Tools to Help You Grow

Tools of the Trade

eBay Marketplace

A little-known fact to build your sales: eBay offers its sellers a line of HTML code (called a "sniplet") to insert on a blank internet page or on your own website. Once you place this code on the page, you'll get a full-page listing of your eBay items currently for sale on the site. You can access the sniplet tool at www.ebay.com/api/merchantkit.html. Just agree to the eBay Editor Kit-License Agreement to customize your page. Once you make your customization choices, you'll get your magic sniplet.

You can use the sniplet to insert this page all over the internet--there's no limit to how many times you can use it. Why not put one up on your personal free home page offered by your ISP? Remember that if someone buys from your eBay Store after clicking through a Marketplace link, you will get a 75 percent discount on your Store item's FVF.

Store Traffic Reports

All eBay Store owners get access to basic Traffic Reports, which give you the number of page views, the number of visitors to your Store, and data on unique visitors. One of the more telling features from the report is that you learn how people are finding your eBay Store. Do they come directly from your other eBay listings? From other sites (your Marketplace at work)? From search engines?

If people arrive at your Store through search engines, the Traffic Reports will show you which unique keywords the visitors used to get there. This is handy when you want to put together your Keyword campaign.

If you have an Anchor or Featured eBay Store, you'll get even more data, including path analysis, search terms used within your store, and data on returning visitors. For more information on the data available to Featured and Anchor eBay Stores, visit http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/traffic-reports.html

eBay Keywords

Successful businesses on eBay know that a Keyword campaign is an effective way to market your listings on the website. This kind of advertising works best when you specialize in a particular type of product that has a distinct audience.

To attract the searching audience, you need to select keywords that represent the types of items you sell. You then submit the keywords and indicate how much you would be willing to pay when someone clicks on your advertising banner to go to your eBay Store or Store listing (that's why it's called pay-per-click advertising). You'll also see who else is using those keywords to advertise, and you have the option of outbidding your competition for priority placement. The higher you bid, the more often your banner will appear. Your banner will then show up when a search is run on eBay that includes your keywords.

Cross Promotions

One of the best marketing tools eBay offers for Store owners (and one of the easiest to use) is the ability to select items to cross-promote in your listings. Cross promotions appear at the bottom of your listing, showing other items you're selling. As a buyer, I can assure you that cross promotions help increase sales. When I'm buying one thing from a seller and an aptly- placed cross promotion catches my eye, I usually add it to my purchase.

You have control over which items to promote within your listings. In the "Items I'm Selling" area of your "My eBay" page, select the item you want to set up cross promotions for by clicking on the icon in the last column of the listing. (You can also use the links on each item page, but the "My eBay" links are more convenient.) Once you click there, you can manually select which items you wish to promote, or they can be automatically selected based on your criteria.

Third-Party Solutions

Not only can you streamline your business from eBay, you can also find tools to help grow your business from independent companies that make their living helping sellers on eBay.

Most of these independents understand business as well as eBay. Their business experience can add to your bottom line. I try out many of these services as they roll out and write about them for Entrepreneur.com, in my books or on my website. Be sure to check in from time to time for up-to-date information.

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The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Marsha Collier is a Los Angeles-based author, radio personality and educator specializing in technology and selling online. She is the author of eBay for DummiesSocial Media Commerce for Dummies and other books about selling online.

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