Grow Your Ebay Store and Generate Traffic Through Online Content
Having the perfect inventory of items for your Ebay store is only half the battle to find sales and run a successful business. To grow your sales, you need to encourage visits from inside Ebay, and off of Ebay! Developing a web presence online can increase your store traffic considerably, boost your sales, and grow your business. You can acheive this goal by creating useful content for your potential buyers in many places on Ebay, as well as other free sites on the web. That’s another great part about generating web traffic to your store — it can be entirely free!
This page aims to help you with your Ebay marketing strategies. While marketing your auctions on the site itself is an entirely separate task, linking to your store and driving traffic is another. You’ll find that the tactics are much like any other internet marketing campaign: create a buzz, write articles, and provide useful content to potential buyers. There’s a small catch: you’ll want to make sure that you are targeting people who are interested in your products, not random readers. Read below for some ideas on getting started.
How to Get Search Engines to Notice Your Ebay Store
Before you start your traffic campaign, you should think about where traffic will be coming from. There’s an old saying that says something about putting too many eggs in one basket.. and that’s especially relevant concerning Ebay stores. Don’t put all of your marketing into the Ebay site itself. There are hundreds of other places to market your store outside of Ebay to pull in traffic and links. Links will not only bring in traffic, but will initiate search engine traffic.
Here’s how Search Engine Optimization Works, in a nutshell…
The more links that point to your Ebay store, the better your chances are for ranking on the first page for a certain term. The words that are on your Ebay store home page matter the most, along with the link text that other sites use when linking to you. Think of links like votes. The more votes for your site, the better. Quality also matters when linking. An authoritative, high profile site link matters much more than a link from a brand new, low traffic site.
So here’s your mission: Get as many high quality links to your Ebay store as possible! You may also want to consider hosting your own website outside of Ebay. Many have much better luck in terms of search engine traffic, and you won’t be limited to Ebay’s five custom pages. ProStores is a good option, which allows you to customize your store professionally and quickly.
How Buyers Find Your Ebay Store
There are a few different breadcrumb trails that buyers will follow to get to your store. The first one is through an auction. When a buyer clicks on an auction, they might click on the red door next to your User ID, then enter your store. They could also find you through an external link (a link outside of Ebay), from one of your own blogs, someone else’s blog, a website, Pinterest, Facebook, a forum, or any other web page. Buyers might also find your store through search engines. This takes some work, but once you get search engine traffic, this can be your biggest source of customers! Lastly, buyers can find your store through paid searches, or pay per click campaigns (PPC). This last option takes a large amount of research, trial, and error. If you don’t know what you’re doing with PPC, skip this one until much later. There are free sources of traffic that can provide great results.
Ebay logo photo by liewcf under Creative Commons License 2.0
Linking from Your Ebay Auctions
Setting up an Ebay store doesn’t meant that you can forego the auction format. Auctions provide huge traffic, if properly utilized. Learn how to optimize your Ebay listings to make the best of them, and then you can start including links in your auctions to drive traffic into your store.
For the best results, have plenty of well placed links within your auction. Link at the beginning of your auction, the end, and in your listing frame (an option only available to Ebay store subscribers). Use HTML do encourage clicks. Use bold tags, or even make a clickable image.
A profitable strategy to drag in buyers is to provide the same item you are selling on auction at a lower price, or lower shipping rate, in your store. Advertise that fact in your auctions. Take advantage of Auctiva’s store window, which displays your items in a self-updating window at the top or bottom of your listings. I suggest placing it at the top. Why? Completed Ebay listings still show up in Ebay search results and in search engines and can provide traffic to your store!
Another method to attract traffic to your store is through a loss leader item. This works best if your store has a niche, selling one specific type of item. This “loss leader” is not meant to be profitable, but to pull in traffic from Ebay to your store. Many sellers start a high priced item at a very low price, encouraging traffic, watchers, bids and excitement .. and hopefully traffic to your store! Try this technique when you can afford to do it, and start off small.
Other Places to Get Links on Ebay
Ebay auctions aren’t the only place to pull traffic and gain a link. There are other areas of the website, listed below, which will assist you in getting valuable, traffic funneling links throughout the site.
Link from your Ebay Guides and Reviews
Another effective traffic source Ebay provides is the Ebay Guides and Reviews section. Do you sell one brand of product on a consistent basis? Or a certain book or movie? Review it using these quick guides, and you’ll have the benefit of having a link to your profile and store right next to it! Even better than the reviews are the guides. These are the perfect way to advertise your store in a subtle way. You can link in your guide to anywhere on Ebay. Take advantage and link to your store, your other guides, and sections of your store!
Here are some ideas for guides to create:
- A resource for your buyers on clothing sizes
- Authenticity guide for items that you sell
- A history on the background of a company (best if you sell their products!)
- Get very specific and target a deep niche, such as “buying high quality kids football equipment on Ebay.”
There’s an endless amount of topics that you could cover. Try to work your Ebay store and items into your guide. Also, use the “headings” Ebay provides you with for the best search engine optimization.
Linking from your About ME Page
Your About ME Page is like one big advertisment for your store. Really sell yourself, provide details about your expertise, your policies, pictures of the items you sell, and links to specific pages within your store. Also, link to your guides, will help showcase your expertise in your niche.
