I learned the hard way, but here are some rules of thumb that have worked for me when creating an auction listing. eBay may not exactly approve of this Guide since the objective is to maximize your profits not eBays. But what they lose on their Listing Fees they will gain on Final Value fees! And you gain both ways!
Think about what SEARCH words your potential customers are likely to use. Use SEARCH words rather than an item description. The title does not have to make sense as long as people can find your listing and it has the right HOT words to sell the item.
Redundant words - OF, THE, A - can be eliminated from the title allowing you to include additional SEARCH terms or HOT words such as NEW, MINT, LATEST etc.
Think about including common MISPELLINGS and MISSPELLINGS that your customers might use especially key brand names (eg. GEHRKE versus GHERKE, or KAYSER versus KAISER versus KAIZER).
Alternative SPELLINGS (eg. VAPORISER and VAPORIZER).
And AMERICANISMS (eg. BONNET and HOOD, SPINNING and JERKBAITING).
The eBAY SEARCH function uses the TITLE but not the SUBTITLE in searches unless the user specifies TITLE and DESCRIPTION in the SEARCH options. And using a SUBTITLE is relatively expensive. SUBTITLE is good for eBay less good for you. Use a subtitle ONLY if you really cannot squeeze all the HOT words you need into the TITLE.
3. Add PICTURES?
If you need to add additional pictures consider using an auction listing site such as AUCTIVA to host your photographs for FREE rather than eBAY.
4. Item DESCRIPTION?
Invest time describing the item to make your customers want to own the item. Give them reasons to buy the item. Include snippets from Review articles. Or excerpts from Product Reviews from eBay, Amazon or other sites.
Selection pack of 5 Mepps lures.
is a bit dull. My customers want to catch fish. With this in mind:
The new selection pack from Mepps of the five best taking patterns for pike and perch in the world. Including the Aglia, Comet and Lusox in a variety of weights and colours including the new fluorescents. All in the best taking sizes. Tried and tested lures that have taken more than their fair share of specimen pike and perch.
is a bit more like it!
5. LISTING DESIGNER?
Don't do it. Most of the templates are horrible and your listing will instantly stand out as an eBay template. Do your own. Keep it simple. Simple text on a simple background. Black on white or blue on white works well.
6. VISITOR COUNTER?
If the item is unlikely to attract more than a few visitors then make sure this is HIDDEN. If you are likely to get 100+ visitors then let people know by including a VISITOR COUNTER so your visitors can see just how much interest there is in your item (upping the bids they will need to make to win it!).
7. STARTING PRICE?
Keeping it low attracts more customers. If you think you may have two or more bidders then keeping the starting price low will generate interest. Note that the listing fee increases with the starting price. With rare or difficult to source items you can get away with a higher Starting Price.
8. BUY IT NOW PRICE?
A double-edged sword. Sometimes having a BIN price is a good way of letting people know how much you would like for the item. However, specifying a BIN price places an upper limit on what you are likely to get for the item.
9. RESERVE PRICE?
Another double-edge sword. You want to make sure you get a reasonable price but adding a RESERVE PRICE discourages bidding. Some never bid at all thinking that the reserve will be huge. Others will bid but when they discover their bid has not made the reserve they will give up - even though they may be just a penny short of the reserve. When I add a RESERVE PRICE I let people know what the reserve is in the Item Description.
The weekend is the busiest time on eBay. A 10 day auction makes sure that you cover two weekends. Start the auction on a Wednesday and a 10 day auction will end on Saturday week. Depending upon your market your potential customers may have better things to do than eBay on a Saturday. Start the auction on a Thursday and a 10 day auction will end on Sunday week. Watch out for public holidays though. If you have a Bank Holiday Monday coming up then a 10 day auction starting on a Friday and ending on the Bank Holiday Monday may be the optimal strategy.
11. SCHEDULED START TIME?
As well as thinking about what DAY you want to start your auction, think about what TIME. Most bidding is done in the last 10 minutes of the auction so if you have an auction ending at 4.17am on Tuesday morning how many of your customers are likely to hang around until that time to bag an auction? If the auction ends at 9pm on a Sunday after everyone has had their tea and the kids are in bed this might be a better time? If you resent paying the extra for a SCHEDULE START TIME then you can either hand around and list your item at a specific time to coincide with your optimal ending time OR consider using a free listing site such as AUCTIVA which will schedule your eBay listing for free. If your item is likely to have a large following in the US then remember that there is a time difference! An item ending at noon in the UK will be ending at 7.00am in Philadelphia or 4.00am in Los Angeles and is unlikely to attract US bidders!
12. INTERNATIONAL SALES?
Worth doing. Even if the majority of your sales are domestic offering international sales means that overseas customers may start the ball rolling and bid for your item when the auction price is low and the item is worth it even with the shipping costs. Once the ball starts rolling any WATCHERS know they have competition and are likely to place more realistic bids.
Let people know you will accept RETURNS. Providing your description is not misleading you are unlikely to get a return request and allowing returns is more likely to lead to a sale.
14. One CATEGORY? Or two?
Two is better for eBay - double the fees - but one is usually fine. Avoid OTHER as a category.
15. MARKETING OPTIONS?
GALLERY is a must have - the only exception is for commodity items where everyone knows what the item looks like and what price they would expect to pay and you are competing on cost - and it is NOW FREE.
SUBTITLE can be useful if you really cannot squeeze all the SEARCH TERMS you would like into the TITLE (see above!)
BOLD, HIGHLIGHT, FEATURED and GALLERY FEATURED - I can't get excited about these other options - we've experimented with them but without much effect.
The exception is INTERNATIONAL SITE VISIBILITY which is relatively inexpensive and can be useful if your item is likely to have a strong following in the US and Canada. But see the previous section when timing your auctions for an overseas market.
Well, I hope you found one or two of these Rules of Thumb useful! If you did can I ask you to let me know by clicking the box below.
Happy Selling, Dennis.