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Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Auction Tip #36 - #40

Auction Tip #36: Use The Bold Title Option

Make your item standout by listing it in bold. Items highlighted in bold are 50% more likely to sell. For some items it is a cost-effective alternative to featuring your auctions. Test what works for your particular item.

Auction Tip #37: Conservative Pricing

When playing it safe, set the minimum price for your item just slightly lower than what you think it might be worth. This will encourage opening bids on the item. The first bid is always the hardest one to get. Don't start too low, though, because the rules state that you are obligated to sell the item for that amount if the minimum is met.

Auction Tip #38: Free Advertising For Your Auction

You can tell other people on the Internet about your auctions. By actively driving extra traffic to your auctions you'll find that your Dutch auctions will do much better. Use signatures and post to appropriate newsgroups, message boards. Use email (not spam), search engines or whatever works. You can promote individual auctions, your about me page, or a website that sells your products or directs visitors to your auctions.

Auction Tip #39: Avoid Using Private And Reserve Auctions

Buyers are especially cautious of bidding when info is held back from them. Most informed eBayer's can't stand reserve auctions unless your item is one of kind. Bidders will always prefer straight auctions to reserve. Private and reserve auctions will limit the number of bidders you'll have for your item.

Reserve prices assure you your item won't sell for below a certain amount. But since the reserve price is not made public, this will turn off bidders. Suppose you set a reserve price of $50, and a bidder is willing to spend $49, if he knew your minimum was $50, he might just bid that extra dollar. Not having a reserve price is a selling point. Announce it loud and clear.

Auction Tip #40: Readability Rules For Descriptions (and Email)

1) Use a short opening paragraph.

2) Short sentences make firm friends!

3) Make your paragraphs less than 5 or 6 lines.

4) Underline or boldface important words or phrases.

5) Include attention-boosters: questions, news items, promise...

6) Ask for the bid at the end of the description.

7) Use positive language.

Auction Tip #31 - #35

Auction Tip #31: When The Buyer Lives Out Of The Country

Be careful when receiving foreign funds. Always insist that they pay by credit card or send an international money order. Remember to pick up some customs forms from the post office in advance to save yourself some time.

Auction Tip #32: Stay In Contact With The Buyer

When auction ends, quickly email the buyers with the final price, shipping, total cost, and your address. To reassure your customer, email them when you receive their payment. This is important for their peace of mind and they'll thank you later in feedback and repeat business.

You'll also score well with the buyer if you send them an email when you ship their goods. Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing. Even go so far as to follow up a few days later to see if everything is all right… you'll earn very loyal customers by doing this

Auction Tip #33: Keep Your Auctions Going

EBay bidders usually wait until the last minute to bid. I wouldn't let anyone persuade me to end early unless they made me an insane offer. If I do then I'll miss having my auctions go through the "going, going, gone" and "ending today" listings- categories that eBayer's browse heavily.

Auction Tip #34: Using The "Category Featured" Option

You’ll want your item listed on the first page of your selected category's listings. Category featured listings are 66% more likely to sell. The cost is $14.95- if you’re running Dutch auctions then it’s definitely worth it- the amount of traffic you receive is much greater.

Auction Tip #35: Avoid Misunderstanding

Before email, the only time a written letter was sent or received was when you were writing to a person you know well or a letter to complain. Emotion and character is easily misconstrued with email. Keeping in contact will solve most problems with the transaction.

Auction Tip #25 - #30

Auction Tip #26: Online Customer Service Rules

1) Your customers are everything. Try running your business without them.

2) Your customer is always right. Never tell them they are otherwise.

3) Go the extra mile...it is worth more than all the paid advertising you can afford.

4) Return emails promptly. If you can’t, set up an autoresponder to tell your enquirers you’ll get back to them soon.

5) Under-promise and over-deliver in everything you do.

6) Never criticize your customers directly or indirectly!

7) Make the auction process extremely simple for the customer.

8) Follow up the day after the sale and one week after. Ask if there’s anything more you can do for your buyer.

Auction Tip #27: Watching Wording

Snipers don't have the time to email you about condition or vague info. Some buyers only look at items going off auction that day. Be careful what words you use to describe your item.

Be honest and avoid wording that will inflate your items value. It always backfires on those who make a habit of abusing words-

Auction Tip #28: Know Your Product

If I wrongly describe my item, some buyers will be leery of bidding. Buyers want professional sellers. The more information you have and use, the more credible you'll become in the buyers eyes.

Auction Tip #29: Include Shipping Costs In Descriptions

Some sellers have a tactic where they charge unfair shipping and handling fees. Sometimes they omit critical info in the ad and fill in the blanks at the auction end. EBayer's have been protesting this from day one and these seller don't last long-

Explain everything, costs and all in your item description in such a way that there can be no confusion... If you charge handling- make it known too.

Auction Tip #30: Always Insure And Pack Well

By law, I'm to blame for broken items due to my bad packing. Buyers have no control over how I pack an item. Carriers hardly ever accept liability for broken items. It's my job to see to it that they get their item in one piece and on time- Let's make sure we do everything to see to it that this happens.

