What’s on Your Marketing Calendar Today? The A-to-Z of Marketing Your eBay Business
By: Melinda Jackson
Marketing your eBay business online to increase your sales may seem like a daunting task. Where and how do you promote your items? What tools are available to help you accomplish this? How do you track your progress? I wanted to provide some tips to help you get started in the right direction.
Set up an eBay Store
Before you begin to promote your business, decide what products you want to promote. Choose the keywords that will help you promote your products. I highly recommended that you purchase a domain name for your eBay business that you can then forward to your eBay store that is keyword rich or the name of your business or user id name.com. Don’t have an eBay store? Consider a subscription for an eBay store as an important first step in marketing your business. eBay stores offer powerful tools to help you market your business including 15 custom store pages, markdown manager, email marketing, your eBay store custom header and logo in all listings, and visitor traffic reports just to name a few!
As eBay rolls out changes and requires that listings be updated, take time to review your titles, descriptions, and perhaps add more item specifics, additional pictures, and more keywords. A great way to market your items in every listing is a scrolling gallery, such as the one offered free by Auctiva. Update your “About Me” page and use the simple HTML eBay suggests to add your active items and most recent feedback to your “About Me” page. This keeps your page updated with active listings full of keywords to feed the Search Engine spiders that “crawl” websites looking for important content. To see a great example of eBay custom pages, check out one of John Lawson’s 3rdPowerOutlet custom pages titled “Bandanas” which highlights one of his store categories.
Now you have a URL forwarded to your eBay store to promote. This link can be added to all your social media and online profiles! Let’s start first with social media. You probably already have a Facebook page and maybe even a Twitter ID, but now you have a link to add to those profiles and promote in your status updates and tweets. When was the last time you updated your Facebook profile? Take time to update your personal profile, and if you don’t already have one, get a Facebook business page and include links to your eBay store. If you don’t have an eBay store, you can promote a link to your list of active items, your “My World” Page, and your “About Me” page.
Facebook and Twitter are popular and powerful social media tools to promote your brand, encourage customer engagement, and increase sales. It’s best to have both a personal Facebook profile and business page. Both profiles should be complete with descriptions of you, what you sell, your links, and your business information. New to social media? No worries, seek the pages of your competition, your mentors, experts on eBay, and follow them! They’ll teach you everything you want to know. We all have to start somewhere, but it is vital that you start!
With a Facebook page and a Twitter ID, a good place to start would be to follow the Twitter accounts of eBay Ink’s Social Media Sellers, and connect with them on Facebook. Join some Facebook Groups relevant to what you sell, and where you sell online to connect with your buyers and sellers who sell what you do or offer insights into marketing.
Now you have an eBay store, a Facebook page, and a Twitter ID to market and promote. Next, go update your online profiles, bio’s, photos, and links. Update all your profiles on LinkedIn, Google, Meetup.com, YouTube, Flickr, and any other groups and sites that you use. All of these sites are important because they all feed the Search Engine spiders, and are an opportunity to market your brand and connect with your customers.
Want to rank higher in Google Search?
Update your Google profile with all your information, and links. In an interview on my eCommerce Podcast, RRB Radio, Marsha Collier shared her marketing strategy using her Google profile. She bought the domain http://MarshaCollier.com and forwarded that to her Google Profile which was complete with every link you can use to find her online. Brilliant! What does your Google profile say about you and your business?
Meetup.com ranks very high in search on Google. After updating your Meetup profile, search for Meetup groups in your area, such as “thrifting” if you sell collectibles. As a seller, you can often find groups in your area to learn SEO, internet marketing, and even eBay Seller Groups that will help you market and grow your business. You can now share your social media links on your Meetup profile for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Flickr. Note that you have a Meetup profile for your user name, and a separate Meetup profile for every group you belong to, so update them all accordingly.
As John Lawson blogged recently, YouTube is an amazing marketing tool that ranks high in Google, and gives you a tremendous edge over your competition in listings and marketing. Be sure to add keywords in titles, get your store name if possible as your user name for branding, and complete captions and descriptions to get the most Google “juice” possible with every video posted. Tommy Day of eDayIndulgence on eBay demonstrates great use of video of his handbag listings, showing the design and authenticity of his products. Tommy’s use of video not only increased his sales but brings higher bids on his auctions.
Do you have a blog?
Consider creating one around your brand or product line. Commenting on others’ blogs with links is also a great way to market your items and improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Be sure to use keywords in titles, descriptions, and names of photos. In your posts, be sure to complete the Alt text and Meta tags. It’s important to post on blogs related to your product or business as Google measures relevancy and places you higher in Google search results.
Want to sell more items and help a great cause?
Donate 10% or more to a Mission Fish charity of your choice when listings items on eBay to increase sales. Many buyers often shop from sellers who contribute to charities close to their heart. Note what campaigns are running during any given month and list items to benefit that cause. February is dedicated to heart health, October is breast cancer awareness month, and November is Diabetes Awareness month just to name a few. Sell more items and make a difference one item at a time with eBay Giving Works.
Even the eBay Radio chat board is a great place to market your business! Call in, and Griff and Lee will gladly “dish your listing” and promote your item. Post on the eBay Radio super secret chat board and even include links to your eBay store, Facebook, Twitter, and blog in your eBay Discussion Group signature.
Speaking of signatures…
Do you have a customized email signature that promotes your brand and your items? Email signatures are a powerful tool to connect with others. Include links to your store and your social media so your buyers can connect back with you. Wise Stamp is a terrific Firefox plug-in that creates appealing email signatures that embeds all your social media and allows you to share all your online spaces with those you contact via email. You can even include a gallery view of your most recent item listed on eBay, last photo uploaded on Flickr, your latest tweet, and much more.
Keep a Marketing Calendar
As you market your online business, it’s important that you check your sales reports, traffic reports, and Google search results. Before a marketing campaign, I often do a Google search for keywords of items I sell and take a screen shot of where I appear in those search results. After doing some marketing, I search again to see my progress. Keep track of your strategy and progress via a marketing calendar. Google online calendars can be color coded and offer reminders via email and popup, conveniently repeat events, and is entirely web based. Some may prefer a Daytimer, but a separate calendar is recommended. As you perform certain marketing strategies, mark them down so you can track your progress. Be sure to sign into your Omniture reports (free with an eBay Store subscription) every 90 days to continue actively collecting your data and compare it with your marketing calendar to determine what strategies drove traffic to your listings.
Remember that you are marketing your business and feeding the Google spiders to increase your organic search results. It’s important that your marketing strategy be consistent and relevant for best results. Schedule your marketing strategy just as you would any other meetings and appointments. Perhaps on Tuesdays, market Facebook. On Wednesdays do a blog post. on Sundays, send out a newsletter to your eBay store subscribers. Set up specific times of day to tweet and post your status updates. For smart phone users, be sure to download the apps for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to receive Push Notifications and keep up with social media activity.
I hope that this post has inspired and encouraged you in ways to market your eBay business. If you have applied any of these strategies and found results, we would love to hear from you on my eCommerce Podcast, The River the Ranch and the Bay, aka RRB Radio, with co-host, and fellow eBay Ink Social Media Seller, Bryan Goodman. We welcome your call to share your success and inspire others!
When she’s not selling on her eBay store as galleriagifts, Melinda Jackson is the host of The River, The Ranch and the Bay (@RRbradio) live weekly on Wednesdays at 8pm ET. Melinda is an Education Specialist trained by eBay and is a certified eBay Ink Social Media Seller. You can also find Melinda on Twitter @galleriagifts.