Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Use Interesting Information to Improve Your eBay Item Descriptions

Information is interesting. People who are shopping have an almost insatiable appetite for it, too. Think about it. Whenever you buy something, you also pick up some information that you pass along to friends. I recently bought a car which was previously a church van. The salesman told me about it, and it made the car a little more attractive (they just shuttled church-goers around and never towed anything with the vehicle). I tell people that Jesus now rides shotgun with me.

When you buy Snapple you get a little extra information under the cap -- those "facts." They don't really relate to the tea, but they're fun, and they reinforce the fun aspect of the Snapple brand.

There's all kinds of interesting information about the products you sell on eBay. All you need to do is do a little creative Googling. Or, perhaps you already know some interesting things about your products. Make sure that information is in your descriptions. Also, add more value to your products and entertain your customers with relevant information. When people buy things, especially expensive things, they want a rich experience (and that includes complementary information). Think about wine -- this product category has a huge contextual information element. Year, location, country, producer, history, grape variety, process, esoteric descriptions, fruit descriptions, etc.

You may be asking, "What if I sell something like toner or RAM? What kind of interesting information can I build into my auctions?" This is where you have to get creative. You can package your shipments with famous quotes or inspiring messages (kind of like Snapple). You can just put them on the packing slip template, too. You can include practical information and tips that help people get more life out of their toner cartridges or improve their memory performance. There are lots of possibilities. The main point is, you're adding more value and engaging the customer in something interesting that they will associate with your store/product.

Speaking of interesting facts, here are some nifty ones that came through my email this morning. Enjoy:


1. Money isn't made out of paper, it's made out of cotton.

2. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp (marijuana) paper.

3. The dot over the letter I is called a "tittle."

4. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.

5. Susan Lucci is the daughter of Phyllis Diller.

6. 40% of McDonald's profits come from the sales of Happy Meals.

7. 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.

8. The 'spot' on 7UP comes from its inventor, who had red eyes. He was albino.

9. On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents, daily.

10. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are brother and sister.

11. Chocolate affects a dog's heart and nervous system; a few ounces will kill a small sized dog.

12. Orcas (killer whales) kill sharks by torpedoing up into the shark's stomach from underneath, causing the shark to explode.

13. Most lipstick contains fish scales (eeww).

14. Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear pants.
15. Ketchup was sold in the 1830s as medicine.

16. Upper and lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower' because in the time when all original print had to be set in individual letters, the upper case' letters were stored in the case on top of the case
that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters.

17. Leonardo DaVinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time. (Hence, multitasking was invented.)

18. Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood

19. There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos.

20. The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan; there was never a recorded Wendy before!

21. There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, Purple, and silver!

22. Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. Also, it took him 10 years to paint Mona Lisa's lips.

23. A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it instantly go mad and sting itself to death.

24. The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" was a Captain Kirk's mask painted white.

25. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19, you also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar (good to know).

26. By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can't sink in quicksand (and you thought this list was completely useless).

27. The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law, which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

28. The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was the Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola.

29. Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with. It's the same with apples!

30. Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying!

31. The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.

32. Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries.

33. Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a space suit damages it.

34. George Carlin said it best about Martha Stewart. "Boy, I feel a lot safer now that she's behind bars. O. J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant are still walking around; Osama Bin Laden too, but they take the ONE woman
in America willing to cook, clean, and work in the yard, and they haul her off to jail."

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How to Drive eBay Marketing Efforts with Google News

Help for Publishers

This link is an FAQ that Google offers, explaining their news gathering processes. As Google proceeds to take over the world, it's advisable to get into this system as early as possible.

Google News is basically a search engine for news articles. It only crawls legitimate news sources that are reviewed by living, breathing Google employees, though.

If you already have a Web site dedicated to news about your products - excellent. Make sure your articles are showing up in Google News by clicking the first FAQ item and using the "site:" operator. This will instantly show whether or not your articles are being crawled by Google News.

If you don't have a news site for your eBay product expertise, consider starting one up. You can re-purpose blog posts to read like news articles, publish press releases to the site, and hire budding journalists to write about your company/products/services/authority.

When you get into the Google News system you'll increase exposure, turn up promotional opportunities, and get free coverage from all kinds of media outlets. This is good eBay marketing.

Like most things "search," the trick is to focus the news site on a tight niche and focus on those keywords (e.g. collectibles, china, dishes, cups, plates, 20th century, etc.). If your topic/site/expertise is underrepresented on Google News, your chances for clearance are good. Once you get the green light from Google News, you'll be a cut above all the bloggers out there.

Pay Attention to Meta Descriptions: HTML Tip for eBay and Ecommerce Sites

The following comes from the linked article - "Organic Landing Pages: A Case Study." It's so important to make sure your meta descriptions are in order, because that's usually what comes up in Google's description below the title of your site or item listing when someone searches for products on Google. Place meta descriptions in your templates and pages so searchers will be able to read a clear description of what you're offering (one that matches the terms they were searching for).

Here's another article on the same subject:

Most search engines will either display the meta description under the search result or they will excerpt a portion of more relevant copy from the page itself. Just as much thought goes into crafting PPC ad copy, care should be taken to craft both optimized meta descriptions and optimized landing-page copy for organic search. That way, regardless of what description the search engines choose to display, you'll be covered. After all, it really doesn't matter where your rank if no one wants to click through to your site.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Edit Your eBay Photos Online - A Great Photoshop Alternative

Picnik - edit photos the easy way, online in your browser

If you're looking for a fast, easy to edit photos with an online application, this is a great tool.

Since it's free, it's much cheaper than Photoshop... and it's very powerful. Certainly powerful enough to cover all of your eBay photo needs. It's fast, too.

With Picnik, you can crop, auto-fix, sharpen, adjust colors, eliminate red-eye, re-size, change exposure, and rotate your photos all in one simple interface. It's amazing - photo editing has come a long way.

You can open photos directly from flickr, picasa and facebook, too.

This particular software is also a great example of a Rich Internet Application (RIA). I'm guessing that it's AJAX -- Asynchronous JAvaScript and XML. Very slick, seamless software experience.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Quick Blogging Tool for eBay Marketers that Blog - Blogger Bar :: Firefox Add-ons

Blogger Bar :: Firefox Add-ons

This is a handy little tool that allows you to write quick blog entries about a page that you're visiting. I used it to create this post. You simply click the "blog this" button, and it pops up your Blogger account, with the title and link fields all set.

As an eBay seller, you should always be blogging, posting and generally writing about your products and personal expertise to generate interest in your business. This makes it quick and easy.

The more you tell (even indirectly), the more you sell.