We are all here with a common goal, to build our new and / or existing business activities, below is a quick guide to both ebay and getting your website found and ranked in search engines, we will start with the basics, some of which may be known to the more experienced but I will try to include something to help everybody, even if you can only pick up one or two tips it could still help to convert into sales so it's still well worth it!
Using EBAY and other auction sites / marketplaces in your favour:
So, I want to sell online and was thinking about ebay, what's the best way to go about it?
Starting out on ebay is a great idea as there is already a massive potential market for your product(s) and a large customer base to sell to, here are a few do's and don'ts:
- DON'T just 'chuck it on ebay and see what happens'
- DO use a template, there are some good free ones but custom is better and makes you stand out and look more professional, one that links to other listings / store, about us (me page), add to favourites, etc. is even better still.
- DO (as above) have a 'me' page set up, say a little about yourself, your experience and the business, you can also put a link to your sites homepage here.
- DO Clearly state your term & condidions, also clearly state your shipping & returns policy, this can help give potential cutomers confidence in buying from you.
- DON'T Just use manufacturers description, by all means include it, but also include something more unique in your descriptions, even if it's just describing the item in your own words, also, accurately describe the item condition, this can help reduce problems later.
- DO Describe your item as accurately as possible, using actual product pictures where possible, again, this helps to display the condition of the actual item.
- DON'T assume potential buyers will read the whole listing, many skim over descriptions at best.
So, I have my ebay all set up, Is it worth having a website too?
- DO Highlight key points which you want to stand out, put them in bold or even better in another colour.
In short - YES!
The answer here is simple, from selling on ebay this can be used as one of many techniques of marketing your website, thus avoiding ebays fees further down the line and growing your direct conversions.
I will be getting more into that amongst other advertising and marketing techniques a little further down.
Making the Most Out of Advertising, Tips & Techniques:
There are many forms of maketing which are available to be utilised for the promotion of our businesses, here I am only going to touch on some of the most popular (and proven) forms of internet marketing:
- Email Marketing: Exactly how it sounds, and to many, quite obvious, but you would be suprised at the amount of people that either don't use this or do but use it incorrectly, email anyone that has 'opted in' to be emailed, do NOT send unsolicited emails or 'spam'. Make your emails look professional, use html and images and concentrate on the layout and overall feel of the email, then step back, look as a customer, would it entice you? if yes then well done, but if no, scrap it and start again, if something is worth doing it's worth doing right.
- Blog / Forum Marketing: Again, often misused, don't simply go spamming blogs and forums with your links, they will almost always get removed or at very least buried amongst other comments, they are also annoying to the blog owner, instead why not contact the blog or forum owner asking if you can place a link or small banner, you will be suprised how many may say yes for a small fee.
- Viral Marketing: use Viral marketing to create a 'buzz' about your business, products and / or services, this can be done in several ways, Email (to your 'opt in' list), Video (youtube & other video sites) or Interactive (surveys are a good way to do this). Make sure what you are pushing is good enough to get talked about, making you 'THE' place to go for your product / service.
- Link Building: Use links or more importantly backlinks from other sites to promote your business, the higher quality the source the more value your links will have, so choose wisely, ignore the misconception 'the more the better' as this simply is NOT the case, quality can and does often win over quantity.
- Affiliate Marketing: This is where you get other people advertising your product / service, offering reward on a per sale, per lead, or per referral basis, which is best for you obviously depends on your business type.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is where site owners edit their websites to allow search engines to better read and index their websites, getting this right or wrong can and does make all the difference, good SEO is NOT a set up and leave operation, search engines often change their criteria, so you need to adapt with it.
- Pay Per Click (PPC): Google Adwords is the biggest and most well known site for PPC advertising, this can prove very effective if done correctly but very expensive if done wrong, here are a few things to take into consideration: Use targeted keywords as generic keywords can lose you money, target your audience, select the zones which you want your ad to be displayed, seems obvious but you will be suprised how many people forget and end up targeting places they don't even ship to, use titles that are relevent as opposed to intriguing, you want people to click because they want what you have on offer, not just to find out what it is, also repeat title words in the text to give them strength, this will again save you money, and last but not least, set a budget, this is for 2 reasons, 1, if it's not working out too well you control what you 'lose', or as i prefer to call it the cost of your learning curve, and 2, if you do hit what works then you can up your budget to as much as you can afford, a little known fact is a higher budget can help you get higher 'sponsored results'.
