It doesn’t take a genius to make money on Ebay, nor does it require you to have any specialized computer knowledge. You don’t even need to be a skilled entrepreneur, because Ebay does most of the work for you. With over 1.5 billion page views per month and more than 1000 categories, they bring customers TO YOU and save you enormous advertising costs.
Your job, therefore, is to make a successful sales pitch to the customers who see your auctions, and doing that isn’t as easy as you might think. You will be competing with more than two million other Ebay sellers, many of whom are veterans at online marketing and highly knowledgeable in the niche markets found on Ebay. So how do you compete with them? The answer is simple: INFORMATION!
This manual provides you the information needed to get ahead on Ebay and gives you an instant edge over your competitors. I will provide you with insider secrets on Ebay trading that I have learned from years of online auction sales. If you read this handbook carefully – not once, but several times – and if you follow the advice set forth in these pages, you will be armed with the knowledge necessary for an extremely lucrative home-based business selling virtually anything on Ebay.
Ebay First Steps
First you must register with eBay It is a three step process.
Step one: Enter all the information that is requested and submit your application to eBay and then you will need to check your email for your confirmation number.
Step Two: Copy the confirmation number and then click on the link that will lead you to step two which will confirm your request to sign up to bid and sell on eBay.
Step three: You will need a unique name when asked for a user id or use your email address plus a password. If you have an Internet site then try using the first few letters in your own URL. If your URL is (eBay.com) than use the first few letters such as – eBay – or your URL in its entirety such as – eBay.com – You might as well advertise your site with your URL and it will be unique since no one else will have it.
On the first page of the registration you will be asked if you want SSL, there is a check box to put a check mark. I have never opted for this option. However there are a lot of links available on this page that you may visit to make your decision.
Now lets start selling. First you will need to set up your eBay sellers account. Please take the time to read all the tutorials and how to links.
Once you have the first two steps completed you are on the downhill side of your eBay business. Or, I should say your business is now set up on eBay and the following will help you expand your business to its fullest.
eBay posts over 3,000,000 items for sale in over 3,000 categories now and gets over 1.5 billion page views per month!
These figures are overwhelming to the first time and part time sellers. Where do I list my items? Don’t despair, after you get over the initial shock and do a little research you will start to feel a little more comfortable.
First visit eBay and see what categories are available Then click on a category that you want to market your product in. Now you will see sub categories with a number like 2735. That means there are 2,735 auction items in that category currently listed. Now click on that sub category and see how many auction Items are in the featured category items. Generally this is very small in comparison to the standard auction items listed. You should be getting an idea by now the value of the extra fees for the featured categories items. More visitors, more potential bids.
TIP – Also, by using the search capability on each page, type in a keyword related to what you will be marketing. You will receive a listing of all the items being offered on eBay in various categories. Click on an item and it will come up and right below the Title and item # you will see a link which states the category the item is offered in as shown below. Nude ink drawing listed artist J. Moyer NR***
Look in these categories to see how much bidding activity is going on.
Once you have found a category that fits your Item check the (view seller’s other auctions) and a table of their auctions will appear like the one below. This table is an actual auction that was running so the info supplied is current.
The next thing you want to do is click on the Item # link and that will take you to the category the auction is listed in, like the illustration shown above. Now, the trick here, is to see how many bids they are receiving in which category, in this case it is a Dutch auction. Notice two are receiving numerous bids. Click on its item # and it will take you to that category the item is listed in.
Even though the links in the table below do not work, this person was using four different categories and only two of his choices were receiving active bidding. This is referred to as testing your market place.
Current auctions by (Userid) (123)
25497357 Feb-06-00 Feb-16-00 14:22:21 $19.99 I MADE SELLING HERE MY CAREER! $2K/week! CD V 8 Dutch bids
25421752 Feb-05-00 Feb-15-00 15:11:55 $19.99 I MAKE $2000/WK IN MY PAJAMAS SOFTWARE!! V/MC 8 Dutch bids
24973328 Jan-30-00 Feb-09-00 14:13:53 $19.99 I JUST MADE EBAY MY CAREER…$2000/week! V/MC 70 Dutch bids
24892703 Jan-29-00 Feb-08-00 14:32:56 $19.99 I JUST MADE EBAY MY CAREER…$2000/week! V/MC 103 Dutch bids
As you can see money can be made on eBay if you have the product, and you do the necessary research. One word of caution. Do not start placing auction items in unrelated categories. Ebay frowns on this practice and will warn you if you violate their rules. If this practice is continued, eBay will close your account.
Please spend lots of time visiting as many categories and sub categories as you can related to your auction items. I would recommend you spend three or four evenings here. This is a virtual education of its own. I found this time spent, very rewarding when I first started marketing on eBay. Observe all the various designs of the pages, the counters, click on all the links of items listed for an auction to get familiar with them and the information they will provide.
By now you probably have opened your mind to a whole new world of marketing! I will cover some top listing tips and strategies as you continue through this book.
Decide What to Sell
Buying and selling things is not new. As a matter of fact, people have been buying and selling things in one form or another ever since time began. It is part of life. We all need or want things that we can’t provide for ourselves, so we have to find someone who can supply us with the items, and we pay them to provide us with these items that we need or want.
Deciding what you want to sell is not as easy as it looks. There are two main types of items that you will be selling. The first and most obvious are those items that are lying around your house that you want to get rid of, you know, all of those CD’s that you don’t listen to anymore, that old toy you got when you were a kid, things like that. These items are great to sell to make some extra money, but they are a one time sale item, meaning once they are sold, they are gone and so is your chance at a recurring income!
The second category of items that you will be selling is a set of products that you create or buy in order to sell them. These can be a great source of income, things as simple as your mother’s recipe for chocolate chip cookies, or a disk or book about Beanie Babies. These types of items are things you can sell over and over again. They may not bring in as much per item as other items, but you can sell them in a great quantity. Let’s look at each of these item types in a little more detail.
ONE OF A KIND ITEMS- ITEMS THAT YOU OWN
First, we’ll take the one of a kind items. These are the items that are taking up space in your closet, the things that you bought and don’t have a use for anymore, or the things you’ve gotten as presents that have never been taken out of the box! These items can put some fast cash in your pocket, as well as open up some much-needed space in your closets!
There is really no limit to the type of things that you currently own that you can auction off. Just by taking a look at an auction web site, or a Usenet Newsgroup, you will see people selling everything from toys, computer equipment, photo equipment, beanie babies, books, clothing, and even automobiles and homes! Your choices for what you can actually sell are unlimited!
ITEMS THAT YOU CAN SELL IN QUANTITY
Now, let’s take a look at the other type of items. These are the items that you can sell in quantity. These can be things that you purchase in quantity in order to sell. There are a lot of collectibles that are widely available in certain areas that aren’t available worldwide. These can be sports figures, dolls, trading cards, beanie babies, etc. Anything that you can buy and sell at a modest profit is fair game, remember people on eBay DEMAND low prices. Better to sell 100 reports for $5 than 20 for $10.
HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO SELL
How do you decide what types of items that you want to sell? Well, there are a few different ways to do this. The first thing I would do is make up a list of the items that you are considering for sale. Look at the items carefully, and write down information such as a description of the item, what you paid for it, the condition it is in, etc. Being very specific here will help you greatly if you decide to list any of these items for auction. Sometimes the smallest details can mean much greater prices, and much greater profits for you!
Now, take your list; sit down at your computer and search eBay TM for the types of items that you have come up with. Now, this may not be effective for that one of a kind BABE RUTH autograph. For about 85% of the things you want to sell, however, it should give you a pretty good idea of the market value of the item, as well as consumer interest.
So, get on your computer and go to the auction web site. Click on the area where it says “SEARCH” and you’re on your way. If you want an even easier way to search eBay ™, check out the “Power Searching eBay™” section of this disk.
Back to the search page on eBay ™ … In the search box type a relevant term. If you want to know what GARTH BROOKS GREATEST HIT’S CD is worth type “GARTH BROOKS” in the title. If you’re looking into selling your VCR, simply type “VCR” into the search categories at eBay TM. Have you ever taken a look at just how many listings are in the Beanie Baby category? It is absolutely amazing!
