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3. Write great headlines

The headline, or listing title, is a place where sellers often miss opportunities, says eBay expert Skip McGrath, author of Titanium eBay: A Tactical Guide to Becoming a Millionaire Power-Seller.

"One of the big mistakes people make is not using the right keywords," McGrath says. He also says that 75 percent of eBay buyers use the search engine to find items, and choosing the wrong words or being too vague puts a seller at a disadvantage. For example, if you are selling an appliance or electronic device, put as many relevant details as possible in the headline, including the brand and model number. "If someone is looking for a specific Nikon camera, they'll search for a Nikon D80 SLR," McGrath says. "If you just put 'Nikon camera' in your headline, [it] could get lost among thousands of listings."

4. Show your stuff. Foley found early on that a good picture can pay off.

McGrath says that approximately four pictures is best for an average listing. "If you have a one-photo listing, people often won't bid on it because they wonder, 'Why didn't this person show me more?' If you have more than four, then your listing can take too long to download," he explains. Of course, this depends on the product you're selling--if you have a CD for sale, you obviously don't need to include four pictures.

Shoot your products on a clear background without other items that can be distracting or cause confusion, he advises. Include everything that comes with the item, including accessories, instructions and original packaging. Make sure photos are clear and well-lit. In addition, McGrath says, it's vital to take clear shots that show any damage or defect the item has.

"It's hard to describe a scratch so someone can picture [it] exactly, but if you put a picture that shows it, the person can see it and say, 'Oh, that's not too bad,'" McGrath explains. "It avoids problems in the long run."

5. Develop your descriptions. McGrath fires off several rules for developing effective descriptions. Write short sentences and short paragraphs with lots of white space between them to make the descriptions easy to read. "It's tough to read something that is 300 words and all one block of text," he says.

Sween adds that the description should be complete but easy to read and recommends using bullet points and clear spacing. But that doesn't mean your description needs to be short. Instead, she advises writing about the product until you run out of things to say about it. "If you're a seller on eBay and you're getting a lot of questions about your listings, then your descriptions are probably too short," she says.

At the end of your description, reiterate your shipping and return policies, and most important, ask for the order. Says McGrath, "I put an action sentence at the end of every description that says, 'Don't lose out. Place your best bid now.'"

6. Keep in touch. Rhonda Ikner of Semmes, Alabama, places an emphasis on communicating with customers who order from her. Each package of the vintage vinyl baby dolls that she sells under the eBay User ID dixiedollie comes with a small business card reminding customers of her trade name and encouraging them to leave positive feedback. Ikner, 42, gets the cards free from online printer VistaPrint, which offers up to 250 business cards for only the cost of shipping. She also includes a thank-you note, a coupon redeemable on a future purchase and packs of gum or pencils imprinted with her eBay User ID. Says Ikner, "All that helps them remember me and think of me when they're shopping next time."

Gwen Moran is a freelance writer and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010).

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