Can a newbie offer you some advice?

37 replies
First let me say that this is just meant to help people who may not realize they could be hurting their business. I am new to IM but I have 27 years in retail both at entry level and upper management an have been selling on eBay for 8 years now. This was a pet peeve of mine there as well as here.

Here it is, if you are going to sell products then make yourself look like a professional. I sell part time on eBay but I had a professional template created that made me look like a professional retailer. I cant spell and have more than my share of issues with grammer I seriously misspelled advice in the title before I caught it but when it comes to my ads I make sure they are perfect.

Like ebay 2 of the biggest issues I see in sales ads here on the forum are spelling and grammer issues and using hotmail, gmail and other free services for a business email.

I realize many of the wonderful folks selling here are from other countries where English is not the native language. I think that is great but you should always make sure your sales ads have proper grammer and spelling.

I have seen in sales copy from people who do SEO and article writing that comment about their English not being good but that native English writers would be taking care of the articles. Well dont even tell your potential customers that and make sure your sales copy is in perfect English.

America is right or wrong a nation of Brands and people expect a certain image from the business community and they may be hesitant to use a service if your sales copy does not portray professionalism.

As for using the free email addresses. Most large companies consider anything sent from hotmail, gmail or similar adresses to be spam and outright block them. The company I work for does exactly that so if you want to look professional get an email that matches your business like
cs@idoseo.com or something like that. The one I use thru godaddy cost me $16 per year. Thats $16 to look like a professional and I believe HostGator includes it in their unlimited hosting plans.

Again this is not meant to degrade or hurt anyone. I want to help. If I feel a warrior can give me good service and will meet my needs I dont care where they are located. I just purchased a couple of days ago from a regular blog seller here who is located in a country where English is not the native language but she uses perfect English in her sales copy and uses a professional Email address. She looks like a pro.

Some Warriors have a very professional sales template then kill it with these mistakes.

So take that for what its worth. I cant help much yet on IM but I want to try to contribute where I can.
#\\newbie #advice #newbie #offer
  • Profile picture of the author Brian Snipes
    I would agree. I don't mind a few grammatical errors here and there when reading a post in a forum because I know that you're trying to get a message from your head to the screen while it's still there and your fingers don't always do what you want them to do.

    I am bad about doing quick posts and then reading it over once it is posted then editing. I end up getting that little edited tag quite a bit.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tadresources
      Originally Posted by Brian Snipes View Post

      I would agree. I don't mind a few grammatical errors here and there when reading a post in a forum because I know that you're trying to get a message from your head to the screen while it's still there and your fingers don't always do what you want them to do.

      I am bad about doing quick posts and then reading it over once it is posted then editing. I end up getting that little edited tag quite a bit.

      I do the same thing, especially if I get excited about what I'm writing about.
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  • Profile picture of the author BKenn01
    Brian to me posts are not a big deal but I think marketers hurt themselves when they mess up in WSO.
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    • Profile picture of the author BulletheadX
      Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post

      Brian to me posts are not a big deal
      I see your point, but if you're trying to make it in a business that is primarily built on written communication, it behooves you to practice your spelling and grammar in all relevant areas. It really isn't that difficult, and that proficiency alone may separate you from 90% of the pack. The more I get into this, the more I find myself trying to use proper grammar even when writing and speaking informally, such as on Facebook and so on. I'm not always successful, of course, but I try, and it will become easier as you make it more of a habit.

      If nothing else, how are you to know that the people you hired did the work correctly if you're just going by "it more-or-less sounds right..."?
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  • Profile picture of the author ishuvonet
    I appreciate your insights and the way you have presented the whole post is just awesome and I agree with you that the people coming from a country (like me too) where English is not a first language should take more care of their sales ads in terms of appropriate grammar and spelling.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stoney
    I will immediately leave a site if there are misspellings or grammatical errors. Professionals use editors and writers who know the native language. Thanks for the post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Thompson
    I agree that poor spelling and grammar can be very costly. People should be aware of this and take reasonable precautions. However, it probably makes more sense for someone to keep busy with online activities, even when it involves errors, than to hold back out of fear of making mistakes. Proficiency in the language will come with practice. In the meantime, they can pay someone to correct errors where it makes economic sense to do so. Even if they cant afford this, they may still make some money while they are polishing their skills.

