Or, you can make items yourself!
Sellers find their inventory everywhere, you just need to know the type of buyer that is interested in your product. Then, think about where you might be able to find these items, whether those are collectibles or gently used clothing. Think about all the possible places that these items might end up after manufacturing.
Making your ebay items stand out from the crowd
When a buyer searches for an item on ebay, the first thing they see is the gallery photo of the items. Item upon item, they can all look the same. What is setting your photo apart from the millions of others out there? Your gallery photo should be pleasing to look at, and just what the buyer is looking for. This means you’ll need to take your own photos, and take good photos of your Ebay products. Avoid stock photos like the plague and take your own. You can get more recognition and traffic if you use your own photos.
To take a great photo, you need the right equipment. A camera with a manual focus lens (or one that has automatic and manual lens focus options) is a must. You also will be rarely using your flash, so you need some good lighting. Add a large clean white sheet to your list, as well as a photo editing program. You can use GIMP if you don’t feel like paying for Photoshop or Paint Shop.
Taking Pictures of your Ebay Items at Home
I sold many items on ebay and never had a real “studio” area set up, and the pictures managed to come out very well. This technique is perfect if you have limited space to work with, as the setup can be put away quickly.
- Find a large white bedsheet that is wrinkle free, along with a couch or wide chair.
- Spread the sheet over the chair/couch and smooth it out completely, hanging the sheet over the backside of the couch/chair.
- If you have overhead lighting, turn it on. This will work best right underneath the light.
- Any lamps in your house can be used to light the peripherals of the object on the left and right. Take off the lampshade, or use desklamps and point them towards the object.
- Position the item on the sheet in a flattering manner. Usually, items taken at an angle while holding the camera at the same level as the object looks desirable.
- Focus in on the object, take pictures of all aspects, inside, outside, tags, defects, details, labels, warranties, everything.
- Upload your photos to your computer.
Save Money on your Ebay Listings by Uploading your Own Photos
Next, you’ll want to upload your photos. There are hundreds of free photo hosting websites. I used Photobucket since they provide you with an easy to use HTML code to add to your auctions. You will definitely want to host your own photos. Using ebay’s photo hosting can get very expensive, and the size of the pictures is not big enough, so you should definitely host your own. There’s also the added benefit of getting your photos off of your computer and storing them online forever, to use down the line, organize, tag and share. Before you upload, you can edit your photos to make sure the least amount of negative space is showing in the photo as possible.
Shoppers Search by Category
Your item is listed by category on ebay for buyers to more easily search throughout the site. While with most items it is common sense which category your item will be in, some items are split down the middle in various categories. Find out what the competion is using for categories and make sure you are in there as well. Listing in the wrong category can be a costly mistake.
Should you list in two categories?
99% of the time, no. This is a costly extra feature that can double your listing fee! Only use this option if your item is very high worth, and if you are confident that your item will receive plenty of additional exposure in another category.
Using Ebay Listing Features
Ebay is well aware that buyers want to promote their items desperately, and they too, want to make as much money from buyers and sellers. Don’t be duped by some of the features that ebay has for sellers, some are downright useless and wasteful. For example, the featured listing costs $20 for your category. This is hardly ever worth the cost of the feature. You are much better off investing your $20 into your own web domain or blog.
Listing Features that are Worth the Money
Some of the features provided are genuinely helpful and can provide you with more traffic and sales. The subtitle feature is a good example. At 50 cents per item, this feature will help tell buyers more about your item right in the search results. The gallery photo should be used for every single item you sell, and is currently free.
When Are Your Buyers Buying?
When is the best time to start an Ebay auction? This is the trickiest part to making your auction work, but once you figure it out, it can yield profitable results and save you money in relisting fees. First off, know that ebay’s highest traffic night has always been Sunday night between 6pm-10pm, except on event nights like the Super Bowl, long weekends, any sporting event, or the season finale of Game of Thrones.
There are some exceptions. If you sell mostly to places internationally, consider what timezone they are in and when their prime time might be. If you sell products to a certain type of people (like stay at home mothers), these buyers may be more apt to be by the computer during the middle of the day. Plan your listings according to your buyer! Experiment and you’ll find the perfect nights to list.
Keep in mind also that Friday and Saturday nights are the slowest traffic nights on ebay.
Buying naturally slows down in most categories in the summer months as people head out to enjoy the outdoors and don’t stay on their computers as much. As fall approaches, so does the influx of ebay visitors once again.
Advertise Your Ebay Items
I can’t stress enough how you cannot rely on ebay to advertise for you. Your store receives little promotion, you need to pick up the slack yourself. If you sell only part time on ebay, promotion may only need to be links strategically placed throughout your auctions heading to your store. However, if you sell on ebay as a full time income or business, you’ll need outside advertisment.
Host your Own Store Outside of eBay
Some sellers use Adwords, but this can be costly. One of the biggest advertisments you can create is by creating your own website, seperate from your ebay store. This will provide you with more creative freedom, and won’t have restrictions or the stigma of being “just an ebay store.” You can brand your business and store better, and create as many customized pages as you would like. Prostores can allow you to do this quickly and professionally.
Advertise through Blogs
Another good way to advertise your ebay store is through blogs. While ebay has their own blogs offered to you, you can also set up your own, or use one of the free blogging services like WordPress or Blogger. Make interesting posts linking to your store and items and you will attract valuable search engine traffic.
Ebay’s Guides and Reviews section has heavy search engine weight as well. These often are lifted to the top of search results in Google, and can be written in a matter of minutes. Best of all, you can link directly to your store. Show off your expertise in your genre and bring in some traffic, and some much needed backlinks.
Keep Paying Customers Happy
Customer service is what Ebay is all about! A seller with stellar feedback scores and high DSRs will receive better exposure and a better sense of trust from new and old buyers. By keeping your paying customers happy and potential customers happy, you’ll generate more sales in the long run. Sure, taking the occasional return can be tedious, but it’s worth the hassle. It’s your reputation that’s at stake here!
Still not sure where to start in order to make more money on Ebay? These other tutorials on this blog might be of some help to you. They’re free, and they’ll help you to boost profits in no time.
- Ten Websites That Can Drive Traffic to Ebay
- How to Save Money on Ebay Fees
- What Customers Want From an Ebay Seller
- Intro photo by 401K (2012)