As you can see, with searching for the proper words, it is very simple to see if the types of items you want to sell are already being sold at auctions. When you find the listings, you can learn a few very important things. The first is, you can get a good idea on what the market price is. By seeing what other people have sold similar items for, you can decide whether or not you want to sell the item, as well as what you should expect to get for the item when it sells! When you search, you can look at auctions that have recently been completed, as well as current ones, to see what items similar to yours are bringing in for other people. After you find out all of this good information, you can now set out with an idea of what you should bring in for selling your items.
The other thing you will learn by searching the web site for other similar products is the amount of people that want the type of item that you are selling. The auction web site lists the amount of bids along with all of its items. This will tell you how many people are bidding on those items. Obviously, if you have fifty different people bidding on an item, it’s a lot more apt to bring in money than an item that is being bid on by only one or two people. This is not an iron-clad rule, though, since you only need one bidder to make money on your item!!
The best way to get started in the market of buying and selling is to decide how much money you can afford to invest right off the bat. I would recommend starting with at least two hundred dollars or so to begin your empire. It’s a small investment, and you should be able to double your money pretty quickly!
Then, you need to decide exactly what you want to buy and sell. Your choices here are virtually unlimited, as you have already seen. Here’s a good way to begin. If you have a hobby, or an expertise that gives you an edge in particular field, use it to your advantage! If you know computers, you might want to buy and sell computer equipment. If you’re a camera nut, then maybe photographic equipment would be your cup of tea! Remember, if you have an edge over 90% of the other people at the auction site, you will probably be able to spot the bargains that you can buy and then re-sell at a profit!
Another way to find out good items to buy and sell is to check out the auction web site, Usenet Newsgroups and your local classified ads to see what other people are buying and selling! Just because someone else is selling the product like yours does not mean that you should not try marketing your own version of it. As a matter of fact, just the opposite is true! After all, if someone is already successful selling something, you probably can be too! Imagine that everyone looked at HENRY FORD’S first car and said, “gee what a great idea… Too bad it’s been done, no need for me to try.” We would all be driving Model A’s if that was the case!
LOOK FOR ITEMS THAT ARE HOT
One of the things that I like to do is search the auction web site for collectable items that are extremely hot at that particular time. The beanie babies are the best example, but there are many, many others. I found out that some things that I would have never considered very highly collectable are bringing in a decent price at auction.
The most recent fad in this kind of a market was the Spice Girls dolls. They are an item that are literally flying off of the store shelves as soon as they come in, and people are willing to pay a premium to get them. Remember this, time is very valuable to the individual. The last thing anyone wants to do is scavenge all the local Wal-Mart and toy stores trying to get the latest toy. Most people would be much happier logging on to their computer, typing in a few keys and paying a little extra to get that special item.
Needless to say, I found a few cases of Spice Girls dolls, bought them, and resold them at a profit on both the auction site and on my own web site! If you are into collectibles, or something that you always have on hand, do consider getting your own web site where you can sell your products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you won’t have to pay eBay ™ to list the items for you! Later, I will talk more about setting up your own web site to sell items!
CREATE ITEMS THAT YOU CAN PRODUCE & SELL YOURSELF
Another type of item that can be extremely successful is something that you can produce on your own. Things like grandma’s recipes, a “how-to” manual on hooking up your VCR, etc. These are the items that can offer you immense profits! I know, you’re asking yourself “what kind of item can I produce?” It’s simple, look at what you are good at and use it. If you can make the best brownies in town, sell your recipe. If you’re the guy everyone calls when they can’t figure it out how to do something on their computer, write a how to manual on that! Look at all of the books that are available “for dummies” on the store shelves. They sell like crazy, because everybody needs help to tell them how to do something! So take what you are good at and MARKET IT! People will gladly pay $5.00 to $10.00 for the information that they really need. After all, it is a very small price to pay in order to understand something, or to better yourself. And, while $5.00 or $10.00 is a relatively small amount for a buyer, it can really add up quickly for the seller! As I write this, my first listing for my “Auction Express” software has gotten over 70 bids in just the first five days that it has been listed! And, while it took a lot of time for me to put the program together, I can now sit back and duplicate that one disc and make a good amount of money on each one!
If you’ve ever watched the TV Food Network, and I know I watch it too much sometimes, you may have seen the show the Essence of Emeril. Chef Emeril Lagasse has a saying that I think is very relevant to what you want to do with selling you items on eBay ™. Emeril says, “We’re not building a rocket ship here!” And, we are not building a rocket ship, nor are we reinventing the wheel. What you want to do is take a simple idea and nurture it, build it into something that you can offer the buyer. What you want to do is look for items that go for people’s “hot buttons”.
While it may be true that everybody is different, it is also just as true that everyone is the same in a few ways. Everyone wants to make more money! I don’t care if you are near broke or Mr. Microsoft, Bill Gates himself; everyone wants to make more money! Everyone wants to be smarter. These are universal things that you can use to make yourself money!
Reference books, like the one that you are reading right now, are great items to sell! Trust me, they are not always easy to put together, and can challenging to get off of the ground! But, the payoff comes when you are finished! Not only can you sit back and feel you have accomplished something, you can now sell that one item over and over again! Printing costs are relatively low, and you can feel good making money by helping other people accomplish something that is important to them!
If you do decide to write a book, check your local print shops for a good deal on printing them up. When you are dealing with a lot of copies, and we certainly hope that they sell big, it is much easier to leave the copying, folding and stapling to the experts! Then, all you have to do is collect your checks and address the envelopes!
So, use your imagination. Examine your unique talents. Look at what products are in demand. The beanie baby craze can’t last forever! Just imagine you were the person who came up with that idea! It really is the simple ideas that can change your life forever!
SELL A QUALITY PRODUCT AT A FAIR PRICE
I want you to keep in mind, and never ever forget … People will buy virtually anything! That is, as long as you are providing a quality product at a fair price, you can be a huge success in buying and selling! Look for products that people use on a day to day basis. Look for a unique idea that you think is in demand; or take an existing idea and make it better. One of the hottest things right now is specialty mail order items. Items like cigars, beer, and lobsters are being sold via mail order. Use your imagination and think about what kind of a service you would like to see and if it is something that you can put together on your own, go for it! Also remember this, if people are happy with your product, they will become repeat customers!
Now that you know what you want to sell, it’s time to package it and market it for the auction process. Here is where it takes a little bit of planning and care to get your items noticed. Here is where you’ll learn the techniques that will get your items higher bids on average than similar items. The things I will show you are simple, but they are very effective. It’s amazing to see ads on eBay ™ that are totally horrible. Ads that have misspellings are the kiss of death for me. If a seller cannot spell correctly in an ad, you can’t completely trust their ability to address the package correctly! Maybe I should write a whole new book on the importance of the spell checker!
Creating Your Perfect Ad
THE TITLE GETS YOU NOTICED
Ok, you’ve been to the auction web site, and you’ve taken a look around. It’s a lot like looking through the classified section of a newspaper, except for the fact that you have to click on the title to see the rest of the ad. It can be a very confusing task to find exactly what you are looking for. It is a virtual maze as you try to weed out just the items that you are looking for. There’s so many items that the information overload makes you want to scream! It’s your job as a seller to help your prospective bidder cut through the red tape and get your ad viewed by as many people as you can! There are a few ways to do this, so let’s get to it!
Like I just said in the last paragraph, in order for someone to see your ad, they have to go through the trouble to take their mouse, put it over your title and click on it! If they do not do this one thing, I do not care how good your item is, and I do not care how good your ad is, the simply reality is you are not going to sell a darn thing to them! Therefore, one of the most important things that you will do is create a title for your ad.
USE RELEVANT WORDS IN YOUR TITLE
The thing that I feel is the MOST IMPORTANT when coming up with your title is to include relevant words. Ok, this sounds really stupid, but you would be surprised at the amount of titles that tell you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You must be extremely specific in your titles about exactly what you are selling. If you have an autographed Frank Sinatra photo, don’t use the title “Frank Sinatra.” I don’t care if it is in the autograph section of the web site, this is not descriptive enough, and a lot of people may miss your ad. Use something more like “RARE Frank Sinatra AUTOGRAPHED LP” and you will be amazed at the difference in the amount of bids you will get.
Remember that a lot of people will use the search feature to find the items that they are looking for, and make sure you include the words that they are most likely to search for in your title! I’m a big NASCAR racing fan and absolutely love to purchase die-cast model cars over the Internet. If I am searching for the different paint schemes used by a particular driver, they had better have the driver’s name in the title, or I am going to miss it! So remember, think about what your buyer is searching for, and give it to them in the title!
