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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