Simple ways to ensure your titles attract more bidders, buyers and high finishing prices on eBay
PLUS: How to build a list on and off the Internet
Title is the most important part of a listing – it determines whether a listing is found and opened and ultimately makes a sale.
This is because search terms are usually matched to words in titles and not to descriptions or other parts of a listing. So if ‘wedding gift’ features in all your titles, then your listings should respond to most searches for ‘wedding gift’. The opposite might happen where your titles omit that term and use similar-meaning terms like ‘bride and groom gift’, ‘bridal present’, ‘gift for bride’.
The exception is important keywords used in subtitles that are search-engine-responsive and sometimes used for search terms placed in product descriptions, which respond to people asking for descriptions to be included in their search.
But subtitles are expensive, and very few people actually do search titles and descriptions together.
So you need to take alternative steps to get your listings in search returns.
Importantly, you don’t want to stuff your titles with numerous different search terms meaning much the same thing, e.g. wedding gift, bridal present, and omit other vital search terms from your listings, such as product type, brand name, and so on.
That means you need to know which term among several similar search queries is used more frequently than its counterparts.
One way to locate high-frequency search terms is to do an advanced search for similar items sold recently on eBay and which use a term common to most highest-price sales.
Use that one term in your titles and the remaining 80 characters for product-related terms. Any leftover space in your title can be used to feature those similar terms.
More tips to get the most out of your product listing titles
- You can place similar-meaning search terms in a subtitle, but only for high-profit-margin products that are guaranteed to sell. Avoid using subtitles on low-profit items with no guarantee of selling. You should always include alternative same-meaning terms in descriptions where they will cost you nothing extra and provide some small benefit in search returns.
- eBay provides space for 80 characters in an eBay listing title: you should fill them all with words actually used in search strings, such as product purpose (gift, for example), brand name, age, or date if appropriate. Avoid using silly symbols and non-existent words that rarely match terms used in searches and only make sellers look unprofessional. The exception is subtle inclusions like using the tilde sign (~) instead of a dash or hyphen, which sometimes makes a listing stand out from otherwise identical product listings.
- Include important title keywords early to attract people who skim through search returns and don’t see beyond the first three or four words. Use mainly lower-case, with the first letter capitalised in your eBay titles, except for your most important search term or terms which can be upper case.
Like this, for example, for a print likely to appeal to people interested in specific dog breeds on work by a particular artist: ‘Print BULLDOG by CECIL ALDIN Canvas Wall Art ‘Caption’ 1927’; not this: ‘Print Canvas Wall Art ‘Caption’ 1927 Bulldog Cecil Aldin’.
- Grammar and correct sentence layout is unimportant in eBay titles. It’s wording that matters most and even disjointed words will be matched to search terms, such as where someone keys ‘London tram postcard’ into eBay’s search engine and your title looks like this: ‘Postcard TRAM Close Up LONDON Real Photographic 1907’.
How to build a list on and off the Internet
‘The money’s in the list’ is a term you’ll hear often, and it normally refers to growing a database of potential buyers for products you might promote today, tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future.
Overwhelmingly, the ‘money’s in the list’ theory works almost contrary to how many real-life traders operate, especially off the Internet. On the high street, for example, most traders wait for visitors to call and buy something: once money and product change hands buyer and seller may never meet again.
The end result is a great deal of money being lost by retailers failing to turn first-time customers into regular buyers, potentially for the lifetime of a business.
This process of either selling once or many more times after the first sale taking place is often referred to as ‘back-end selling’.
Back-end selling, for the main part, involves getting buyers and enquirers to provide their contact details and giving permission for sellers to send advice, product updates and invitations to buy more products over the months and years to come.
Let the following scenario explain how this technique works, based on businesses selling virtually any product, on or off the Internet, in this case using a primarily high-street-based seller of designer lingerie as our example.
For this illustration, imagine a caller buys £200 or £300 worth of lingerie and instead of handing over the goods and bidding the customer goodbye forever, the seller wonders how best to sell more lingerie to his visitor.
How can he accomplish that objective?
Well he could get buyers to add their contact details to a postcard for entry to a free prize draw, or to receive VIP discount tickets to a forthcoming lingerie party the seller has planned.
Alternatively, our seller could add a compliments slip to product packaging, inviting buyers to join a private members’ website offering discounts on all lingerie products purchased in future, both on and off the Internet.
Or our seller might also place a thank you slip inside product packaging, telling the customer about a free gift he or she will get for signing up to a mailing list.
Once he has those contact details and as long as he abides by data protection and email processing rules, our seller can contact list members at regular intervals to promote new designs, preferential customer discount sales, or to encourage visits to his eBay Shop selling items at a discount on high street prices.