USE WORDS THAT WILL GRAB THE BUYERS ATTENTION
The other thing you want to do in the title is use words that will GRAB the attention of the buyer. After all, they have literally thousands and thousands of titles to look at, and you want them to take a closer look at yours. How do you get their attention?
First, you can pay the small extra fee, which is $2.00 at the time this is being written, to get your title listed in a bold face font. This is an easy way to set your ad apart from the rest of the ads that are out there. And while the bold face is a quick and easy way to get more attention, I don’t believe that it is always the best way. The best thing, along with being descriptive, is using POWER WORDS.
What are power words? They’re things that you can use to add a sense of urgency to your items. Words such as RARE, LIMITED EDITION, UNIQUE, ONE-OF-A-KIND, BEAUTIFUL, will help you get attention. Other words like GREAT, UNBELIEVABLE, STUNNING, AWESOME will also help get your buyer to notice what you are selling.
Look at these two titles:
Bruce Springsteen Autograph
“RARE SPRINGSTEEN AUTOGRAPHED GUITAR-AWESOME!”
Ok which one grabs your attention? I’d say that 98% of you said that the second title did, the other 2% of you need to take another look! There are a few things going on in the second title, the most noticeable is that the whole thing is using capital letters. Now, this is a great way to make your items stand out, but sometimes it can be overdone. Occasionally it can take away from the emphasis on what you want the buyer to see. Take a look at this title:
“RARE SPRINGSTEEN Autographed GUITAR Awesome!”
This can also be a very effective title. The buyer will see what is the most important in the title first, which is “Springsteen Guitar.” Remember no matter how you use capitals and lower case letters, you want your title to stand out from the rest.
Many sellers like to use characters in their title, things like @, #, $, %, etc. to draw extra attention. Sometimes they look cheesy, and sometimes they work. That all depends on the product, and the type of buyer that you are trying to attract. Try a few different things and see what is most effective. Keep records on how well each individual ad title is received, and use the style that is most successful!
Remember, when it comes to the title: be descriptive, use exciting attention grabbing words, and set your ad apart from the rest!
WRITING DESCRIPTIONS THAT SELL
Once you’ve gotten someone to take a look at your ad; you want him or her to bid on the item you are offering! You need to make your product look as appealing as possible and you want to motivate the person to place a bid immediately. After all, if the person leaves without placing a bid, there’s a good chance that they will not be back.
There are a few things that are important in the ad itself. The first is the overall description of what you are selling. BE SPECIFIC. This is the most important thing in your description. Do not leave any room for error on what is for sale. Get as graphic and specific as you can to describe your item. If there is anything special about the item, list it. List any special features of the item. People do not feel comfortable bidding on something of which they are not 100% sure.
LIST ANY IMPERFECTIONS THAT THE ITEM HAS
If there are any flaws in the item, like a dent or scratch, you have to list that when you are selling the item to protect yourself. As long as you are 100% specific on what you are selling, you will save yourself a lot of time and hassle if someone decides to return the product to you because they were not aware of a defect.
Even if you are using a picture in your ad, and we do highly recommend using one. Write your description for an ad without a picture. That way the picture can be there to totally reinforce what you are selling, but will not rely on the photo.
Once you have written an accurate and honest description of the item, add your own creative touch. Again, use wording that will motivate the buyer to bid on your item. If the item is difficult to find, use words like rare, one of a kind, and unique. If it’s brand new in a box, let the buyer know that. Include things that may seem obvious to you, because the potential buyer may not be aware. This helps the buyer feel more comfortable in dealing with you.
When writing your ad you want to paint pictures with your words. Use adjectives like great, awesome, beautiful, etc. to describe your item. Paint a visual picture that makes your item irresistible! Tell a story with the item if you can. Explain what the item is, and what it can do for the buyer. If you are selling a cute little teddy bear, play it up. Put something in the ad about the bear looking for a good new home, and some new friends to play with. Not only will the buyer get a kick out of the ad, they will be more likely to bid on the item if it is something that they are looking for. Going along with the theory that people do not want to bid on something that they are not 100% sure of, people are much more likely to bid on an item if they like the person that is selling the item. While it certainly is not easy to convey your personality through an eBay ™ ad, it does not hurt to try!
Use Photos to Increase Your Sales
It may be a cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it is one hundred percent true! A simple picture included with your ad can increase your sales by over two hundred percent! Like I’ve said before, people are not comfortable bidding on an item unless they are absolutely sure what they are bidding on. A picture gives the buyer a strong visual image of what they are buying. Take a look at the items that have the most bids in almost any category on the auction web site, and I’ll bet you that the ads that have pictures have more bids, and also have higher bids than the ads that don’t include a picture! It’s the simple fact that seeing is believing!
Ok, so you’re sold on an idea that a picture will help your item sell. Now your asking yourself, how do I get a picture up on the Internet? Well, that’s a good question, and this next section is dedicated to showing you exactly how to take a picture of your item and post it to the Internet.
STEP 1- GET THE PICTURE INTO YOUR COMPUTER
Ok, so this is no brainer, even for the novice, but there are a few different ways that you can accomplish this. The first is the old fashioned way, and that is to use a normal camera, take a photo, and then take it to your local photo shop and get it developed. Once you get the photo developed, you need to get the photo scanned into your computer.
You can either buy a scanner at you local computer shop for approximately $100 and up, or you can take your photos to many local copy shops like Kinko’s and they can scan your photos for you, and save them on floppy disk.
The other alternative you can use is a digital camera, which will take a photo and download it immediately to your computer. These cameras are great to use, but cost about $300 to $500.
You can also use a normal camcorder to grab the image. With a small device (like SNAPPY) you can hook any video source, Like camcorders, to your computer and transfer the image that way. These devices cost between $100 to $200 and are a good alternative if you already have a camcorder at home.
STEP 2-PROCESS THE PHOTO
Ok, you’ve got your photo saved on your computer in either a .gif or .jpeg file. Next thing you may need to do is process the photo in a graphic program. Programs like Paint Shop Pro (http://www.jasc.com/psp.html) or LView Pro (http://www.lview.com) are available as shareware on the Internet. You can use them to do things like crop the photo using only a portion of the photo with your item. You can use them to adjust thing like the brightness and contrast of the photo, or even add some cool text over the photo to create the perfect ad! Programs like Adobe’s PhotoShop is a full blown graphics program that will help automate tasks like processing photos and adding some cool effects to both your photos and your text.
Take a look at the photo of the item you want to sell. The first thing you need to do is crop the photo to only show the item that you are selling. Each program will do this fairly simply. You need to click on the tool that selects a rectangular area of your photo. You then need to draw a box only around the area you wish to keep, and then select crop command from the main toolbars image or edit menu.
Then you should go and adjust the brightness, contrast and sharpness of the image as needed. Try to get as much visible detail as possible. Remember that the better the picture is, the more bids you will get!
You can also add text directly over the picture of the item. This may or may not be useful for you, since you can type in as much text as you want before or after the image on web page. If you do want to add text, simply click on the text button, which is the “T” button in 99% of graphics programs, and select an area on your photo and type away!
STEP 3- POST THE PHOTO TO THE WEB
All right, the photo is taken, processed, and ready to be used in an advertisement on the auction web. The next step you have to do is to actually upload the picture to a web site. Most sites like eBay ™ do not allow you to actually put the picture on their site, so you have to have some web space of your own in which to store the picture. If you’re on AOL or a lot of other Internet Service Providers, you most likely have some web space allotted to you through them. You can check with your provider to find out how much space you have, and how to access it.
If you are on AOL, you can skip down to the next section, which will take you step by step through the process that you have to use to get your pictures up on AOL’s web space!
If your Internet Service Provider does not offer you any web space, you can always find free web space through the Internet from services like Geocities (http://www.geocities.com). These services allow you to sign up for free web space that you can use to display your pictures on your website, or to create your own actual web site. There are a variety of places that offer you small free web sites, just do a search on http://www.yahoo.com for web providers and you will find some others besides Geocities.
Once you have someplace to put your picture, you have to upload the picture. Upload, for those of you who don’t know, simply means to send that picture file from your computer to your web space. There are a variety of programs, which are called FTP programs that you can use to transfer files over the Internet. You can easily find them for download on the Internet from places like http://www.tucows.com or http://www.shareware.com.