- Article Marketing: This can help in many ways when done correctly, a few reasons why article writing is a worthy component of your advertising campaign: If on credible sites the backlinks can help with rankings on search engines, your articles reach a receptive audience, therefore, people reading are itnerested in what they are reading about, therefore a greater chance for conversion, it builds credibility for you / your business, not only for you as an author but for being a dominant figure in your field, and lastly, it's free, so it costs nothing but your time to give it a try.
- Social Networking: Never underestimate the power of social neworking for advertising your business, this form of advertising when done correctly will only get bigger and better, use social networking to build brand awareness, develop relationships, build your reputation and show a little of the person behind the business, add some 'fun value' to yourself / your business, we're all human and sometimes that personal approach can go down well, not saying anything goes but it is fine to let your hair down a little, find the right balance and it can be very successful.
- Podcasting: A great way to show that you are an authoritive figure in your field, create downloadable podcasts about things relevent to your business, people download these and keep them on their computers, sometimes even use them for presentations, etc. so, get yourself not only seen but heard!
- Banner Advertising: Not forgetting banner advertising, although not quite as popular as it once was, when used in conjunction with an integrated marketing campaign this can still be very effective, and due to its decrease in popularity the associated costs are also coming down in many places, and avoid pop up banners, these are just annoying and get blocked on a high percentage of computers.
- EBAY: Yup, ebay, when used correctly ebay can be a great way to drive visitors to your website, you can do this by including a link to your website in end of auction emails, maybe even send a code for a discount if ordering direct from your website, this can either be via an email or a compliments slip or leaflet in with the package, you can even simply print a discount code on your invoice, but remember, the more professional you come accross the more likelihood of those all important conversions, this is why many people use leaflets to do this.
Here are a few quick tips to high quality backlinks:
- Word Of Mouth: Again, this one seems obvious, but provide an excellent service, before and after the sale, don't back out on returns and refunds if they are due, treat as YOU would like to be treated if you were the customer, this can all help in people saying "I got one of those from ------- Great service, good price, answered all my questions and the delivery time was amazing"
A member asked how to go about getting high quality backlinks, so I thought I would also add the answers here to keep it all together:
What makes a good backlink?
How do you tell if a link is Dofollow or Nofollow?
- Dofollow links are better than nofollow links, though a mix of both is recommended as this normally works best for general marketing especially if linked on relevent sites, blogs, article sites a nofollow link can still help bring visitors.
- Try to get as many links as you can on high ranking websites, if the actual page containing your link is highly ranked, better still
- Use your keywords as the backlink, obvious to some, not so obvious to others, primary keywords being the best to use, but a good campaign will use targeted backlinks for various keywords and / or pages.
- Again, Article writing, get a good article published on a good website that's highly ranked and many will allow up to 3 links per article (but always check with the ezine first)
- Highly ranked blogs or forums can also be a good backlink source, with the owners permission of course.
There are many plugins for your browser to help you find out which links are no-follow and do-follow, I use SEO Quake which is aplug in for firefox, chrome and safari browsers, it basically puts a line through no-follow links so you know.
Another way would be to check the page source (firefox - tools > page source, IE - tools > source), and see if the html for the link says 'rel=nofollow', if it doesn't it's dofollow.
What is the difference between no-follow and do-follow?
The difference between no-follow and do-follow is basically mainly for google pagerank
As standard, any link placed is a do-follow unless a piece of html code is placed which would then make it no-follow
A no-follow link will have no bearing on improving search ranking with certain search engines (such as google), it won't make it worse but it just won't make it better either as it adds no extra value to the link placed, basically it is meant to reduce what is known as search engine 'spam', therefore improving the quality of results when searching.
If someone places a do-follow link to your site this does add extra value and as such will help to improve your pagerank
Sites such as google have filters in place which try to determine whether a site owner is purchasing do-follow links on high ranking websites, and if they suspect you of this they can actually decrease your pagerank as it would be considered as spamming, unfortunately google do sometimes get this wrong, however, this is why I always recommend when promoting your site via backlinks to get a good mix of both no-follow and do-follow.
Google don't have a massive problem with webmasters buying and selling links per se, though they do actually ask that such links are no-follow to avoid pagerank manipulation, so if purchasing do-follow links ALWAYS ensure that there is a mix of no-follow, basically to make the do-follow links look more natural because if they don't this could actually HARM your ranking instead of improve it.
I hope this has helped some of you to get custom / more custom, it is not difinitive by any means or it would have had to have been alot longer, it is just here to inform you of your options and hopefully give some of you 'food for thought' regarding your business and more importantly, your marketing and advertising options.
All The Best!