You've now got a beautiful listing. You've followed our advice in eBay Listing Secrets – Part I and designed a fabulous template, then added lots of great photos. Now what? Now you have to build in credibility, convenience and fresh, interesting elements. In this second part of eBay Listing Secrets we'll discuss how to use your hosting account to make rapid changes to your listings, add credibility-building features, and keep your listings fresh and interesting.
Your hosting account is vital to your success
As we emphasised in eBay Listing Secrets – Part I, it's very important to establish and use a hosting account to manage your headlines, images, captions and so on. Here's why.
Now you control all of the pictures and text that you use. If you use material that is hosted by someone else, such as a picture hosting site, those images may change or may in fact disappear without notice. They sometimes also contain advertising.
If you have many listings in a category and have inserted an overview picture into each listing, it can be very time consuming to change that image when you need to update it or substitute it. If you have used a picture from your hosting account (rather than a picture hosted on a third party site), you only have to change your hosting site file and all of the listings are updated at the same time.
NOTE: consider creating a set of images for each product you resell. For example, if you resell Diesel Jeans and Armani Jeans, use two separate sets of images for the two groups. This way if you want to change all the Diesel Jeans listings you can do so without affecting the Armani listings.
If you don't yet have a web hosting account, you can get a domain name and get hosted on 1&1 for as little as £24/yr (that's £2/month including a domain name) or on UK2.net for as little as £48/year (that's £4/month) also including a database, £20 free credits for Google Adwords, 3Gb of webspace and plenty of monthly bandwidth (up to 100GB).
Everything depends on your title. You have 55 characters to make your case. eBay places greater emphasis on the first few words so make sure you have chosen those words to have the greatest impact.
Keep in mind that the word 'new' is always an attention getter. Once you have an appealing title developed, you can use the heading to continue the main idea of the title and instantly give benefits.
Use graphical headlines
The main advantage of creating your auction headlines as graphics is that you can easily tweak your eBay listings without needing to cancel the auction. By simply changing the image on your hosting account, your eBay listing headline will get automatically updated. This will allow you to test the effectiveness of different headlines in a very short time, without needing to wait for the auction to end before you can test a new headline.
Also graphical headlines are eye catching, and help keep your users engaged in your listing. You can easily create text headlines with any graphics program, including Paint (if you have Windows Vista installed on your computer, MS Paint is a much improved basic graphic editor compared to the Windows XP version). When creating your graphic headlines, remember to use legible text, try not to go too wild with your choice of font. Remember that your main objective remains to describe the product clearly and convert visitors to sales.
The only disadvantage of graphic headlines is that the graphic replaces text. When users search for items on eBay, eBay searches the text in the auction listings to determine which results to return. If you replace text with a graphic you may run the risk of missing out on eBay search traffic. This can be easily overcome by ensuring that you include your main keywords as plain text within your auction description.
Use the right font
You may be tempted to use fancy fonts for your listing's text. Please be aware that, unless the font you are using is installed on the visitor's computer, he/she will see the font very differently to how you see it on your computer. Safe fonts to use are Arial, Verdana and sans-serif, because they are installed in virtually all computers. If you must use fancy fonts, consider creating a graphic of the fancy font text you need to use.
Keep your listings fresh with seasonal or other elements
People really appreciate small touches that create connections. Use well known events, holidays or other catalysts as part of your listing. Upload pictures of beach umbrellas and sunglasses during the summer months. Switch to autumn leaves when September comes.
Use bolding or color for key sentences, phrases or words. The reader will pick up that text while scanning the page.
Don't use too much text. Readers tend to bypass pages that are too dense with text. Keep length to 300 words or less in three to six paragraphs. Add a bit of space between lines (1.2 spacing) and skip a line between paragraphs.
People always worry about being scammed when they buy online. One of the best ways to establish credibility is to display your feedback ratings within your listing. Although it's certainly possible for a buyer to check out your full eBay feedback by going to your feedback page, you can make it simpler for them by adding a feedback box to your listing. Plus, when you display feedback directly in your listing, you can display your preferred selection of feedback comments. You can also group your feedback by items sold, to give your buyer a better picture of the type of comments received for a specific item. To do this, create another folder called 'feedback' on your hosting website. Store feedback snippets labeled with a similar coding system. Use the URL technique to add or change feedback in your template. Remember to update feedback comments regularly to keep content fresh.
You should also consider creating an About Me page on eBay, where you can also add a customised feedback box.
Now that you've attracted a potential buyer to your listing, don't just sell them one item, sell as many as you can.
Link to your eBay Store
One of the best ways to maximise your potential sales is to add links to your eBay store by using links to your store in all of your listings. You can either advertise your store generically, or better you can make your eBay store offers more attractive, by adding relevant, complimentary links such as displaying images of beach bags and sunglasses on your listing pages for bathing suits. Relevance will always result in higher and larger sales, more often.
Don't show just a text link to your eBay store. Use a graphic link to catch the eye and help the user make a positive connection that leads to clicking onto your store site. Consider adding a graphic next to your eBay store link for higher impact. Don't place your store links on the bottom of the page. Be sure the link is visible without scrolling.
Another good multiplying strategy is to bundle items, especially consumables such as ink cartridges, film, batteries and so on. Offer a deal such as “buy three, get one free” or “Free shipping on multiple purchases”.
Reserve a space for special announcements
Create a one pixel by one pixel image and upload it to your hosting account. Reference to this image in your auction listing's html, without specifying the width and height of this image. Then, whenever you want to add something to your listing such as a delay in shipping or a special deal of the day, replace the white pixel file with an image of whatever announcement you want to make. Change it back when you're done.
IMPORTANT: For this technique to work, remember not to use just one 1x1 pixel image for all your listings. Instead create one 1x1 image for each type of announcement you are likely to need.
Using some extra care and attention as well as a few efficiency tricks can make the difference between being a low or average eBay seller and a powerful and profitable eBay seller.
In Part III we will discuss the importance of identifying a unique selling point for your eBay shop and listings.