Why Niches are Important for Ebay Stores
What are you good at? Where does your expertise lie, and what do you love doing? This might be a goodfocal point for your Ebay store. If you love the items you are selling, you can provide lots of facts, and properly advertise and educate the buyers about the product. When you’re passionate about your items, it comes across to the buyers. Buyers love information, and if you can provide that, you might have just gained a repeat buyer. If you sell random stuff all the time, you’re chances of newsletter signups, repeat buyers, and word of mouth marketing decreases (never understimate the power of word of mouth marketing!).
A niche theme in your Ebay store will also attract more attention from search engines, and will be easier to advertise. Here are some good examples of niche stores:
- Vintage cameras
- Pre-owned computers
- Handmade clothing and crafts
- Antique magazines
- New authentic handbags
- Framed posters
- Seeds for gardens
- Kids sports equipment
Linking from Ebay Forums
Links from Ebay forums might be nofollow, but they do provide some traffic. Post in forums that buyers frequently visit (think buyers, not sellers!), and provide buyers with help in categories that you sell in. Observe Ebay’s policies on signature linking, don’t spam, and be helpful without being overly promotional, and you’ll have a small flow of traffic to your store. Be persuasive in your signature, and use an image that’s captivating to buyers (like a medley of your Ebay items, along with an attractive tagline) that’s clickable.
Blog Outside of Ebay
Starting your own blog outside of Ebay couldn’t be easier. Blogs are quickly indexed by search engines, and provide a great way to showcase all of your unique Ebay items. Blogging works best if you keep the blog updated often, and have lengthy, informative posts with catchy, keyword rich titles. To gain even more traffic to your blog, network out and leave useful comments on other bloggers’ blogs, and add them to your own blogroll if they’re relevant to your own. There are many free blog services, but you’ll need to read their terms of service to see if they allow self promotion. Many do not, and can remove your blog without warning if you have violated their TOS. For only around $100 year, you can host your own blog without worrying about having it ripped down, and you’ll have complete creative control over your content.
Utilizing Ebay’s Custom Store Pages
You’ve probably heard the expression “content is king” before. With your custom pages, this is just the case. If you sell clothing, good ideas for one of your Custom Pages would be “womens clothing,” “mens clothing,” “kids clothing,” or “baby clothing.” Keep in mind you can use your own HTML to make these pages look more interesting and attractive! Ebay continues to increase the number of custom pages allowed in stores, so do take advantage.
Use Social Networking Sites to Increase Ebay Traffic
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are great ways to increase your online presence and to make your Ebay brand more recognizable throughout the web. Consider setting up a fan page on Facebook for your store, and a customized Facebook page. These sites work best if you can can keep self promotion to a minimum, while placing your link on your own bio.
Twitter just might be the perfect place to market your Ebay items. Network with Twitter users that are interested in your niche, and follow them (hopefully they will follow you back!). Tweet once or twice daily, and participate in conversations with others in your field. When it’s time for them to buy, they just might remember you!
There’s also YouTube, LinkedIn, and a host of other networking sites that you can work your way into. Concentrate on a small handful and spread out your presence and you’ll be rewarded with a steady flow of traffic, as long as you stay active in these communities.
Email Links and Newsletter Marketing
Ebay provides you with a certain number of free email newsletters for your subscribers. This is free advertising (or at least it is included with your subscription fee), so take advantage! Build your newsletter list by placing links in all of your auctions to sign up, and remind your buyers with a customized message upon checkout. To encourage buyers to click through your email, offer an incentive to visit, and a reason to read your newsletter. Try offering tips, information, and occasionally hold a contest to hold their attention. Another hint: the title of your email is the the most important part of your email. Create an appealing title that isn’t deceptive, yet makes them want to open the email for the best open rate. Here are some ideas for useful newsletter content, inside of your email:
- Advertise your clearance sales
- Provide a downloadable calendar for the upcoming year with your own URL on the calender
- Offer a seasonal recipe in your newsletter
- Hold an interactive promotion that gets your readers interested, and encourages them to visit your store
- Provide email only content, that they can only find in your emails. You can always publish that content a month or so down the line on your blog, website, or elsewhere.
- Champion a charity cause, and donate a percentage of your Ebay items that week to a charity
Where to NOT Get Links
You’ll want to avoid linking to certain places, and avoid having your link placed on certain sites. Any site that involves traffic exchanges stay far away from. Google penalizes many sites that participate in these. Avoid X-Rated site links, as well as any site that offers downloads to music. Use your common sense with these sites and trust your gut on where your links are appropriate! Forum spamming is another thing you’ll want to stay away from. Your reputation is important, keep it looking good.
One final note: This is a marketing campaign, so it’s going to take some effort on your part. It’s going to involve a lot of writing, maybe even on a daily basis. While it won’t pay off immediately, it should see results if you continue to blog and link to your store. Also, Ebay Partner Network is a little bit picky about who it selects for its program. Your best chance for getting approved is to have your own website on its own domain (don’t use Blogger or Hubpages as the domain you provide in your account information). It seems they are looking for original content, not random articles on web 2.0 websites, though once approved you can add your EPN affiliate account to Hubpages so you can start earning. Start blogging once you have your domain set up and it has some content, then apply. You’ll have a much better chance of getting approved this way. The more content, the better off you’ll be, and the more search engine traffic you’ll draw to your website. This in turn will increase your sales, and the online marketing itself, through Ebay affiliate links, could turn into an additional form of income for you.