The program called WS_FTP is very popular, and easy to use. You can download a copy directly from the manufacturer by going to their website at: http://www.ipswitch.com/Products/WS_FTP
Once you have your FTP program, you simply log onto your server and choose the files you want to send to the web site. For example, let’s say that your picture file is called “auction1.jpg” and it shows the item you want to sell. You would start up your FTP program, choose the directory on your computer that your picture file is in, select your file “auction1.jpg” and press the button to transfer it to your web space.
There is a great video tutorial on how to get started using your ws_ftp at
Entering the following text to your auction’s description can now access your photo:
AOL PHOTO INSTRUCTIONS
This is for all of you who are on America On-line. This will take you step by step through the process that you need to follow to get your pictures posted to your personal web space with AOL.
First, Go to the keyword “MY PLACE”. If you are a novice, you may want to click on the section called “My Place Help” for a quick overview on what to do.
Second, click on “MY PLACE” where you will find a folder that is called “private”. This folder is where you will store all of your images for eBay ™. You can also create a new folder, call it something like “auction” or “eBay ™” and you can store your pictures there if you like.
Then click “ok” and cancel to go back to the screen where you see the folders that you have. You are now ready to post your pictures to the web. You must know where your photos are located on your hard drive.
Click on “UPLOAD”.
You will now see the Remote Filename Screen. In the space that is provided, you must type in the name of your photo file, including the file type extension. The two types of files you can use are .gif and .jpg files. Overall, .jpg files are better for photographic images, but you can experiment with your photos if you’d like.
Click on “SELECT FILE” and find the photo file that you want to use. Click on the photo’s name to select it. You will see the name of the file that you selected on the bottom of your screen where it says “FILE”.
Click on “SEND”! Your file is now stored on AOL’s web server, where you can access it from anywhere on the Internet!
Your file can now be called by using the following text on your eBay ™ listing: http://members.aol.com/yourscreename/filename.fileextention
Please remember that web addresses are case sensitive, so be sure to type it in exactly as it appears on the server or you might have problems accessing them from the eBay ™ site!
The Killer eBay Ad
This is what is all comes down to, you take everything that you have learned and you put it to good use. You know what you want to sell, you know how you want to describe it, you know what your starting bid will be, and you have a picture or two up on the Internet that you want to use in your ad. You are primed for action!
This next step can really make or break any ad that you have come up with. If you’ve looked around eBay ™ or other auction web sites, you couldn’t tell one from another. You know what that means? You probably are not inclined to buy from those ads.
You did see a few ads through, that you thought “wow that’s cool.” You know the ones that used different fonts, in different sizes, with bold letters, or different colors that really caught your eye. And they used a great photo of the product, and even some cool graphics, right? And, those are not only the ads that people remember; they are the ads that people BUY FROM!
If you take the extra time to make your ad look good, the people who are bidding on the item will realize that they are dealing with someone who cares about what they are selling. They are dealing with someone who will go the extra mile to make sure that they are happy with their purchase!
If you are already familiar with HTML, the language that you use to create web sites, than you can pretty much skip this section. What I’m going to show you here is how to make your ads look like a custom web page using simple HTML.
There are a lot of different programs out there that can help automate this task for you. Programs like Microsoft Front Page are a full-blown web design tool that you can use. Or you can even use the more recent browsers from Microsoft or Netscape to create a simple web page. The programs will let you work in a WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET environment, and will let you create some awesome looking web pages without needing to know a whole lot about HTML.
The section on eBay ™ that asks you for a description of your item, the section that says that HTML code is accepted. What this basically means is that you can include any of the tags that HTML understands. These tags can do anything from make the text larger or smaller, make the text bold or italics, center the text and graphics on the page, or even link up to another website. The possibilities are endless.
BASIC HTML TAGS
What I’m going to give you here are the bare basic tags that you can add to your eBay ™ ads to make them look better. This is not a full course in HTML, but you can find a web site address later in this section that will take you to a full tutorial on HTML if you are interested in such things!
If you have placed any ads on eBay ™, you have seen the screen where you enter the ads into the system. You enter your vital information, like your e-mail address and your password. When you get down to the box where you enter your description, it says something there that you may or may not understand. It says that HTML tags are acceptable. What this is telling you is that you can use little bits of HTML tags to help your ads look batter.
Your browser, whether it is Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, or any of the other ones out there, reads HTML tags in a very special way. The way the browser knows that what it is reading is a tag, and not normal text is that the tag is surrounded by <>. So just typing in “b” will show up as a “b” on the web site. Typing in <b> will tell the computer that it is to put into bold text the words that come after the <b>and before the </b>. What the </b> command does is turn off the previous <b> command. So basically what you do with HTML tags is turn special features on and off to create the look that you want. Here are some tags that I think you will find handy in sprucing up your web sites quickly and easily:
BOLD FACE: <B> </B>
Any words or symbols that are between the <B> and the </B> will be in bold face. So, if you are typing you want to stress a section with bold face here is how you would do it. Say that you are selling an item that is brand new, and you want to emphasize that. Here’s what you would type into the description box on eBay ™.
Here is the item you have been waiting for!! <B>A Brand New</B> whatever the item is!
When the browser reads that, it will show on your screen: A Brand New whatever the item is!
Horizontal Rule: <HR SIZE=# WIDTH=”##%”>
This command will put a line, or horizontal rule, across the screen. You replace the # after the HRSIZE= with the height of the line that you want. You replace the ## after the WIDTH= with a percentage of the screen that you want to cover with the horizontal rule. If you want to create a rule that covers half of the web page, you would type in: <HR SIZE=2 WIDTH=”50%”>
Italic Text: <I> </I>
Works just like the bold command, but puts the text in Italics!
Underline Text: <U> </U>
Works like both the bold and italic commands, but this will underline the text that it surrounds.
And, yes you can get fancy. If you type in <B><I><U> This is in bold face, italics and underlined</B></I></U> you will get:
This is in bold face, Italics and underlined
Link to another website: <A HREF=”http://www.websiteaddress.com”> TEXT TO LINK </A>
If you want people to be able to click on some text where they will be taken to another web site, this is the command that you would use. You would replace the http://www.websiteaddress.com with your own address. And you would replace the TEXT TO LINK with whatever you want the text on the screen to say.
Link to your e-mail address: <A HREF=”mailto:your email@example.com”> EMAIL ME </A>
This will make it easy for someone to send you e-mail. You simple change the firstname.lastname@example.org to your full e-mail address. You now have a link that says E-MAIL ME on your ad, and when people click on it, it will automatically go into their e-mail program and start a message to you!
Load an image: <IMG SRC=”http://www.websiteaddress.com/imagefile-name.extention>
This command will load an image from any other web site to your eBay™ ad. So, all you have to do is type in the address of the image, and it will load when the eBay™ ad is loaded!
Loading a background for the page:<BODY BACKGROUND=”http://www.websiteaddress.com/imagename.extention>
This command is virtually similar to the last load an image command, except that this one calls the image to be used as a background of the ad page! This can really set your ads apart if used correctly. Use an image that adds class and pizzazz to the page, but do not make it distracting for the buyer! For a background image, remember light and faded out usually works the best!
Changing the color of any text: <FONT COLOR=”000000″>FREE DISK BONUS OFFER</FONT>
This is used anywhere in the text of your ad, simply change the #000000 to a number that represents the RGB value of a color. See below for more information on this. Anything that you type between the <FONT COLOR=”000000″> and the </ FONT> will be in the color that is specified in the #000000.
Changing the background color, text color and link color: <BODY BGCOLOR=”000000″ TEXT=”FFFFFF” LINK=”#9690CC”>
This goes at the beginning of your ad if you are going to change the background and text colors. The above examples show where the numbers are equal to the RGB value of the colors. You can find out all of the different colors and their corresponding codes by visiting the web site at: http://www.hidaho.com/colorcenter/
Again, this is by no means anywhere near a full explanation of the types of things that you can do with HTML tags. For a full tutorial on HTML, visit the NCSA web site at the following address:
After looking at this site, you will have an even more advanced understanding of HTML and how to use the tags of that language. It’s really a lot of fun once you get used to it! And, it will help you make an ad that will sell your products better!