    I made a website once in Spanish, despite my lack of fluency. I had to hire a native to correct errors. Still, I don't really know how it appears to Spanish speakers, but it is getting more traffic than I expected. It's all a learning experience and mistakes are inevitable.
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  • WoW! Very good insights thanks for sharing with us new guys!
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    Yes, image plays a huge part of the overall brand. I really appreciate it when someone has taken the time to make it look like they actually know what they are doing.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Two things : you make a good point but don't forget

    1) This is an international forum (so America is not the only audience) - this of course doesn't negate your point.

    2) 8 years on eBay? You're not a newbie! Heck you could even release a good WSO on how to make money on eBay!
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  • Profile picture of the author BKenn01
    Gregory, I am a new guy to IM as well. But this philosiphy has served me well on ebay.

    BTW, I want to get away from ebay because you have to as the old saying goes Lather, Rinse and Repeat. Meaning List, Sell and Ship. The Ship takes to much time that I feel could be put towards building residual business.
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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post

      .... The Ship takes to much time that I feel could be put towards building residual business.
      Is there a way you could hire people to ship and still remain profitable? I think there is.
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      • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
        Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

        Is there a way you could hire people to ship and still remain profitable? I think there is.
        Have you been an eBay seller? I was for a while. The shipping part was enough to drive me to the brink. Plus the fact I had to deal with crazy buyers who insisted that the product was not my own or it was fake or that I hadn't shipped it. Ugh, yuck. Just no. Residual business is where it's at.
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        • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
          Originally Posted by Charlotte Jay View Post

          Have you been an eBay seller? ...Residual business is where it's at.
          This doesn't answer my question though.

          I'm really curious, can you give me some examples of residual business you've come across and some figures detailing how much those businesses make?

          And how do you define residual business?
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  • Profile picture of the author BKenn01
    Adwords, I realize that. But I am guessing my friends in the U.K. are pretty picky to. I am not the spelling or grammer police believe me it irks me when people do that in a forum. I am primarily referring to commercial ads.
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  • Profile picture of the author BKenn01
    With ebay you have no flexibility. You have to keep listing and shipping. Now with there 1 day shipping requirement I have just grown weary of the process.
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    The problem with eBay is that it's pretty much a "one night stand". Buyers 9 times out of 10 are one and done with the sellers on there. So you have to figure out advertising/keywords/listings that hook and all the other miscellaneous crap that goes along with it.

    A residual business that's not online would be something like a pizza franchise or a nail salon. People need the product over and over again. Now if you could supply a product that's needed over and over again and hit the top of the listings, then you're golden. But you are competing with thousands of other sellers at the same time. Herman Sherman may get better results than you with almost the same business model, for no apparent reason than just sheer dumb luck.

    OP could certainly outsource his shipping and be profitable, but again he would be dependent on the whims of buyers and eBay (the latter of which has been none to kind to it's sellers in past years).

    Residual income as we know it is defined as do it once and get paid over and over again. It's a great system, but you have to know how to work it properly to get maximum results.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marcus Rockey
    great thread thanks

    Marcus
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  • Profile picture of the author BKenn01
    Charlotte, I know I could be successful at ebay and I mean 6 figures. I do it part time because I have a day job. To do it on ebay I would probably have to quit because of the time required to get to a real income on ebay. With IM I could put the same time in as I do with ebay and the effort continues to pay off unlike ebay. You dont list, sell and ship you wont make money on ebay.