Auction Tip #21 - #25

Auction Tip #21: Use Delivery Confirmation

Rest easy at night and get delivery confirmation when you ship your valuable items. Some buyers will receive an item and say they didn't get it and demand a refund. You can cover the cost of delivery confirmation in your shipping charge. It only costs an extra .35 cents. You can email the tracking number to the customer so they can track the package.

Auction Tip #22: Send Customers The Auction Number

At the end of the auction include the auction number with the end of auction notice. Place the number in the subject line so you can easily track emails. Your customer may also be bidding on multiple auctions. Doing this will prevent confusion for you both.

Auction Tip #23: Your Listing Schedule

Do you always start and end your auctions at the best times? Always have auctions start and stop when traffic is the heaviest. If you make a listing schedule and stick to it then you’ll get much better results on your auctions.

Auction Tip #24: Double-Check Your Title

Check to see that your item title has no spelling errors. Buyers mainly use the search engine to locate their item of interest. Search saves them lot of time and can pick up items placed in the wrong category.

If my spelling is incorrect, the search function will not work. Therefore, I'll have lost all buyers using the search function. This will kill my auction like a doornail.

The good news is, if you catch misspelling before the first bid, you can always go back and revise it.

Auction Tip #25: Use A Spell Checker

With item descriptions, emails, titles and whatever else you write use a spell checker and grammar checker. Poor spelling and bad grammar will turn off some people. Even if it doesn't matter to them, it still upsets the flow of your message and confuses the reader. We want to make a great impression and get our message across. Let's check the things we write.

Auction Tip #16 - #20

Auction Tip #16: Remember To Say Thanks

Send a thank-you note/receipt email to your customer every time they pay. Include your eBay user name and telephone so they can contact you if they need to. Kindly ask them to leave feedback in your email. Include a convenient link to the feedback forum, and 9 times out of 10 they will drop a good word for you.

Auction Tip #17: Make Your Description Complete

When making your item description make it as complete as possible. Many people find your auction through the search engine, so use as complete and descriptive headline with good keywords too- this will make your listing easy to find for the person looking for your item.

Leave no stone unturned- if I neglect to mention some crucial piece of info bidders will steer clear due to uncertainty. If I'm selling a computer game, forgetting to mention if it’s for a PC or Mac will spawn a lot of email. It will attract the wrong bidders and deter the right ones. I may even have bidders who own Mac’s buying my PC game…

Auction Tip #18: Don’t Overcharge On Shipping

This is one of the more common causes of negative feedback. We only charge what it normally costs you to pack and ship. Buyers are sensitive in this area. If I make a habit of gouging my customers on shipping costs, I'll lose my credibility and any chance for repeat business.

Auction Tip #19: Be Cautious

Be careful about leaving negative feedback for bidders that may deserve it. Go out of your way to clear things up before you decide to do so. It's normal for bidders to strike back with their own negative and unfair comments. Always try to find some other solution. Don’t leave negative feedback unless they blatantly defraud you- if they don’t pay, either leave neutrals or no comments.

Auction Tip #20: Make Your Customer Your Passion

Treat your customers and potential customers like royalty and they'll reward you. Your repeat business depends upon your customers. They are your main concern. Your customers are more important than your product or any short-term profit you make. Make it your passion to cater specifically to their wants.

Auction Tip #11 - #15

Auction Tip #11: Save Time At The Post Office

If you don’t have much time to spend at the post office, prepare in advance. You can have all of your mailing supplies sent to you by the USPS. Visit http://www.usps.com for more details.

Auction Tip #12: Don’t Hold Personal Checks As A Policy

Bounced checks are rare. Since your future as a seller depends on the service you provide, being quick and trusting is always going to pay off tenfold in the long run.

So, hold checks only when the item is highly valuable, or when the user has a bad feedback history. Most eBayer’s are trustworthy- just check their record if you’re uncertain. Bounced checks are hardly ever blatant- mostly just carelessness.

Most buyers will acknowledge the mistake and make up for it.

Auction Tip #13: Price Straight Auctions Low To Build A Crowd

Do you have a good item that you KNOW will sell well? Start it off at a penny. This will get you healthy early bidding. You want a large group around the item; some will be competitive bidders- people who will pay extra just for the thrill of winning.

For instance, let’s say you started an auction for a silver dollar at a penny. At the end of the auction you may have 35 people that have bid. Handfuls are hawking it trying to win; they've waited all week to duke it out for this coin. If I started the same coin at $100 then I may only have 3 bids at the end. My chances for irrational bidding have just dropped through the floor.

At the end of the auction the fervor will kick in if you priced low and have a good product. You'll commonly get more for your item than someone who priced theirs higher, because your auction has more bidders watching.

Auction Tip #14: The UPS Will Stop By Too

To make life easier on yourself look into having a mail service come by to pick up your packages. The UPS charges $6/week for daily pickups. They will also email your customer with the delivery date and provide you with shipping label software and printer. Doing these kinds of things will save you time and money.

