Thursday, August 6, 2009

How to write auction listings that sell
An ebay auction listing is how you sell your item on ebay. The most important parts of a good successful auction listing are the title and item description. But writing a good auction listing involves a lot more than saying what it is and how much you want for it. this is part 1 of a series on writing successful auction listings, be sure to follow up-coming posts for the rest of the series.

How to make listings that sell
is NOT usually the first thought on a new seller's mind, but it should be! When you are writing a listing you need to think like a buyer:

  • why is the buyer looking at your listing
  1. they need this product
  2. they want this product
  3. they're interested in this product
  4. they like you as a seller
  • how did the buyer find your listing
  1. they found you in a keyword search
  2. your listing title stood out from the rest
  3. they found you from an outside link
  4. they're looking at all listings matching their search
  5. they're browsing a category
  • what does the buyer want to know

  1. what is it, what is the price
  2. what's the item condition (new, used, mint, poor, etc.)
  3. item details (color, material, size, etc. ... whatever applies to the item)
  4. anything wrong with it
  5. how much will it cost to get it (shipping, handling, anything in addition to the price)
  6. details, details, details! (What would you want to know if you were buying it?)
  • what does the buyer expect to get
  1. What you said it was, for the price you said it would be!
  2. No problems! A deal is a deal, and when they bid on or bought your item, they made a deal with you.
When you are writing your listing there are no buyers to answer these questions for you, so you have to put yourself in the buyer's shoes and guess. But you can make it an educated guess based on:

  • what type of item you are listing
  1. a collectible
  2. a commodity
  3. a consumable
  4. a gift
  5. a service
  • what the item's usage or purpose is
  1. is it decorative
  2. does it do something
  3. does it provide something
  4. is it durable, (lasting) or consumable (use it up and it's gone)
  • what your previous selling experience is
  1. have you sold similar items, do you have a sales history
  2. have you research other people's sales of this item, or it's type
  • your knowledge of the item and/or it's category (ie. collectible, consumable, etc.)
  1. are you an expect on this item, or it's category
  2. do you know a lot about it
  3. how the buyer will use it
  4. your research on this item
Ok, those are the basic thoughts that you should be considering before you start writing your listing.

Now the basic parts of your listing.

  1. The Title - this is your first chance to get the buyer's attention
  • use keywords that match your item, if you were searching for your item, what words would you type into the search bar? But don't use keywords that don't apply to the item or will mis-lead the buyer. It's an ebay violation, and will 'tick-off' the buyer.
  • Make your title standout in the list of search results. There are several FREE ways to do this; you can do all caps, or all cap the first couple words, or cap any brand names in the title, or any variation of this. But don't get too cute, like aLtErNaTinG caps OR doing EVERY other WORD, etc., you can see how bad that looks here, and it looks unprofessional in your title too.
  • use all 55 letters in your title, this is your chance to use the words that the buyer will search for to find you, so use all the space ebay allows
  • Don't get too cute! (notice a reoccurring concept here?), DO NOT USE; Wow, W@W, LQQK, Great Deal, very rare, etc. etc. etc.... it looks chintzy, and nobody puts those words in their search terms. Don't waste the space! Unless the bid price is so low I can't ignore it, I never click on those kind of listing titles. And ebay research says most buyers won't either
2. Category, this should be obvious, find the right category for the type of item you are
listing. You wouldn't want to list a collectible china item in a how-to-lose-weight
category. Some buyers restrict their searches to particular categories, so your item needs
to be in the right one.

  • use the main category that best describes your item
  • research completed auctions for items like yours that sold successfully - check the category it was listed in
3. Description, this is a biggiee... I'll do a whole post on listing descriptions, so look for it.
but in a nutshell:

  • include all the details you have - what would you want to know?
  • include any flaws - the buyer will see them anyway, and will be ticked-off if you didn't tell them about them, and you'll have a problem
  • be honest, don't try to mis-lead the buyer
  • don't get cute! buyers are looking for reasons to buy, not displays of your artistic abilities
4. Pictures, another biggiee... and another detailed post, but here are the basics:

  • yes, you must have a picture, at least a gallery picture, or buyers probably won't even click on your listing
  • no, you don't have to be a photo expert, a better picture is always...well...better, but the basics just need to be a clear picture that foucus's on your item, with good lighting, and as little clutter as possible. Of course you could spend a lot of time editing your photos to rival national magazine quality, go for it, but sometimes "more isn't better, it's just more"
  • do not use ebay picture service or listers for multiple photos in your listings. ebay charges you for extra pictures, and there are lots of free photo hosting sites, and listing sites too!, that you can use to include almost as many photos as you want in your listings.
  • if there are flaws or problems with the item, try to include photos that show it.
  • digital cameras are very inexpensive now, (I'm talking used on ebay in the $30.00 range) so go ahead and get one if you plan to continue on ebay. If this is a one-shot deal for you, than just borrow one from a friend.
5. Price: it's a risk thing. What risk are you willing to take that your item will sell for less
than you want to sell it for?

  • Low starting bids get the most attention, (meaning more bidders) and if your item has true value, the final bids will almost always be a fair value for the item, but there is the risk that your listing does not generate buyer interest and your item could sell to the lone bidder for that low starting price.
  • fair value starting bids guarantee you a fair price for your item, IF it sells, IF a buyer or buyers check out your listings from their search results. Most ebay buyers are looking for bargains, so they will check out listings they perceive to be a great deal before they get around to checking the 'just good' deals.
  • reserve price listings, this is where you start the bidding at a low price but set a minimum amount you will actually sell the item for. Most buyers don't like reserve price listings, they think if you have a minimum you'll accept, just start the bidding there.
6. How long to list for, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days

  • take your pick, 7 days is the most used because it allows the optimum time for buyers to find your listings, but you can use 3 or 5 days if you want a quick sale or think there is a lot of market place interest in your item, and 10 days if you want even more exposure time, but ebay charges extra for the 10 day listing.
Ok that will get you started, there will be more posts on this subject so stay tuned.

Check out Appletreedeals ebay listings

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