SPRUCE UP YOUR AD WITH CLIP ART
Clip art is a great way to set yourself apart from the pack at eBay™. It comes down to the simple principle that if your ad looks nicer than the rest, it will indeed sell more than the rest. This may not always make the most economic sense, but it is a fact that more people will buy from you if they like the ad! You can use clip art of various styles to get your points across, and to set your ads apart from the rest.
First find some clip art that you want to use. There is plenty out there that is free for use on your website. Go into any computer store and you will find CD-ROM’s that contain 50,000 or more images of useable clip art! Or, you can find a lot of clip art on the Internet. It’s easy to find, simply go to your favorite search engine, like http://www.yahoo.com and search for clip art. The sites are too numerous to list here!!
HOW TO GRAB CLIP ART AND PHOTOS OFF ANY WEB SITE!
When you find the clip art, or any photo for that matter, that you would like to save, it’s easy. With most browsers, you simply click the right button of your mouse, and select save image. Tell the computer which directory that you want to save it in, and you’ve got it!!!
Remember that a lot of the images on the World Wide Web are copyrighted, and you should always check with the image owner if there is any doubt at all if you can copy the image for your own use!
No matter where you find the clip art, you will have to use the same steps for acquiring photos to get the clip art to your web space. You simply use the same steps that you used to get your pictures onto the web!
ADDING ANIMATION TO YOUR AD
This is no problem whatsoever. If you can follow the directions in the previous section to cut and paste clipart, you can have animated clipart and text in your ad. If you don’t already have an animation library, a good place to start is the Animation Factory (http://www.animfactory.com). This site offers literally thousands of animated clipart and animated letters that will make your page come to life. They also provide simple instructions for downloading these files to your system.
We can see how many people have actually bid on our auctions, but how do we know how many people have stopped to look at our ad for the item we’re selling? You can obtain a FREE counter for your eBay™ ad from (http://www.honesty.com/cgi-bin/ebay-counter.cgi)
I’VE FOUND AN AD I REALLY LIKE, HOW CAN I USE THAT?
It’s bound to happen. You’re searching the web, or looking through ads on eBay™ and you come across an ad that looks perfect for what you want to use! How do you take that ad and simply change the text and pictures to fit your needs? It’s simple to do if you have a browser like Netscape or Internet Explorer. After the page has loaded in your browser, choose “File” from the toolbar, and then select “Save” or “Save As” and save the file to your hard disk. You can now open it in any program like Microsoft FrontPage or Netscape Composer 4.76 version (the easiest one) , or any other HTML editor that is out there, and change what you want! This is a great way to do as little work as possible formatting the ad, and working on ways to make more money!
I’VE GOT MY AD ON MY COMPUTER, HOW DO I GET IT TO EBAY?
All right, you’ve worked on your ad, and you are ready to show it to the world. If you’ve created the ad with FrontPage, Internet Explorer, or Netscape, you will have to click on something that says either show source code, or show HTML. When you see the plain text HTML code, all you have to do is cut and paste the information that you want to transfer to your ad on eBay ™ into the little box that says description on the eBay ™ add an item to auction page. You usually only want to cut and paste the HTML on the page that comes after the heading, and before the end of the page. If you’ve got the </body> and </html> codes at the bottom of your page, DO NOT COPY those to eBay ™. Everything else is ok! Don’t worry if you’re not sure if it worked right, you can click on preview ad and see if everything is ok before you submit the ad.
You can, of course, simply use these simple HTML tags and type them in as you place the ads. This is fine for an ad that you are only going to use once. If you are planning to use an ad more than once, save it on your hard drive first, so that you can have it the next time that you need it!
If you don’t know how to cut and paste, here’s a quick tutorial:
Step 1 Highlight the text you want
Step 2 Hit Ctrl on your keyboard at the exact same time that you hit the letter “c”
Step 3 Go to eBay auction site, specifically the description box.
Step 4 Put the mouse in the box and press the left button
Step 5 Hit Ctrl and the letter “V” at the same time
Another way to copy and paste is to use the right side mouse button.
Step 1 Highlight the text you want
Step 2 Right click on your mouse and when the box pops up, choose “copy”
Step 3 Go to eBay auction site, the description box
Step 4 Place your mouse cursor where you want the text that you copied
Step 5 Right Click on your mouse and choose “paste”
That’s all there is to the magical world of cutting/copying and pasting. It works for just about everything on your system from text to photos, so give it a try! It’ll make your life
a whole lot easier!
There are also many other useful, creative tools at this address (http://www.auctionpix.com/ebay/)
Your eBay Strategy
The key to making enormous profits on Ebay is to develop a detailed and efficient strategy long before you list your first item. First you need to know what type of product you want to sell, where to find your niche market on Ebay, and develop a profile of your average customer. In addition, you should already have determined which categories are appropriate for your product. Now you are ready to set your strategy for the business. Read this part of the manual very, very carefully.
I’m going to present you with a strategy that you can apply to virtually any product you wish to sell on Ebay. I will generalize the outline so you can fill in the specifics related to your own particular niche market and merchandise.
There are two types of sellers on Ebay which I will call High Volume Listers and Low Volume Listers. High Volume Listers are those who list more keep more than 10 auctions online at a time. Low Volume Listers keep fewer than 10 auctions online at a time.
The profit margin of the product you sell determines which category you will fit into.
For example, if you sell real estate and make $10,000 per sale, you may only need to list a few properties each week on Ebay to make a real killing with your internet business. The same applies for the sale of expensive jewelry, automobiles, and other items with a large profit margin. However, if you sell magazines or other inexpensive items you may only make $5-10 per sale. In this case, you would need to list hundreds of items at a time to make large profits, and thus you would become a High Volume Listing. I know what you’re thinking – why would anyone go through the effort of listing so many items when it seems so easy to list a few large items and make a fortune? The answer cuts to the heart of internet sales itself: ONLINE BUYERS ARE MOST WILLING TO SPEND UNDER $50.00 FOR A PRODUCT. This makes sense – would you pay thousands for something you have never seen? Another reason that High Volume Listers are more common and often make more money on Ebay is that it is very easy to buy inexpensive items at wholesale prices, but very difficult to buy real estate or automobiles at wholesale prices.
Armed with this information, you must consider the product you’re selling and make an intelligent, informed decision on whether to become a High Volume or a Low Volume Seller. If you have plenty of free time to devote to your new business, I recommend you opt for the High Volume option. But if you are an Ebay seller at nights and on weekends, you may wish to start off with the Low Volume option until your business really takes off. Again, only you know best which option to choose based on the amount of time you have available and the profit margin of your merchandise.
Once you determine what type of seller you will be, you are half-way to developing a sales strategy on Ebay. The next step is to integrate everything you have learned so far in this manual and project your selling strategy into the future. For example, let’s assume you have decided to sell jewelry on Ebay. Here is a test case for consideration: You have identified your niche market and found the associated categories. You know that your buyers will probably spend $50.00-100.00 per purchase and you realize that the average profit of your auctions will be about $60.00.You have plenty of time and your profit margin is low, so you decide to become a High Volume Seller on Ebay and choose to list 100-200 auctions per week. You estimate that 70% of your auction will end with winning bids, which is the eBay average. Based on this prediction, you calculate your weekly income at $6300.You have a wholesale account set up with your jewelry supplier and have already purchased enough inventory to cover your first week of Ebay sales. You plan to re-list every auction as soon as it ends and place one weekly order to fill your inventory along with one weekly outgoing mailing to your buyers. Your basic sales strategy is set and you are ready to begin listing your auctions!
In the example above, you will notice that the seller thought of EVERYTHING before listing a single item, making sure that he/she was prepared for the task ahead and establishing a solid game-plan. Before beginning, you should project your sales strategy into the future and run through all possible problems, resolving them in your mind. If it helps, write out a paragraph like the one above and analyze it for errors of logic. NOW YOUR SALES STRATEGY BEFORE YOU BEGIN.
I strongly recommend listing all of your auctions as regular auctions before you begin. Do not feature them or use the Dutch Auction option at this time. Test out your sales strategy and evaluate the popularity of your product in its niche market for several weeks before continuing. The rest of this manual contains advanced tips designed for sellers who have mastered the concepts already set forth and who have performed a basic market analysis of their products based on the results of several weeks of auctions.
Please note, when and if you ever decide on Dutch Auctions (the selling of more of the same item at one time to the highest bidders) An eBay member must have a feedback rating of 50 or more in order to use the Dutch Auction Feature or be ID Verified.