    Ebay is a good place to make money if you want that type of business. Just take care of your customers and your feedback will take care of the rest.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacqueline Smith
    Great post.......it's another reminder that the simple things can make all the difference in business.
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  • Profile picture of the author seoproservices
    Good points dude !!!
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Charlotte, you probably know better but you can probably upsell by adding a sales letter to the product. Maybe a soft sell or something as simple as "Here are other products you may be interested in."

    I still don't understand why somebody can't be paid a little over minimum wage to do the shipping.
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    • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
      Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

      Charlotte, you probably know better but you can probably upsell by adding a sales letter to the product. Maybe a soft sell or something as simple as "Here are other products you may be interested in."

      I still don't understand why somebody can't be paid a little over minimum wage to do the shipping.
      Actually Auctiva does this right in the listing with your other listings, it's kind of nifty. As OP came back and posted, he said he only has time to do this PT as he has a day job and it is very time consuming. I can totally understand where he's coming from in that respect.
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Charlotte

    You're still not answering the question - why can't someone be paid to do the shipping?
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlotte Jay
    I am lol

    He won't make enough of a profit in the time he has to invest into eBay to warrant hiring someone. If he wanted to focus on this full time then he should do this. But he would be break even at best.
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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      Originally Posted by Charlotte Jay View Post

      I am lol

      He won't make enough of a profit in the time he has to invest into eBay to warrant hiring someone. If he wanted to focus on this full time then he should do this. But he would be break even at best.
      How do you know he won't make enough profit? how much does he make and how much would it cost to hire someone?

      Won't hiring a person allow him to do more promotion therefore doing more sales?
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      • Profile picture of the author cjreynolds
        I totally agree with the OP - It's one of the things that make me cringe. I've seen posts and sales copy written by people who, according to the location in their profile, are US American, and look like average Americans (no obvious features that would indicate otherwise), but write headlines like

        Increase You Profits With My New [Blah-Blah...]
        or
        Your Gonna Love This...

        (Hint: wherever you're from, if you don't see the error in the above headlines, YOU NEED to hire an editor for all of your content).

        Please don't think I'm bashing non-english speaking marketers, or US marketers that have trouble with grammar (hell, my spelling is terrible, and that don't look good either).

        English is a really difficult language to master, if you weren't raised speaking it - words have ambiguous meanings, rules don't always apply the same way in different contexts... Half of the time I see something that's terribly worded, and I really couldn't have told the person why some of the words were "wrong", or how they could tell that they were wrong and avoid making the mistake - the words literally meant what they intended to say, it just wasn't right :confused: And I've been speakin this stuff for 55+ years!

        It's certainly not a bad reflection on you personally if you don't get it right, but professionally it can kill you.

        And as for the email thing, nothing screams "small-time" more than an email address like "johnny6329@aol.com". It's just like the debate over free web hosts vs. owning a domain - To do serious business on the web, you need your own domain, and most hosts offer free email accounts with your domain hosting. Use 'em! "sales@MyDomain.com" looks a whole lot more professional than "marycatlover32@gmail.com"
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        • Profile picture of the author Daniel Thompson
          Originally Posted by cjreynolds View Post


          English is a really difficult language to master, if you weren't raised speaking it - words have ambiguous meanings, rules don't always apply the same way in different contexts... Half of the time I see something that's terribly worded, and I really couldn't have told the person why some of the words were "wrong", or how they could tell that they were wrong and avoid making the mistake - the words literally meant what they intended to say, it just wasn't right :confused: And I've been speakin this stuff for 55+ years!
          English is a very difficult language to master. And very important because most of the money available for trade (regardless of niche) is controlled by English-speaking consumers.

          I remember an incident 7 years ago where I saw a "different-than-normal" offer on Ebay for a forex method. The seller's English (obviously Russian/Eastern European) describing the product was incredibly poor quality, but wouldn't have been so bad if it was simply describing a kitchen timer.

