How clever sellers use free information products to grow their product sales

PLUS: The public domain and how it helps you make money from specific dates

PLUS: Sell vintage pipes on eBay

All over the world people are still reluctant to place credit card orders online, despite the high security generally involved.

Thus Internet companies have to work harder to sell their products than their bricks-and-mortar high street counterparts.

One way to gain buyer confidence and increase sales is by letting website visitors download a valuable information product free of charge, in exchange for adding their contact details to the online seller’s mailing list.

Once names are added, the marketer sends emails containing useful tips and helpful advice to establish a relationship with list members, and ultimately turn them into buyers.

After a couple of weeks the emails can become more promotional in content. Then when list members realise the marketer is genuine and approachable, many will begin purchasing from him or her, in preference to spending on the high street.

These are examples of free information products designed to attract people to a website and generate confidence in the website owner:

  • Say, for instance, you are a travel agent selling discount airline tickets. It’s a highly competitive business, as you will see from hundreds of small ads placed by competing companies in countless newspapers and glossy magazines. An online seller might compete by getting people to download a free book of money-off vouchers to use at their destination, in exchange for joining the online marketer’s mailing list. Then the seller begins promoting goods and services those people might find useful at their destination.
  • Let’s say you are selling Barbie dolls at your website. Barbie dolls are immensely popular and literally thousands of companies compete for sales on and off the Internet. But you could easily attract thousands of people to your website by offering a downloadable PDF file of knitting and sewing patterns for clothes to fit Barbie. Inside your report you place links to dolls and other products available from your website.

The public domain and how it helps you make money from specific dates

Look in any magazine, vintage or modern, and you’ll find a common theme running throughout: anniversaries and seasonal articles and snippets.

The need for such contributions by millions of publications all over the world is so intense that many writers earn their entire income writing about things that happened 100 or so years ago, people (living and dead) who are celebrating an important milestone (birthdays, deaths, marriages, etc), or relating to regular events like Christmas, Bonfire Night, Easter, and so on.

All you have to do is find relevant information from the public domain that can be converted to modern day terminology, which you then use as the basis for paid letters to the editor, alongside articles, captioned photographs, recipes and poems attracting valuable gifts.

Or you could produce a range of birthday cards or scrolls containing information to interest people born in a particular year, or sharing the same star sign.

Add lucky dates and numbers, main events at the time the individual was born, famous and infamous people sharing the same birthday or star sign, and so on.

Then sell your products on eBay, Amazon, Etsy and numerous other sites.

Sell vintage pipes on eBay

Collectable pipes are commonly available in offline auction salerooms, where they can sell at prices way below their possible resale values on eBay.

Pipes from ancient times to round about the early 1900s were made from many different materials – some from clay and other inferior materials which were easily broken therefore meaning few examples remain today; others from ivory or rare woods embellished with silver and porcelain. The latter represent the highest profit potential.

Pipes made from finely carved woods, ivory and precious metals fetch the highest prices, especially with famous faces (a bowl with a portrait of Napoleon fetched £400 at a sale in Newcastle a few months back), or commemorating important events (such as military campaigns).

Among the most valuable pipes are long-stemmed designs with ornate carved bowls, sometimes decorated with silver and precious gemstones.’s recent high prices include:

  • $3,075.00 was paid for a Lars Ivarsson Pipe.
  • A large Dunhill pipe fetched $1875.
  • A Dunhill white spot briar pipe and case fetched $954.81.
  • An Ivarsson Pipe made from bamboo made $860.

A few minutes spent studying vintage pipes selling on eBay revealed the following main trends:

  • Pipes aged 100 years or more almost always attract several bidders, and good finishing prices and rarely go unsold on eBay.
  • Names like Dunhill and Ivarsson are amongst the most valued and collectable on and other eBay sites.
  • Pipes made from meerschaum are also extremely collectable: meerschaum being a porous mineral found in rock veins. Being porous, meerschaum pipes absorb nicotine and gradually grow darker, which some collectors like and some don’t. The better types are elaborately carved to represent people or animals.

The more intricate the design on pipes made from meerschaum and other valuable materials, the higher the finishing price is likely to be – such as a meerschaum pipe depicting an elephant’s head with long winding trunk and tusks that fetched £1,000 a few years ago at Christie’s, and a cheroot holder (not exactly a pipe) in the shape of two ladies sitting on a snake that fetched almost £1,500 at Sotheby’s.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this week’s eletter: I’m looking forward to creating another for you next week.

This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here