To Feature or Not to Feature
Featured auctions get more bids. They also cost more – a lot more. Before deciding whether or not to feature your item, you need to evaluate its popularity. You should perform a basic market analysis.
There are two types of featured auctions – those which are featured in category cost $19.95 and show up at the top of the item’s category main page. This ensures that anyone who visits that category will probably see your auction, as the normal browser scrolls down a few screens and then leaves. I recommend featuring your item in its category if it has an average sales percentage of 50% or greater. In other words, after running regular auctions for a few weeks, you should choose the “featured in category” option if more than half of the auctions for that item have ended in a sale. I also HIGHLY SUGGEST choosing the boldface title option whenever you feature one of your items, as it draws more attention to your product.
A regular featured auction costs $99.95 and generates even more bids than a featured in category. Of course, it also costs a lot more, and as such you should only choose this option if you your item(s) has a sales percentage of 60% or greater. By featuring many popular auctions, you will make enormous profits on Ebay. But the key to success is running those tiresome regular auctions for weeks to figure out which items to feature and which items to discontinue. Trial and error works!
Note: An eBay member must have a feedback rating of 10 or more in order to place a Featured Auction or a Featured Plus Auction.
NOTE: Ebay will not let you feature auctions selling information, services, or adult material due to complaints from users. If you sell that type of product, you should run a featured in category auction only.
Dutch Auctions – Your Key to Making it Big!
If you’re a Low Volume Seller, you need to run multiple Dutch auctions to really make a killing on Ebay. Consider this example; you sell designer watches on Ebay for $150.00 each and you have 200 different types of watches. Therefore, you decide to run 200 separate featured in category auctions in the Jewelry and Jewelry > Watches categories.
If you don’t make use of the Dutch option and list only one watch at a time, then your maximum potential for sales each week is 200 watches. If your profit margin is $75.00 and your average percentage sales equals 60%, then you’re weekly income is $9,000.Not bad, but not $100,000 per month either!
Now let’s modify that example. Instead of listing 200 auctions of one watch at a time, you should instead list 200 Dutch auctions selling 100 watches at a time for each style of watch you carry. You would still have 200 auctions online each week, but your sales potential jumps from 200 to TWENTY THOUSAND (200 auctions x 100 Dutch watches in each auction = 20,000).Obviously, you won’t sell 20,000 watches each week. If your product is popular, you might sell 5-10 watches on average from each Dutch auction you feature. Now let’s recalculate your weekly income after running the Dutch auctions:
10 watches x 200 auctions x profit margin $75.00 = $150,000.A little better than $9,000, isn’t it? To be on the safe side, let’s allow for a FIFTY PERCENT MARGIN OF ERROR in our calculations. Perhaps you only sell 5 watches per auction, or you only make $37.50 per watch, or you only list 100 instead of 200 different types of products.
You would still make $75,000 per week! Even if we allowed for ANOTHER fifty percent margin of error on the second calculation, you’d make $37,500 per week!
As you can see, Dutch auctions are the key to success on Ebay. When you combine the Dutch option with the featured or category-featured option, then you’re playing a winning game. High Volume Sellers need not worry about Dutch Auctions in general, but Low Volume Sellers (the most common and often the wealthiest) must use this option to rake in the profits!
Please Note: An eBay member must have a feedback rating of 50 or more in order to place a Dutch Auction and have been with eBay for 60 days or be ID verified.
Market analysis is very important to determine what sells and what doesn’t.When you’re paying Ebay $100 listing fees for featured auctions or listing fees for category featured Dutch auctions, you need to continually evaluate the profit potential, profit margin, and sales percentage of your products as relates to the length of auction, type of auction (featured, featured in category, bold face title, etc.), description & sales pitch, price, and a number of other factors.I’m not going to provide you with a complete plan for performing a market analysis because this isn’t an economic manual, but I will give you a few tips.You’ll have to do some pretty tiresome calculations by hand.In particular, you should evaluate the following points FOR EACH OF YOUR PRODUCTS:
Sales percentage (number of listings for a certain item / number of sales)
Profit margin (average profit of the item)
Profit potential (largest profit from the sale of the item)
Category sales percentage (sales percentage for a certain item listed in different categories. Which category does it sell best in?)
Featured auction profit margin vs. category featured profit margin (does your profit margin from featured auctions for a certain item exceed your profit margin for category featured auctions? If so, you should feature the item. If not, you should only category feature it)
Performing a market analysis is one of the most important ways to maximize your net revenue once you have listed enough auctions to collate plenty of raw data.
Trial & Error – It Works
As I have indicated, trial and error is one major tool for success. It works, pure and simple.Don’t be afraid to try out new ideas or to feature dozens of your most popular products.Find out what sells and what doesn’t – continually order new products from your supplier that you feel will become big hits on Ebay.
Do not get into a rut selling the same thing over and over again; you will saturate the market after a few months.The most important use for trial and error on Ebay is to use the regular auctions as a testing ground for your new merchandise to determine its sales percentage and corresponding marketability, as well as its profit margin.
You can then make an educated decision as to whether or not to feature the auction or choose the Dutch option, or both.Impulse selling is much like impulse buying – you regret it soon afterwards.
Don’t use the fancy options on Ebay until you first use trial and error on all of your products.
Complement Your Auctions
An internet website equipped with E-Commerce (the ability to accept credit cards) greatly enhances your Ebay auctions. It is relatively easy to learn how to set up a basic website and E-Commerce can be purchased for as little as $50.00 per month. This is absolutely essential for Ebay sellers because it gives you the ability to accept credit cards not only on your website but as payment for your Ebay auctions!I have known vendors who tripled and even quadrupled their profits on Ebay simply by accepting Visa / Mastercard. You can set up a merchant E-Commerce account by accessing the following URL: http://www.quickcommerce.net and then following the instructions and filling out an application.
Or, you can join http://www.paypal.com which now reaches out to many countries and makes online paying for auctions incredibly easy, and it is FREE to join plus at this writing, they pay you $5.00 to open an acocunt. The only problem you will have in using paypal is that a person must be a member of paypal to pay you. Some people do not want to be a member of paypal. Not many, but some.
Another place to set up payments to accept credit cards is 2checkout.com A $49.95 set up fee, and the ability to accept payments for both tangible and intangible items. It is easy once you have learned how to set up a payment to set up any price for an item and you can make it in less than 5 minutes.
After setting up a website with your products, you can use Ebay as a free advertising tool for the new webpage! However, you must abide all rules by eBay. They have some very strict policies ….. to read their latest policies click here.
At this writing you cannot use eBay to list say 14 bathtubs and then lead your “about me” page to your sales page that sells bathtubs. You can, however link from your “about me” page to your web page that is not selling what you are auctioning off.
Get More People to See Your Ad
There are a variety of ways to get your ad noticed by the people that would be interested in buying it. You can use the Usenet Newsgroups, e-mail or a personal web site to tell people about your items that are up for auction.
Usenet is the bulletin board area of the Internet. People post messages concerning just about any topic that you can think of. There are separate boards for each subject. You can search the newsgroups by typing in a word that should appear in its heading. If you’ve got Internet Explorer, just go to the top where it says “GO” and click on “NEWS”. Follow the instructions from there. Netscape Navigator has a similar feature that you can use to access the newsgroups.
You can post a message to any newsgroup, but remember that it is not always proper etiquette to post a for sale message in some groups. Look through the group first and see if there are other for sale messages.
Of course, there are some newsgroups that are set up for the sole purpose of buying and selling. Many of these have the word marketplace in their heading, so you can search for that to see what kinds of bulletin boards are available! E-mail! What a concept this is! It’s a great way to target your prospective buyer, especially if you specialize in one type of merchandise. After all, someone who bought a Star Trek figure from you in the past will most likely be interested in another Star Trek item in the future! Make sure you let them know where to look for your new auctions!
The other thing you can do is build an email address database of your own when you see people looking for items that you may have. If you are searching a web site or newsgroup and find someone with interests related to your products, cut and paste their e-mail address into a database, which you can use to send out e-mail about your products!
Finally, you can set up your own web site. It may not get as many hits as the auctions at eBay, but it’s a good place to list items that are harder to sell, or that you want a set price for! Your own web site will give you total control over the environment. And, although you probably will get only a fraction of the traffic that eBay does, you can leave the items up for as long as you want, and you can set your own price. If you want a higher price, and are willing to wait for it, you can be successful running your own web site.