Auction Tip #15: A Picture Says It All

Photos make you and your item credible. The better you are with your camera the more bids you’re going to get. Take several photos of important aspects of the item, flaws and all. If your teapot has crack in it be sure to take a picture of that as well.

Also remember; by inserting a photograph of the item you are selling you get a 'Pic' graphic next to your item description. Bidders will see the 'Pic' symbol and will be more inclined to visit. If they can see the item, you'll get more bids.

Auction Tip #6 - # 10

Auction Tip #6: Use Email Shortcuts

Sometimes ‘canning messages’ will not cover everything- use a program like Shortkeys to type repetitive phrases and sentences. By smartly using email shortcuts and canned messages you'll cut your time responding to email down by 90%. You'll also avoid typos of key info like your auctions link or shipping address. You can get a free version of the program at:

http://www.shortkeys.com

Auction Tip #7: Personalize Email Responses

When I use canned responses or shortcuts, I try to make them as personable as I can. Try plugging the persons name into the reply. Let's make our message sound as warm as it would if you were talking to them face to face.

Auction Tip #8: Automate To The Max

When it comes to selling on the net, this is the Golden Fleece. With auctions, we want to automate as many things as we can that repeat. This will allow us to get more work done in less time.

Progress here will drastically improve your bottom line. It takes time to learn everything you need to become more efficient, so keep trying. Master services like Andale to give your auctions a boost.

Use this service correctly and you'll explode your auction sales. With Andale you can save time on just about every aspect of the auction process- look into it… oh yeah, you get $20 for signing up and $20 for everyone you refer!

http://www.andale.com

Auction Tip #9: Never Delete Email

Throwing email away will come back haunt us, unless the message is spam. Spam is going to haunt us whether you throw it away or not. Keep your emails for reference in the future. Back it up it from time to time and clean your email boxes out to stay organized.

Auction Tip #10: Honesty Is The Best Policy

Make one virtue for yourself on eBay- and that's honesty. If I'm a little late getting the package in the mail... I want to tell my customer. You’ll always be forgiven and spared the negative feedback if you fess up. They'll thank you for being straight with them- and reward you with generous feedback.

Auction Tip #1 - #5

Auction Tip #1: Buyers Demand Easy Payment Options

As sellers, we want to offer every payment option imaginable. It's convenient for our customer and we'll also make much more money. Let's cater to their preferences. Here are 2 reasons we want to do this:

Firstly, it lowers the chance that our buyer will become a deadbeat. If I offer payment options that they aren't comfortable with, I may turn a would-be buyer into a non-payer.

Secondly, you'll be able to snag those easy sales that come outside of the auction arena. This is so important- not every buyer will have Paypal. What do I do when they want to pay by credit card at the drop of a dime? What do I do if I don't have merchant accounts?

If you're flexible and cover all possible pay types you'll be able to make profits that pass others by...

Here are the payment options sellers on eBay offer:

  • · Paypal
  • · Personal Check or Money Order
  • · Credit Cards by email, secure server, phone and fax
  • · Billpoint
  • · Electronic Checks (a new service that eBay offers)

Needless to say, four of those you'll have no problem with- it's merchant accounts that may be some trouble; don't let it- it's easier to get them than you think. I'll show you how in the next topic.

Auction Tip #2: Over 75% of eBayer's Use Paypal

Hands down, Paypal is the most popular method of payment on auction sites. It's also a free service and easy to use. You'll have no transaction fees taking away from your hard earned money- You can get by with Paypal and Billpoint handling your credit card needs. Sign up for Paypal today and start taking credit card orders instantly- plus you'll get $5 for opening and account and $5 for anyone you refer.

Auction Tip #3: Getting Set Up With Merchant Accounts

It's not difficult or as expensive as you may think. It's a good idea to have them- with merchant accounts you'll be able to process a customers credit card either manually yourself or automatically by secure server on your website.

You'll be able to take advantage of sales that other sellers miss out on. It also will give your business a much-needed boost in credibility. People will trust you more when they know you have your own merchant account. That will pay off.

Time will come quickly when you'll want to have them. They are crucial to growing your business online... with merchant accounts you'll be able to process order automatically at your website- this will take a huge load off and free you for other things...

I got my merchant accounts in less than a week from Total Merchant Services. I didn't have great credit at the time and I was approved instantly- they have a 98% approval rate and are recognized as a leader in Internet merchant services; they are well worth looking into:

http://www.marketingtips.com/creditcards/index.html

Auction Tip #4: Use An Email Signature

One great free way to promote your auction business is by using a signature. Signatures are six to eight line "footers" at the end of your email messages and newsgroup or discussion board post. All email programs support them. Take advantage of this cheap and effective means of advertising your listings...

You can also use a signature to promote your auctions, website or whatever you feel is necessary. Considering the number of messages you'll be sending and receiving, you won't want to pass this up!

Auction Tip #5: ‘Can’ Your Email

You'll receive many of the same questions by email over and over again. Make a good canned message (or template as some call them) to use for responses to typical questions and for questioning others.

This will save you loads of time. Have your responses prepared ahead of time and you'll free up large chunks of every day. Spend your time taking care of business and not drowning in email.