- Write headlines that get people to open your listing. If people don’t open your listing, you don’t sell anything. So this is a survival skill on eBay.But it is also a great skill on the internet. It is really difficult to write a 55 character or less headline that has punch. But by mastering this skill, it translated very nicely to writing very short ads for adwords and other PPC style ad campaigns.
- Develop good traditional headlines. Once someone clicks on an eBay ad, they have to wade through all the boilerplate eBay presents on top of your ad. So it is critical that you have a good headline on top of your ad body to reinforce the prospects expectations on clicking the ad and to pull the prospect into the body of the ad. There are a few lessons here. The first is continuity of thought. This is important to have a clear path from the ad (perhaps an adsense ad or a banner) and the introductory content of the page that is displayed when the ad is clicked. If someone clicks on an ad expecting one thing and sees something else, it breaks this continuity of thought and kills any chance of action by the prospect. The second is developing skills in writing headlines that compel the viewer to continue reading into the body of the ad. Since you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention, this is a very important skill to develop.
- Working with compelling images and image placement in the ad body.A good, clear image presented in the proper place in an ad can enhance sales. If you put it in the wrong place, or if it is not clear or clearly related to your message, it can hurt sales.
- Social proof and testimonials – eBay’s feedback system is a great example of social proof and testimonials. They actively solicit buyers to leave feedback on their transactions. And this feedback can be placed directly in the ads on eBay (just like testimonials in an ad on a website.) It is a great environment to experiment with the placement and selection of testimonials for your ads.
- Low risk, low cost test environment. Fees have always varied on eBay but the basic listing fees have always been reasonable. And in return for this small fee, they give you a web page and a targeted stream of traffic. Due to the low costs and constant streams of targeted traffic, you can use eBay as a proving ground for ad variations to learn what styles, words, images, etc. give you the best conversion rate. These same skills can serve you well when you develop your own website and sales page.
- Product fulfillment - Product fulfillment is a major factor in the happiness of the customer. Mess it up and you have an unhappy customer. But if you deliver what you promised quickly, you have gone a long way towards making your customer happy. No matter what you sell, there will be a product fulfillment component – even if it is a password to a membership site or a link to a downloadable eBook. By fulfilling several orders on eBay, you get a feel for the types of issues that can arise and how to deal with them in a way that satisfies the customer.
- Pre sale and post sale customer support – Prospects and customers have questions. And they look to you for answers. eBay gives you a chance to experience the “joys” of dealing with prospects and customers and helps you hone the skills you need to answer questions in a tactful and respectful manner. Your answers can go a long way towards making a sale or turning a disappointed customer into a raving fan.
- The importance of repeat business – It’s a lot easier to sell to a satisfied customer than to a new prospect so learning the skills that generate you repeat sales can play a large role in the success of your business. eBay allows you to create mailing lists and keep in touch with customers in various ways to help generate repeat sales.
- Dealing with the many challenges of various payment options – When someone buys something from you, they need to pay you. This means you have to be able to take checks, money orders and credit cards. So working with eBay teaches you all about these things. You get to learn how to take credit cards (via PayPal) and deal with people who buy but didn’t pay. You learn about bounced checks and credit card chargebacks. And most importantly, you learn that losses are simply a cost of doing business and not something to get angry about.
There are many more marketing lessons you can learn by being an eBay seller but just from this basic list, you can see how eBay is truly a great incubator to bring out your inner salesperson.
For those other eBay sellers out that, what would you add to this list?