Making Financial Room for Marketing Improvements

Something that somewhat tends to be overlooked for online sellers is marketing. Maybe because marketing for many is connected to expensive online banners or magazine ads. But this does not have to be the case, and it’s certainly not true when it comes to marketing for online sellers. Because while you are probably selling on Amazon or eBay because their brands are helping you sell more in the first place, there’s plenty of stuff you can do.


A very important marketing tool for online sellers is doing SEO. This does not only go for Google, for the online seller SEO should also mean Search eBay Optimization. Or wherever you’re selling. The point is, that the keywords you use can determine whether or not you’ll show up in search results when people search for your product. If you’re selling skirts we will therefore recommend you to not just put ‘skirt’ in when describing your product, as odds are no one will ever find it. Add more details such as the material, length or whatever else may be of interest to your customers.

A great tool to use as well is Linnworks. They’re a multi-channel service company, and their system provides great tools to investigate relevant keywords. Using this system you can look at competitors’ key-words as well as look up what buyers have searched for previously. Getting good at this can massively enhance your sales.

Personalised marketing

A few weeks back it was a great subject on the UK eBay Seller LinkedIn group. Should you make it personal? If you ask us, we’ll say ‘oh yeah’! Because why not? If you have a nice hand-writing, wow that’s great, but that’s not necessarily what personal means. A little printed card can make a huge difference. This is especially important because what too many sellers forget is that many buyers never even acknowledge that they just purchased something from a specific seller, they just bought something ‘somewhere on eBay’. Make sure they know they bought the product from you! It may take some time and money to get them designed, but once it’s done it can make a huge difference. And don’t forget, your feedback score could also benefit.

UK eBay sellers Linkedin group


Even though you may not sell through your own site, you can still make it yours. This is important for several reasons. First of all, your customers will remember you if you stand out. Second of all it will make you more credible as a seller, if it’s obvious that you’re serious about what you’re doing. According to Frootion a better design can increase your sales by up to 30%. While this may be one of the more expensive options, it’s really worth considering if an improvement in design could benefit your business. This also gives you the opportunity of trying out different things, perhaps preparing to open your own website and creating your own identity.

E-mail marketing

Some people claim that e-mail marketing is so 90s. We definitely don’t agree with that. E-mail marketing can be extremely efficient, if you do it well. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect recipe, but a few things can certainly ease the experience. Make it personal. No “dear buyer” or “calling all sellers”. You have the customer’s name. Use it. Do you know anything about him or her? Do you know what they bought earlier? Online web shops often use customers’ previous purchases to tailor make e-mail marketing. And you know what? This works! People love it when you know what they want. It makes them feel really special and they will almost always take a sneak peak, just to see what it is you picked out for them.

Other e-mail marketing could be letting your customers know if you receive new stock of a popular product or if you open your own website or have gone to other platforms. Only one rule; no spam.

Social media

You have heard this so many times before, so there’s no reason to repeat everything one more time. Nonetheless social media is essential to any online marketer. The possibilities are many. Facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and the list goes on. We would recommend that you don’t get on to all of them at once, because if there’s one thing you have to do when you go social, it’s go all the way. There are no half solutions. Brain storm which platforms will work better for you. Consider who your target audience is. Consider your product. Consider yourself. Many people find that social media platforms turn out to be great sales tools, so there’s definitely no reason not to explore these platforms. At iwoca we have also explored other ways to use social media for eBay sellers.

Facebook groups


“Well, this all sounds great, but it’s not free…”. If that’s what you’re thinking right now, well… you’re right. Some of the examples mentioned above will cost you either in terms of time or money. While return on marketing can be difficult to measure (and especially when it hasn’t been executed yet), you should try to predict the financial future of these implementations. Something like social media or personalised marketing will take time out of your calendar, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

With regards to implementations of systems like Linnworks or using Frooition you need to consider if what you can make from it will be financially sustainable.

ecommerce systems

For example, if a Frooition design will increase your sales by 30%, how long will it take for you to make up for the price of the design? If you suspect you’ll be retired by that time, then maybe you shouldn’t go down that path right now.

So while marketing may seem like someone only suited for large corporations, this is certainly not the case. If you try, you will see that you can do just as well as any corporation if you find the right way.

Have you tried any of the strategies above? Let us know via comments!

Camilla is the community manager at iwoca, a limited London based startup that provides instant working capital to commercial eBay sellers. Visit thei...
I have tried most of the above with varying success, but have definitely made conversions!

I couldn't agree more regarding the email marketing, making it personal definitely helps, I also found that linking to a survey about a recent purchase was a great way to build confidence, and therefore, repeat custom, in fact I even wrote a blog post and example email about that very thing:

Not atttempting to detract from your very informative article, if anything this only extends on what you have written above.
    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for sharing. A limited budget is definitely not a license for spamming! :)

    Asking customers for a survey is a good and inexpensive strategy, I personally love answering these whenever I feel happy about a purchase. It's my way of thanking the seller and helping them improve further.

    I'd also think asking buyers for feedback lets them know they are important to your business and you are actively working on to become better.
      Couldn't agree more Lace, this is why I adapted the strategy that I did, and either send a survey, or just ask for feedback on their experience, ok, I generally include a newsletter sign up link, but obviously it would be the customers choice whether they want to or not, the basically get one message relevant to their purchase, then that's it, they will not hear again unless they subscribe to do so, cold spamming, or unrelated emails will generally do more harm that good, as does coming across as being too pushy, being both personal and genuine is key I believe.
    Hi Gary

    Interesting article, very informative. Thanks for sharing.
    A fun story. Yesterday we received an e-mail at the iwoca offices from an eBay seller that we previously purchased bean bag chairs from. The e-mail said that the chairs were now on sale and held pictures of six different types of chairs. And you know what? We actually ended up buying three new chairs. If we hadn't received that e-mail there's no way of saying if we had returned to that specific seller, but he made it easy for us to find him again. It was brilliant!

    It's great to see that sellers are already trying out these things, I do believe that it's worth spending a bit of time and as you say, some things may work and others may not, but you'll definitely learn from it.

    Happy Easter Gary!
      Another great example of how the personal approach can work, sure, not everybody will buy more, but it just goes to show just how much it can help, even a low percentage of conversions counts for a lot, especially to the smaller business, more so because smaller businesses generally have more time to keep the personal approach, it doesn't take long but as a customer I like to feel like a person and not a statistic, and I try to reflect this back into my business, and always have treated as I would like to be treated.
  • C
    Clark Harrison
  • March 28th, 2013
Thank you for those strategies in marketing. Noticed that Email marketing is still good for business. Will be sending out newsletters good enough assuming that personalized emails may get too time consuming? Thinking that it might not be worth it since some people just disregard emails and too often emails are flagged as spam.
    Hi Clark,

    True, sending each of your customers a personalize email is simply time consuming! A newsletter that digest new offerings and even discounts for loyal patrons is a better idea. Remember though that they need to opt in to receive anything from your end. See Gary's comment below ;)

    Hi Clark

    You're right, it can be a lot of work. I don't have a link to your store, so I don't know what you're selling. Doing personalized e-mails is probably easier if you have a narrow range of products, because then you can do multi-personalized e-mailing ;-)
    Newsletters it definitely not a bad idea, but yes as Lace says, make sure people have opted in on it first. If you haven't, you can always consider sending some type of newsletter with your packages. If you spend a little time designing it, that could actually be really cool. As far as I'm aware there are no rules about that.

    Good luck with your sales!

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