Is this the easiest marketing tool ever?

This takes less than an hour to set up and has the potential to increase your online sales…

There are two clear categories of online seller. Those who whack a product listing up in 5 minutes flat and hope for the best, and those who take time over their listings, determined to ensure it’s absolutely perfect before hitting the submit button! Those who whack it up in 5 minutes aren’t concerned about maximising their page views, making more sales and gaining bigger profits. It’s just a case of getting it online, sitting back and waiting for the orders to arrive.

Except they don’t.

Running an online business is exactly the same as running any other business – it takes planning, effort and constant input to make it work and when I receive an email from someone who asks me why their products aren’t selling and I then discover that they have added just one line of text describing their product and omitted all the important keywords I wonder why they are actually bothering at all!

On the other side of the coin, I often receive emails from people asking for more detailed advice when they are creating their product listings online. Questions usually concern listing layouts, photo requirements, using templates, queries about different fonts and styles – and information on all of these topics can actually be found inside the members area of  The Source Report  and coincidentally ‘Keywords and Listings’ is also the subject of a webinar I’m running next week for TSR members!

Anyway, it’s obvious that creating a tip top listing is very important – as are choosing the correct keywords to ensure you remain relevant to online searches, but what I’m saying is that people often forget to ask themselves a very important question – and that is this:

What’s the point of having a product listing online whether it’s all-singing and all-dancing or if it’s just a one-liner, if it’s difficult to find online?

Whilst it’s true that by utilising eBay and Amazon as venues to sell your products you will be putting yourself in front of millions of consumers very easily, don’t forget that you can’t sit back and leave it up to eBay or Amazon to bring customers to you!

Firstly, as I’ve already mentioned, it’s your job to ensure your title keywords are relevant and your listing description is up to scratch but you should also be thinking about pro-actively marketing your products too. It’s just not enough to list your items, sit back and wait for the orders to come in.

You want more orders right?

Well, ‘marketing’ may seem like a scary word, but it’s an essential part of every business and will help you up your game.

To ease you in gently to this concept, there’s actually a very simple way you can start marketing your products which can potentially bring you more page views, and ultimately more sales.

I’m talking about ‘blogging’.

Blogging isn’t just for techies or those who feel they need to shout about something and if you are under the impression that blogging is nothing but an online and very public diary then think again! Of course, that’s where the roots of blogging began, but it has adapted and changed far beyond its initial design into something that can now be used as an incredible marketing tool for any online business.

Blogging isn’t something that’s really difficult to do either; your updates need to be personable and engaging in order to give your customers a taste of who you are, so you don’t need to act like you’re writing a 5000 word essay, but instead post some light hearted updates about your life…and here’s the important bit…about your business and your products.

I’ve said before that you should ideally choose to sell within a niche that interests you, and if that is the case then creating the odd update about the market will be easy for you – because you already have knowledge. If you stay up to date with the latest news in your field and let those following your blog know about it too then you become even more of an expert!

I can’t write!

I know it’s possible that the thought of writing anything simply terrifies the life out of you – but don’t worry. You should at least give it a try, but if you really, really can’t get your head around it then you can always consider hiring a freelance writer to put something together for you using an outsourcing website such as Elance.

You can also source content for your blog from other locations, such as article directories, other blogs, forums and even magazines; you just need to be careful if you do this always making sure you give the original author the correct credit for the information. It’s also good to supplement content from other sites with your own writing to make sure there is always something unique on your own blog.

How can a blog really help though?

I know, you’re probably thinking will this really work and give your eBay listings a boost in terms of page views and sales? Well, blogs can be invaluable in helping your online presence to grow, as well as providing you with other benefits:

  • Remember that you can put whatever you want on your blog, and this means that you can include direct links to your eBay shop or to a relevant eBay listing, so that people can visit and purchase with ease.
  • As time passes and you keep updating your blog, search engines such as Google will start to prioritise the eBay listings that you are linking to from your blog, and also the blog itself as you start to generate more content that’s useful and interesting for your readers.
  • Blogs can generate massive followings and as long as you keep it updated regularly you could soon be known as an expert within your niche. This will help prospective buyers trust you that little bit more, pushing them toward a first purchase.

Technical additions to your website such as RSS feeds mean that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be automatically updated each time you add a new post. These sites are also very powerful marketing tools!

A big advantage is that a blog gives you the opportunity to add a newsletter sign up form, where previous buyers and interested parties can sign up to receive more information from you. You can then keep in touch with genuinely interested people each time you have a new product to sell, a special offer or some useful information for them.

Millions of people go online to buy things, however a huge majority are also there looking for information. Think about it. Your blog could provide the very answers to the questions they’re asking. Let’s consider the baby niche for example. A parent could be struggling to know what the best type of baby monitor is and your review of the top five (culminating in your suggestion which just happens to be for sale at the link provided to your eBay shop) could be just what they’re looking for!

Whether they buy or not may actually be immaterial, as chances are they’ll come back to your blog when they’re looking for information on other baby products, and eventually they will see you as the expert and start following your links.

It’s not a ‘sales fest’

It’s important that you are not too sales focussed in your blog posts – by all means link back to your eBay listings and shop (after all this is the whole point) but not too frequently, and only after you’ve built up a solid foundation of posts. Visitors will see straight through you if all you ever post about is the latest product that you have for sale, whereas if you introduce really useful information they’ll keep coming back, until your gradual introduction of links sends them straight to your store.

Build trust..and make money!

Blogging is about building trust and building a relationship with your customers, so you should consider allowing visitors to post comments beneath your blog posts. If they ask a question you should reply to it – get interactive and show that you are interested in your visitors and in helping them to solve their problems – and provide them with great products.

Creating a blog is not a difficult process and there are many platforms that you can use to get started quickly and easily for absolutely no cost. Some popular examples include WordPress or Blogger.

Before you start you might find it useful to have a browse around some existing blog posts in areas that interest you. Have a read and you’ll get a feel for the type of content that other people write, as well as how often they post and how your own blog should look. Searching for blogs is easy, just visit www.google.co.uk/blogsearch and enter some keywords relating to the areas you’re interested in.

If you haven’t set up a blog for your online selling business yet I really do recommend it. You don’t need to update it every day so it needn’t take up a huge amount of your time and yet adding the odd update here and there and providing useful information to your customers can do wonders to raise your online profile and build a loyal base of prospective clients.

Put it on your list of things to do!

As always I wish you the best of success,

 

 

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