Untapped Marketing Resources: Growing Your Own E-Biz With EBay

EBay is one of the most powerful marketing tools around, but all too many small business owners are missing out on the opportunities it affords. Whether your business is online or brick-and-mortar, eBay is a tremendous promotional resource that you really can’t afford to overlook. It’s critical to your business success that you incorporate the traffic-heavy auction site as an ongoing part of your business strategy. Why Does eBay Matter? Explains Jim Cockrum, president of http://SilentJim.com, “Use eBay as your sales machine—if you put an item up for sale there, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people are going to see it. EBay is one of the top ten most visited web sites on the planet and the only one that’s not a search engine.” Whether your main sales venue is a physical storefront, or your own online store, eBay still provides several sources for generating leads for your outside business: • Use your eBay sales to build your mailing list. Every item you sell on eBay is a lead for future business. With each sale, you should be growing your email database so you can make recurring transactions with that customer. So many eBay sellers who’ve made thousands of transactions over the years have never used those transactions to build a customer database with which to build an email list. You need those lists to keep in touch with your buyers—you are building long-term customer relationships. The key is to give your customers good content, not simply sell, sell, sell. These are people who took the time to give you their email address, and the more that you provide them with useful information, the more you are building credibility and buyer loyalty. • The About Me page allows you to promote your outside business. A seller’s About Me page may be one of the most overlooked opportunities on eBay. Very few sellers utilize this tool, but it is the only place on eBay where you’re allowed to direct people to your own web site. You can also promote your newsletter or give away free information to your leads. It’s a great way, not only to gain buyer trust, but also to cross-market your off-eBay business. • EBay classified ads let you drive traffic to your own web site. EBay now offers classified ads that allow you to promote your own web site or physical store, as well as items you’re selling. And there are no closing fees for the sales these ads generate. Again, it’s a chance to get your items, and even your outside business, exposed to multiple thousands of targeted buyers. The bottom line is that, regardless of the venue you sell in, you need to recognize the potential of eBay for marketing purposes. You can increase your sales many times over by tapping into the resources that eBay makes available to you. Says Cockrum, “There’s so much power behind [eBay] to drive traffic, but so few people really harness that power for their businesses. Take full advantage of eBay’s promotional opportunities. It’s such a simple concept; but it works, and it can really transform your business.”