          I have some serious experience in the forex field, both in trading itself and marketing within the Forex niche. I know that the individuals who comprise the Forex market are incredibly sensitive to language structure-- if you are claiming to be a professional with something valuable to offer you'd better really make sense and sound like a professional to your market.

          I saw the Ebay offer for 6 weeks do absolutely nothing, which wasn't surprising; but the material being offered sounded unique. I figured that if re-written in proper, conversational English that it would be much more likely to catch on. So I emailed the seller with a proposition: send me the product, let me re-write the Ebay ad, and if it started selling they could reimburse my fee from their profits on the honor system. If they didn't get any profits, no loss to them.

          It took me less than a half hour to completely correct the grammar, idioms and spelling snafus of their sales letter. I sent it back and within a day they had the new sales letter up and running. They sold 29 copies their first week with the new ad vs. 0 total in the previous 6 weeks.

          It turns out that it was a Russian currency trader's wife who was running the ad because she was the one in the family who spoke English the best.. Her husband (originally stationed in Switzerland) had been let go by the government and they were selling a compendium of tools that their trading company had used for over a decade. Once I had a "story" to tell, I could make an even better ad for them.

          One hour of additional writing made a completely true, intriguing story come alive - and the forex buying public went for it. The Russian wife sold thousands of copies via Ebay and finally moved to a website selling many more.

          She named their next child after me! You can't spend that kind of payoff, but it is very cool nevertheless! I still get an email every Christmas from them.

          In my mind it comes down to a few salient points---

          Spelling, diction and stories -- they really matter when your primary tools for selling are ideas. Ideas form via words in your brain. They need to be clear to the customer.

          Daniel Thompson
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  • Profile picture of the author fanaticodp
    Totally agree with BKenn.

    If English is not your second language and potential customers speak and read primarily in English, make sure you hire someone to thoroughly review your site content. Americans are extremely nitpicky about this. If we see grammatical errors or misspellings on a website, we will typically not do business there. It just comes off as cheap and unprofessional.

    Awhile back, I emailed a top "Make Money Online" blogger about several misspellings in his e-books and on his site. His response was something to the effect of, "I'm aware of this, but I leave them to show people that you don't need to know English well in order to make a six figure income online."

    Personally, I thought that was a stupid response. Sure, he's making a lot of money right now, but he could arguably be making more if all of his content was error free.
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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      Originally Posted by fanaticodp View Post


      ...

      Personally, I thought that was a stupid response. Sure, he's making a lot of money right now, but he could arguably be making more if all of his content was error free.
      That's not necessarily true. As Dan Kennedy said (I'm paraphrasing) "Once the copy starts converting we leave all the typos we find later in the copy. Who knows, that could be the thing that makes it work."

      Grammar is important... to a degree. You'll sell more faster with wrong grammar and a common's man English than a grammatically correct sales letter written in very official language.

      The main point is to come across as a credible person and to communicate clearly. In many markets grammar is not as important as you may think.
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  • Profile picture of the author anja98
    On the point on using professional email address, if you have a domain already, you can use the Google App Email service to manage your emails sent to your domain free of charge.
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    • Profile picture of the author cjreynolds
      Originally Posted by anja98 View Post

      On the point on using professional email address, if you have a domain already, you can use the Google App Email service to manage your emails sent to your domain free of charge.
      Forgot about that - Good point!
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      I just added this sig so I can refer to it in my posts...

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  • Profile picture of the author visimedia
    Hi bro (maybe you're older than "bro"), good post from a newbie, and I don't mind with few grammatical errors in the post, but you try to give the main idea .
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  • Profile picture of the author AnthonyCeseri
    Great points - thanks for posting!
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  • Profile picture of the author HappyPanda
    Yep proper english can make all the difference in the world.. Cheaper is not always better folks!
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  • Profile picture of the author jgrigs711
    I agree with you. As soon as I see misspellings or grammar errors I am turned off.
    If it looks like it was written in a foreign language then stay away from it.
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