Tuesday, September 04, 2007

eBay Cha-Ching: Why Titles Are So Important for Marketing

There’s something I don’t like about my book The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing. It’s the title. I’ll tell you why and what it has to do with eBay listings in a second.

I was involved in creating the title little, but the publisher deferred to its in-house experts and came up with the final version.

Technically the full title of the book is The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing: Creative Strategies to Boost Profits Now. I like the 2nd half of the title better than the first. Why? Because it offers a picture or a feeling about what the reader or buyer is going to get from the book. It’s tangible and specific – profits, boost, now. But that’s immaterial. The main title is the real issue.

First, let me tell what you what elements I like about the main title. I like the 7 Essential Steps part. That concept works for me, and I’d encourage you to use similar formats when informing your eBay audiences. Visually, numbers are interesting in titles, and taking a few steps in order to achieve a goal sounds pretty easy and organized. People like that. “If I do x, I’ll get y.”

I don’t know if Essential is absolutely necessary, though. I’m on the fence about that one. I also like the word Marketing in the main title. It sets the book apart from all the other noise that’s out there and focuses the target audience onto a fairly specific topic.

Now, what do I not like? I don’t like the word Successful. To me, it’s very vague and general. If I’m reading a book title, I want to know exactly what’s in it for me… immediately. Especially with a business book. Otherwise, I’m moving on. I also need to be attracted by something unusual or interesting. There’s nothing interesting about “Successful eBay Marketing.” It’s just bland.

So what should a title do? If you’re selling a book or a lunch box or a cell phone, what do you want your title to do? First you want it to attract eyeballs. Then you want it to convert the eyeballs’ brain into a buyer.. or a potential prospect at least.

This concept of attraction and conversion is discussed in much greater detail by Sean D’Souza in his PsychoTactics newsletter. It’s a good resource with lots of insider marketing information. And it works.

First you attract, with a unique or unusual title. Then you convert with the big benefit. My title might have been better with one of the following treatments, for example:

eBay Seller Smarts: How to Increase Profits and Save Time Listing with Proven Marketing Techniques (unique main title, two specific benefits)

eBay Cha-Ching: Ring the Online Cash Register with Proven Marketing Tactics (unique title, benefits implicit, clear images)

How does this relate to eBay listings? Well, you have two opportunities to use titles like these. Once in the keyword title, and again within the text of your listing. I’ll warn you against using this title attraction/conversion technique in the keyword title however. If you have room for it, give it a shot. (Testing will show the truth of the situation.) But you’re better off using the keyword title for just that – keywords. Those are gold, and you need to make sure everything is there and accounted for – this is where you cast a wide net.

However, you can use the technique on the listing page itself. Place a big title at the beginning of your description. Use one that sticks with the customer and gets them thinking about how your product is better, faster, sexier, etc. Translate that to what specific benefit they’ll reap.

If you do this effectively, your listings will instantly attract more interest and be set off from all the other returns that the prospect has looked at. It’s about differentiation. eBay is a competitive marketplace, but it’s not that difficult to stand out. With a little care and planning, you can get a distinct edge.

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