Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Engaging Stories Sell eBay Products Effortlessly

John Forde ran a nice newsletter feature yesterday on the importance of storytelling in marketing. If you don't already subscribe to his newsletter, I recommend it. I learn at least one important new thing each week or am reminded of something that I should pay more attention to.

His article reminded me of an eBay selling example from the book, too. The following is one of the storytelling sections of "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing":

Storytelling Sells
Stories capture buyer attention, bring in wide ranges of audiences, and provide an engaging context for explaining almost anything. You can tell all kinds of captivating stories on eBay. They can be one line long or the fill up three conventional, mythological acts. The best dramatic stories involve a dilemma, a struggle for truth or reason, and a solution.

Many typical eBay stories involve cleaning out an attic or finding a rare item at a swap meet. These are often true stories, and they reinforce the uniqueness of the item. If your products have interesting stories attached to them, especially stories that motivate shoppers, be sure to include them.

The following are five proven story formats for selling on eBay:
• Stories of product origin
• Stories of product scarcity and uniqueness
• Stories of customer life improvements
• Stories of product development, engineering, and/or production process
• Stories of artistic creation

Here’s an example of telling a story, selling the dream, and selling value in a listing for rare Roman coins:

“Imagine Owning a Piece of History from the B.C. Era for Less Than TWO DOLLARS Per Coin!”…”The Romans built an empire which lasted over 500 years (from 27 B.C. to 476 A.D) and encompassed a quarter of the world. Think of all the gladiators, nobleman, and soldiers that have come into contact with these coins! Many of these coins were buried more than 1500 years ago by Roman soldiers who were going off to battle. Many did not return, and thus their money (these very coins) were left in the ground only to be discovered millenniums later by archeologists.”

A story like this attracts far more bidders than one that simply says, “Please buy our coins. We think you’ll find that they’re nifty.”

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

eBay Shipping and Handling Changes? Your Questions Answered

I finally found some time to start addressing some of the questions you’ve been sending in. This first one is about apparent changes in shipping and handling settings. The answer comes courtesy of Amy Balsbaugh, co-author of The 7 Essential Steps to eBay Marketing.

Q: As a store owner, of over 18 months, I’m finding that eBay has been making changes (progress?) that directly affect my listings and usually result in me having to spend valuable time editing and re-editing those same listings.S/H revisions have advertised that additional items ship for $1, which is something I’ve never offered...

A: This shouldn't be . . . perhaps there was a technical glitch on the eBay side, but it is easily fixed. Go to your ebay Store homepage, scroll to the bottom and click the "Seller, Manage Store" button. From the left menu, click the "Shipping Discounts" button. This will link you to a page where you can set your preferences for shipping discounts, or, if you don't offer any, you can turn off any toggles that may mistakenly be on.

Keep the questions coming. And, if anyone has different experiences or advice, please feel free to comment. Thanks.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bananas in the Cereal Aisle

I saw a great example of cross-selling today. I was in the super market stocking up on nog, grog and duraflame logs, when I made a wrong turn on the cereal aisle. Right smack in the middle of the Apple Jacks and Count Chocula was a rack display with bananas on it. It shocked me a little at first, but then I thought “why didn’t someone do that years ago!”

I’m guessing that it works. It probably took the chain years of focus groups and data analysis to figure it out. It’s a natural, though.

Are you cross-selling with your eBay listings? If not, why not?

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Copycat Selling Technique

Dr. Robert Cialdini's Inside Influence Report covered an interesting topic today. It's about how mirroring helps you sell. Check it out. Waiters and waitresses use this technique in restaurants. You can certainly follow the same guidelines in email communications and confirmation emails. If you take phone inquiries, you can use it there, too.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

On Deadline - Answers to Questions Coming Soon

I'm on deadline for a large Pitney Bowes project at the moment. It wraps up Wednesday, after which I'll begin posting again regularly.

I received some excellent questions over the weekend. I'll get them answered ASAP and post the results.


Friday, December 02, 2005

How Many Times Can You Email An eBay Shopper?

How Many Times Can You Email An eBay Shopper?

Q: I want to send out emails to previous buyers in ebay (I don’t have a store yet) and when I try to send out the emails after a while I get a message telling me that I have exceeded the number of emails I can send. I’ve searched the eBay site but can not find anything that tells me what that limit is. Can you help? Is there a limit to the number of emails I can send in a day or a week or a month or even a year?

A: (from Janelle Elms co-author and eBay University instructor): “The limit is one per buyer per day, unless the buyers have agreed to be emailed. eBay does all it can to prevent spamming, so they take this very seriously. You can send 10 of these per day. Sellers with 0 or negative feedback can send one per day. If you have an eBay Store, you can legally send out emails to members on your “opt-in” mailing list. Buyers and sellers will continue to have direct access to each other's email addresses. The Contact eBay Member feature is used when members do not have a transaction in common.”

P.S. Amazon.com knocked 32% off the cover price of "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, 2005). Walmart.com sells if for 36% off!

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Do You Have An eBay Marketing Question?

In order to make this blog a little more dialogue-oriented, I’m adding a new feature (a conceptual feature, I should say).

Up to this point, the blog has acted as a soap box or megaphone of sorts. A one-way broadcast.

Now, I’d like to open the room up to questions.

Are there specific eBay questions that you’re having a tough time answering? I’ve got a network of eBay PowerSellers and business leaders that can answer just about any question related to the eBay site, marketing products, shipping, and providing excellent customer service. If I can’t answer your question directly, I’ll bring in subject matter experts.

Give it a try – email me with a question (phil@qualitywriter.com). Or post a question as a comment. Be sure to make it specific, and please add your insights if you’ve researched it a bit but don’t have the complete answer yet.

As we get more minds together, I think everyone stands to learn even more.

P.S. Amazon.com knocked 32% off the cover price of "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, 2005). Walmart.com sells if for 36% off!

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