That word, 'blogging', if you're new to the Internet it looks rather technical doesn't it… something the experts might do, and probably not easy for a newcomer like you.
In reality, blogging is very easy. In non-technical terms it's pretty much like keeping a diary or journal where you enter your personal thoughts and ideas.
The only real difference is that whereas a diary usually has a physical presence, blogs are created and built online and all entries are saved and immediately available for all to see. And it is the public nature of the blog that is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. So how can the openness of blogging be very good, also potentially very bad for you as an eBay Seller?
Let's start with the good.
The benefits of blogging are numerous and can boost your eBay profits in a number of ways:
- Someone who blogs daily on the subject of whatever products they're selling on eBay, Amazon and in other markets, will be creating valuable backlinks to their promotions and helping their product listings rank higher in search engine returns. So if, for example, you're selling collectable fountain pens on eBay, you might create postings for your blog focussing on various keywords and phrases people actually use to locate sellers of fountain pens online. Create enough postings based on these keywords and your eBay, and other market listings can be returned several times in the first page of search engine returns.
- Blogging helps turn people who might buy your product into people who can't wait to buy it. Let me tell you how that happens based on a blog posting by a well known American writer and eBay PowerSeller who blogs about various ways to sell Amazon products as an affiliate without ever mentioning the product concerned, and certainly never recommending it by name! The trick to this technique is to avoid the reader realising he is being cajoled into buying something and instead make him believe the decision to buy is entirely his own.
What's the benefit of that? Well if a person makes the decision to buy, and if something goes wrong, that person won't blame you and get nasty or stop reading your blog or buying your products.
My friend uses this technique in his blog postings: he talks about specific problems and how they might be solved, while making just veiled reference to the person credited with a particular solution. That person is the author of a book that shows to the side of the blog posting in a way that looks like Amazon placed it there, not the blogger! The buyer finds that book almost by accident, as he matches the name mentioned in the posting with the name on the book cover, and yes, like I did he'll be keen to read a few pages from the book through Amazon's sample chapter system. And he'll probably buy it.
Very clever! So where's the big blogging problem?
The answer depends on how you use your blog and what precautions you use to help you overcome experiences like the following, encountered by a colleague of mine a short while back:
This Top-Rated eBay seller who had thousands of positive feedback points, had just taken a phone call from a buyer who'd received his product only to find it didn’t work and was unable to return it that day as he lives five miles from the post office.
Not a problem my friend said, return it any time within seven days and "I'll refund your payment."
Not possible. The buyer couldn't return the package for at least two weeks.
My friend, still adding comments to his blog, mentioned 'other people wanting to buy the product' and 'couldn't you make a special trip', which is when the conversation turned nasty with the buyer leaving negative feedback while the telephone call progressed.
The seller retaliated by blogging about the buyer, making several derogatory comments and telling the caller where to read them online.
Yes, it's very childish, and the spat continued several minutes more until one party slammed down the phone and considered the problem over.
But it wasn't over and...
Well, this article isn't about what happened next, it's about trying to remain cool, calm, collected and professional at all times, even when your buyer is less than perfect.
It's also about avoiding a 'cease and desist' email from eBay telling you to remove comments made about other members outside the eBay system and giving you less than a day to oblige or face temporary suspension from the site.
Which is what happened to my friend who immediately removed the comments made about his irate buyer and waited to see what eBay's next step might be.
In fact nothing else happened, literally nothing else because the incident caused my friend to finish work early and recuperate in the pub.
To make matters worse, when the product came back it was obviously defective, and it came with a message from the buyer saying he had telephoned to arrange a replacement product, not to claim a refund! But, given the seller's attitude, he'd have a refund instead and buy from someone more caring on eBay.
And that is one example of how blogging can have serious and very unprofitable consequences on eBay!
In retrospect, how could he have better handled the telephone call?
Well first and foremost it's wise to remove temptation, by placing the keyboard out of reach, for example, leaving the seller to focus on the telephone conversation and listen to the buyer. I mean really listen, not just pay lip service.
You see there's a very big difference between “listening” and listening, one being where you hear the other person talking, the second where you're analysing what he says and trying to be helpful.
It's listening with brain primed to help your buyer that matters most on eBay!
FOOTNOTE - and really just for a laugh!
That story reminds me of what 'listening' meant to my boss in the personnel department of a major engineering factory more than thirty years ago. Here's the story that saved a threatened all out strike and meant the company got to fulfil a huge order from a middle eastern country.
The unions threatened to strike unless they got extra pay for the rush job, so my boss called them into the office, where the union leader talked about why the men needed the extra pay and why they were entitled to it.
My boss nodded through the whole thing, presumably agreeing with union reps, and every few minutes saying 'I'm listening', which the union reps took to mean he agreed with them (which is also what it sounded like to me). The reps called off the strike, the engines were made and shipped out, then soon afterwards the reps called back to discuss extra pay on the basis of all the nodding and listening taking place at the earlier meeting.
But there was to be no pay rise because, as my boss pointed out, 'I only said I was listening, I never said I agreed with you. You assumed that!'
by Avril Harper
eBay Trading Expert
Avril Harper is the editor of eBay Confidential and helps new and expert eBay traders find ways to increase their eBay profits. You can sign up for her free weekly eletter here:
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