In the second installment of this series we focused on steps you need to take to set up an eBay auction site. In this third part we are going to offer some basic advice on how to make your eBay business successful, so that it has the chance to not only survive but to thrive.

Looking and Sounding Good:

In order to attract as many buyers as possible and get the most bang for your buck, you've got to present your items in an appealing fashion with strong copy that tells consumers the features and benefits of what you're selling.

When listing an item for auction, if you are providing a photograph you want to be sure that it is an attractive and accurate image of what you're offering (also consider using video, a video of your product is going to be the next big eBay thing, eBay already supports video in your auctions). Likewise, the words that you use to describe the article must capture the focus of the buyer and retain their attention.

Be sure to list the features of the item you're selling and its benefits. As an example, if you're selling a rug and upholstery steam cleaner, here are the features and across from each the benefit.

Feature                         Benefit

Dual water tanks              You can add water to the machine while it is in operation - saves time.

Extra powerful motor         Lift out more dirt.

Digital readouts                Easier to read - More accurate.

People may be attracted to features but they buy benefits.

Competing for Attention:

There are a lot of people trying to sell a wealth of items on eBay. That means that you want to stand out and do everything that you can to get as much positive attention as you can. Here are some things to consider when eBay is concerned.

  • When to List: when you're about to put an item up for auction, search to see if the same or similar articles are already up for bid. If there are a lot of them, that could mean an excessive amount of competition. Check out when those auctions are going to close and plan to list your merchandise after your competitors have closed. Additionally, research similar or the same items that have closed to see how much they sold for and how the seller described them. Analyze which merchants are best at selling and determine why. Each product line will have its own selling points and strengths, identifying them will make a big difference to your success rate.
  • Headlines: list your items for sale with the proper headline. You need to create a headline with the right search words or your merchandize will go unnoticed. If you're selling a steam vacuum, you don't want to list it as a 'mop.' People looking for steam cleaners will never hit upon your page, but someone looking for a mop would. Consider what words, concepts or actions are normally associated with your item. Search for synonyms and use keyword suggestion tools to identify the most searched keywords. Finally review our article on getting top rankings in search engines for your eBay auctions.
  • About Us: on eBay you'll have an 'About Us' page where you can tell potential buyers something about yourself and your business. Keep it friendly but not familiar. Try to make some common points of contact with the buyer. And most importantly, link from here to your website (the 'About me' page is the only page on eBay where you can link to your website without breaching eBay terms of service. We therefore recommend you link from this page to your website in a prominent manner).
  • Net Connections: make your own online connection by setting up other pages that link to your eBay auction page. AOL, Yahoo, Personal Web, and many more sites provide you with a basic web presence. These pages can include information about your products, company and policies. Each page should have a link to your eBay auction site. Also consider promoting individual auctions through pay per click.

It is extremely important that your listings look attractive and are described in a dynamic manner. If you are a poor writer or photographer, you may want to enlist someone's help. If you look and sound good, you'll have a much better chance of garnering a high price for your merchandise. And always remember that purchases are the end result of a combinations of factors (some of which have been described above), and not of price alone. In part 4, we will review the different types of auctions that are run on eBay.