We’ve talked about getting free web space before, from such companies as Geocities,
and these can be fine to use for a small web site to list a few products with your e-mail address. If you decide to get a little more involved, you may want to go out and find a company that rents web space that you can use. Most offer a large site for about $15 to $25 per month. These sites will offer you the ability to use a custom domain name, i.e.. www.mycompany.com, and will offer things like e-mail, on-line support, shopping cart programs etc. You would do well to get your own domain name and then find a
web host for your own domain. Two popular places to get your domain name
are http://www.000domains.com and http://www.directnic.com
TIMING IS EVERYTHING!
An eBay ad generally gets the most attention on its first day posted, and in the hours before the auction ends. I have found there are certain really optimum times to begin and end an auction. In my experience Saturday and Sunday afternoons have the heaviest viewer traffic on eBay. So, I suggest that you post your auction on Saturday or Sunday between the hours of noon and 3:00 p.m. (prime time viewing hits its peak between 3-4:00 p.m. Allow it to run a seven day course so that it ends during these same high exposure viewing hours.
Feedback Secrets – It Matters
I’ve heard some Ebay users remark that feedback isn’t all that important, that no one reads that stuff in the first place.Quite the contrary.While newbies and eBay novices will often overlook the feedback for lack of understanding and inexperience, almost ALL veteran buyers will view your feedback before buying your product. If they see comments such as “product not delivered”, “this guy is a fraud”, “terrible seller, would not trade with again”then they will never purchase your merchandise.You need to have an outstanding feedback rating brimming with positive comments to really make huge profits on Ebay.
Also, you need a feedback rating of 50 or more to list Dutch auctions or to 10 more to feature an auction.The way to ensure quality feedback is simply to deliver a quality product quickly, efficiently, and honestly. If you are looking for a “quick fix” or a “hit and run” scheme then eBay is not the place for you.You can build a hugely profitable and legitimate online business using internet auctions without defrauding anyone!
There will always be a few rogue customers who claim they never received their product or you were too slow to deliver it, or else were unhappy with what they received.We all know that the customer is NOT always right. My recommendation for dealing with such problem buyers is simply to offer a 30-day no-questions-asked refund on any physical product that you are selling (services, information, and software excluded for obvious reasons). If they persist in causing problems, just ignore them. One or two negative feedback won’t destroy you – 10 or 20 will.
WHAT IS SNIPING
Sniping can be considered to be a very popular yet illusive bidding technique used at eBay and other auctions. Some aficionados live and breathe by this technique and have even written and marketed numerous programs designed to Snipe. To be elementary, Sniping is essentially the art of waiting until the last minute to place a bid on an item.
eBay recommends that in order to ensure success in your bidding, you should bid early and bid the full amount you wish to pay. This may appear to be a good and safe method of bidding, but it may not be the most effective. Why not? Because veteran bidders indicate that bidding early tends to call attention to an item. Once the item has been discovered by other bidders they all jump in and drive up bids for that item. If there are numerous bidders who are bidding early and bidding high for an item, auction mania sets in and drives the price up even more!
That’s where the technique of sniping comes in. Rather than following eBay’s suggestion, snipers refrain from placing their bid until the end of the auction. Snipers feign total disinterest until the very last minute. This avoids drawing attention to the desired auction and helps keep the price down. Then, at the very last moment, snipers place their bid, bidding the full amount they are willing to pay for an item. eBay sends an Outbid Notice email to the previous high bidder, but by the time the message arrives, it’s too late and the auction has ended.
Of course, the technique of sniping is not an iron-clad guarantee that you will win an auction. There may be other snipers out there who are willing to pay more than you! However, sniping is a good way to both help ensure that you place a winning bid (Because it is likely no one else will react to your bid) and to keep the price of the item low during the auction.
If you bid on items that you want and you have the thirst to out-bid any bidder close to the end of an auction, you are a sniper who will literally steal items away from potential bidders. Although this practice is unethical, it will often guarantee victory for the snipers.
All these snipers do is bid $0.01 or $0.02 higher than the next highest bidder near the end of the auction and these snipers will eventually win the items they sniped! If you want to be a sniper, you will have to have:
(1) A very fast modem.
(2) Fast computer with lots of RAM.
(3) The time to sneak up on items and steal them away.
(4) To be aware of when the auction ends!
When the auction is ten minutes before ending, you will have to go that listing and press the reload or refresh button to see if there are any new bidders. You will have to wait until the auction is only a minute before ending and then you make your move by placing a bid that is $0.01 higher than the next highest bidder. For this type of accuracy, you will need good timing or good timing programs that will tell you what eBay’s clock is set at while you are busily pressing the reload button. Of course, you can always check the present eBay time by pressing on the time link in eBay’s page, but that will waste precious seconds and this may end up in your losing the item. These sniping programs are regularly listed in the FEATURED listings area so you may want to check them out if you want these accurate sniping programs.
What can be done to avoid Sniping
Not too much.
All of this is good for the auction bidders, but what about the sellers at auctions. Our goal is to market items and receive fair value for our items and hopefully get bidders into an occasional bidding war. Now that eBay has added the “Watch this item link” bidders are basically book marking these pages to see what the activity will be at a latter date. Advantage Seller, NO!
The only recourse is to place a reserved price on your non Dutch auction items or set an actual dollar value that you are willing to accept.
Although eBay discourages “The Reserve Auctions” the seasoned sellers realize there is an advantage to this choice of marketing. This is the main reason you see so many reserve auctions in many of the categories.
eBay now has the ability for the buyer to place what they will pay for an item. Say the bid is at $6.00 but the buyer is willing to pay up to $12.00, the buyer now can tell eBay that they are willing to fight for the bid up to $12.00 and the program will automatically start bidding for you if any competition arises. This makes it a little easier to win an auction when a sniper is busy.
The End of Your Auction
HOW ARE MY AUCTIONS DOING?
eBay has included a user lookup in their search section. Simply click on “SEARCH”, go down to the area that says Seller e-mail and enter your e-mail address, as well as the options that they list, such as current auctions only, how you want the results sorted, etc. Hit “STATUS” and you will receive a complete listing of all of the items that you have up for auction. These include the item numbers, the starting date of the auction, the ending date of the auction, the current price of the item, the item title, and who the high bidder is.
THE AUCTION’S OVER, NOW WHAT?
Well, you’ve sold your first items on eBay, and you are excited!! Now, you see that this stuff can really make you some money. The first thing you do is send an e-mail out to the winning bidder, letting them know where to send the money and any other special instruction that they may need.
Let them know that you will notify them when you receive their payment, and also that you will let them know when the item has been sent. This will accomplish two things, first it will help your money arrive more quickly, and second it will make the buyer feel more at ease. Everyone is a little cautious when dealing with someone new for the first time, so good communications are a must. If you are delayed in getting an item out for any reason, let the buyer know via e-mail.
Once you receive the buyer’s payment, it is only fair to leave them some positive feedback on the system. After all, a lot of people use this factor to decide if they want to do business with someone. If they have been good to deal with, please let other people know, and perhaps they will do the same for you in return!
It does not hurt to mention where they can leave feedback for your auction and
your service to them. You might leave a note in their package that you sent, or
you might send a follow up email to them telling them when you shipped their
product with a reminder that you would appreciate feedback.
WHAT IF THE HIGH BIDDER BACKS OUT?
There is not a lot you can do if a bidder backs out on you. What you can do first is contact eBay and let them know that the item did not sell for the high bid. Remember that eBay™ takes a percentage of the highest bid, so let them know that the highest bid backed out on you.
If the high bidder refuses to respond to e-mail inquiring about their reasons for backing out on the bid or is rude, then, by all means, leave negative feedback about the user on eBay™. Most problems can be settled via e-mail, so be sure before you affect the online reputation of a buyer through negative feedback. The buyer’s hard drive could have crashed or have been shorted out by lightening. Family emergencies can also cause users to be away from their computers. Also remember, that if you need to re-list your item on eBay, you can probably do it for free! Just look at the link that eBay points to in the e-mail it sends you after the auction is over if for any reason you need to re-list the item.
Always answer a customer’s email.Whether the customer is praising your product or complaining, whether he is offering his input or asking a question, he or she deserves an answer.Particularly on Ebay, where feedback really counts!If you fail to answer emails, you may receive such comments as “unresponsive seller” or “ignored my repeated inquiries” in your feedback file.You will also earn yourself a poor reputation and lose respect in the online trading community.
My recommendation: Keep your answers short, courteous, and to the point.Provide all relevant information and be friendly, but don’t get bogged down in long email conversations back and forth, and don’t let the customer lead you on an irrelevant tangent. Your time is money.Also, you should create a classy signature file that inspires confidence in you as a seller and looks professional.
Finally, I strongly recommend creating a folder in your email program entitled “pre-written messages” in which you have template messages already created to answer common questions such as:
1) When has my item been shipped?
2) When did you receive payment?
3) How long does shipping take? Etc, etc.Customize your pre-written messages to fit your particular product, as you will notice very similar questions and comments from customers as time passes.It is MUCH EASIER to send out a pre-written form email than write a specific answer to each inquiry.However, make sure that it doesn’t sound like you are using a form email and make sure to add a personal touch when possible.
When considering email customer service, you must balance time, efficiency, and courteousness to maximize your working potential.
As mentioned before, there are over 2,900 categories to list your items in. So, after choosing a product you’ve purchased or created in your workshop or crafts room, spend some time searching the categories you see the most activity in and have the best possibilities to have a successful auction in.
Certain auction items are geared to the housewife, others to the work force and many times, like a high ticket item, may require the decision of more than one person to make a bid.
TIP -If your market is for the housewife, start your auctions in the morning. What time in the morning? Since eBay is located in the Pacific Time Zone and you reside in the Eastern Time Zone you will want to start your auction early in the morning. To hit the Pacific Time Zone at 10 A.M., start your auction at 7 A.M .in the Eastern Time Zone. This will reach the other time zones at 8 A.M. and 9 AM. Keep in mind, all auctions end at the same time they start.
TIP – Use the evening hours to list items for the working families and the major ticket items for those folks who need to make a joint purchase decision of the larger amounts.
This is all subjective and if you have done your homework you should have the times charted for that category for the highest traffic times the bidders are active. Advantage: seller.
TIP – Which days are the best? The best I can say about my auction success in the categories I use is that I have narrowed it down to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings for when I want my auctions to start and end.
So, if I list on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings, then I will run a seven day auction. If I want to list on a Sunday evening, I will list the item for a 3 day auction to end on Wednesday evening. Again, chart the categories and you will soon see a pattern develop that works the best for you.
Before you know it, you will be on your way to becoming a marketing pro in the Auction Houses.
TIP – The best months are January to the middle of June, then from the middle of September to the middle of December. The in-between months are the traditional vacation months. Don’t get me wrong, it just slows down in that time frame. I also find the week after Christmas to be a very good exposure period with all the new computers being hooked up on Christmas day. Everyone wants to rush out and see what all the excitement is about on eBay.
TIP – Use the reserve price to set the minimum amount that you will take for your item if you are starting with a minimum bid far lower than what you will accept if your item sales. So, set the starting bid at or near the amount you want. Ex.: if you want $50 dollars for your item and start the bid for a penny and it only gets one bid for that penny, you are committed to sale that item to the bidder. If you start making excuses like the dog ate it and refuse to let the item go at that bid, you could lose your eBay privileges.
As you research the auction items you will see where sellers will start a bid at one Penny just to get you to look at the item and then you will see the (reserve not yet met). Well, that person may have set a $1,500.00 reserve and the bidders will start getting impatient when they are bidding on what they feel is reasonable for that item and just quit and go look for another like item to bid on.
eBay recommends you keep the starting bid around 25% to 70% of the reserve price you have set. I tend to agree with them.
TIP – If you type this after the title of your auction item, NR or N/R, you will get more bids per visitor. The NR and N/R indicates to the buyer there is no reserve price to be met. This will create bidding frenzies to get started in some instances.
TIP – The hottest bidding times are when a listing is new and the last hour. So don’t get discouraged if there is not much bidding activity during the days in between. The bidders are not asleep, they are like you, just monitoring their favorites. I have had items jump by $400.00 in the last 10 minutes of the auction.
The best way to view this activity is to go to the “going, going, gone” in the categories you are most interested in and take note of the price of the last bid. Then visit that page to see what the actual prices of those items went for. This is the area that items have five or less hours to go before the auction closes.
TIP – Try bidding on an item to see and get the feel for it. As soon as you make a qualified bid, eBay will send you an immediate email that your bid was accepted and that you are the high bidder. When you are outbid at a future time, eBay will also send you an email to let you know that you have been outbid by another.
TIP – At the top of each page on the left hand side is a link called my eBay. This is a very important link to an eBay seller. It will give you a full accounting and stats of your eBay account.
Once you have logged in, be sure to bookmark this page for your records. This page will list all your activity, what you are selling, buying, feedback from others, your buyers email address and account balances which will include your listing fees and commissions paid.
TIP- Offer free shipping if the bid reaches a certain amount.
TIP – For credibility offer a money back guarantee.
TIP – Review your listing before it is submitted. Once a bid is made you cannot revise it. Also make sure your starting bid is what you want. If you push that “submit my listing button ” you can not change the price. I once placed an item up for auction for $300.00 instead of the $3,000.00 I meant it to be. Thank goodness no one bid on that item! I sweat that one out the entire week. So please, review your listings before pushing that submit button.
You do have the opportunity to revise your listing so long as there haven’t been any bids placed except for the price of the offering.
TIP – Always leave a positive feedback for your buyers and ask them to leave positive feedback for you when the transaction is complete. This establishes your credibility as your business grows. This is also the number you see behind the:
Seller (Rating) Their user id (23)
The (23) means they have that many unique transactions but the seller may have a true rating of (48). eBay has a practice of only crediting the seller with unique transactions and will not increment the number for repeat buyers that have left feedback in the past. That is their policy. So you may want to check the feedback of the sellers to see how that works.
TIP – You can re-list auctions that have sold! Go to the URL for the ended auction and click on “re-list”. Ebay allows you to re-list the item even though it sold, saving you time and effort so that you don’t have to copy and paste the title and item description into the form again. This is particularly useful for High Volume Sellers.
TIP – Use Ebay as a vehicle for advertising your products and websites! You can list your url on your auction page, however, do read the rules. There are rules like you your url on your auction page, however, do read the rules. There are rules like you cannot lead to a page that sells what you are selling at eBay, however you can lead
to other things you are doing.
TIP – Use Ebay’s bulk uploading tool if you run more than 10 auctions at a time. With “Mister Lister”, you can upload hundreds of auctions at once, saving you much time and effort. Click on the Ebay help files to see how it works and to download the software.
TIP – Dutch Featured Auctions are your key to success! The way to maximize your profits on Ebay is to determine your hottest selling items through market analysis and then list then as Dutch Featured auctions. Using this secret technique, you can make as much as $100,000 per month on Ebay, or more! Note, You cannot set a reserve price on a Dutch Auction. You also need 50 feedback, or a ID verification and at least 60 days as an eBay user.
TIP – Information is your greatest asset. Read up on online marketing and read EVERY Ebay FAQ and help file. Know everything about your venue of sale. Your success on Ebay, or with online marketing in general, is directly proportional to your level of knowledge and experience.
TIP – Don’t be afraid to try new things on Ebay! List new products, try out new categories, and use the proven methods of Trial & Error to find out what works and what doesn’t. DO NOT fall into a rut and remain content with a solid income of $1000 – $5000 per week. The profit potential on Ebay is tremendous – make it work for you.
TIP – Offer quick shipping! Your customers want their merchandise quickly and efficiently. Charge reasonable shipping rates and send their items priority mail when possible. Make each customer feel that his order is important to you – because IT IS. This will be your key to positive feedback and satisfied customers. Happy buyers come back for seconds.
TIP – Set up an E-Commerce account. You need to be able to take credit cards and online checks to be a successful Ebay seller. Many customers will only pay by credit card and will choose another vendor if you don’t offer them that opportunity.
TIP – Don’t put a ridiculous shipping price on your merchandise. Many purchasers look to the price of shipping before bidding. Do put a price in for shipping so your bidder can have a guideline. Do check with your Post Office for book rates and other special rates that you can use for packaging.
TIP – Package your merchandise well. Your purchaser will remember what great care you have taken to get them their product safely to them.