Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Marketing on eBay
Most people are aware of the premier auction website, eBay. Founded in 1995 as AuctionWeb, eBay has become more than the Internets yard sale throughout the years. From it's humble beginnings with founder Pierre Omidyar, eBay has boomed with auctions for all sorts of products like cars, rare antiques, and even a decommissioned soviet submarine (juliette class submarine k-77, though it failed twice to be sold). It has become an avenue for people all over the world to be able to sell not only the junk in the attic, but also finely wrought wares that showcase their talents. There's even those people who make a living off of eBay, creating eBay stores where the auctioneer has a physical location that is either a storefront for the exact wares they are auctioning, or providing a service to those who wish to get rid of stuff collecting dust(provided the store gets a commission). Marketing on such a site may be difficult, though, with it's nature as an auction site, but luckily there are many, many resources to help increase one views, and invariably, sales.
On ebay itself, there is a tool that will help you create a storefront in the site (http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/Building.html). Here, you can place your logo, store description, a store search function, navigation and even a promotion function, and that's only the basic layout. EBay also offers a variety of features(some at a fee) to help expose your listings. Functions such as the Featured Plus listings are reported to be twenty-eight percent more likely to sell than other listings, or using eBay Keywords in conjunction with your advertisement banners to have said banner pop up when a customer types in a specific keyword, as stated in a very helpful article from allbusiness.com ( http://www.allbusiness.com/sales/internet-ebay-selling-marketing/3243-1.html). Bold listings and photos have a greater impact on sales, and one can also use the groups and discussion boards to further their potential clientele and sales. EBay will even reimburse you for printing costs if you participate in their Co-op Advertising program and eBay also produces many reports to help store owners to hone their selling. Skip McGrath akins eBay selling as a form of niche' market, and one should market accordingly (http://www.skipmcgrath.com/articles/niche_marketing_article.shtml). When one enters a niche market, McGrath explains that one should become an expert of that niche, and with that expertise, integrity, and focus on such a small market, one would be able to command better and better revenues, as long as gross merchandise sales can be maintained at a high level.
There are also things one should not do when marketing on eBay. According to internetbasedmoms.com (http://www.internetbasedmoms.com/online-auctions/ebay-selling-strategy.html) there are four of said mistakes that can be costly while delving into being an eBay mercantile. First on the "no-no" list is not considering when your auction is ending. If it ends on a Sunday evening, when it has been purported that people are most likely to spend money on auctions, you may be costing yourself a large chunk of coin. Next is ensuring you have good quality photos at multiple angles of the product you wish to sell, and ensuring that all the photos function. When people have a good visual reference to an item, they will be more likely to purchase it as they will be satisfied with the condition of the artifact. The third thing that should not occur is using a "Las Vegas" style page, one with all sorts of shifting colors and other annoying .gif junk that tends to clutter and distract from the description rather than the intended effect. Lastly on the list is using a reserve in order to guarantee that a certain dollar amount will be reached. In the article, it was said that when this happens, people who know they can get more in an auction will grab that product cheap from the reserve and sell it for a massive profit.
This is only the surface layer of marketing and selling on eBay, and as one delves more deeply on the subject, more tips, tools, and tricks are sure to be found.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a critical portion of the online marketing mix. Sure there’s much to be said about SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and it gets many a results, but if a company works out an efficient means of getting high organic search results for their company, it can mean all the difference. In the class we’ve discussed that many people don’t take the time to search and search page after page of results to find a particular site, but rather will stick to the first page, and maybe venture to the second to garner their information. Though it sounds simple, it’s actually quite a job, trying to rewrite HTML to best fit the criteria of search queries, and it’s also a daunting task to even hire an organizer to create this organic code. Mark Jackson reviews in his article on clickz.com titled “Hiring an SEO”, hiring an organizer that will produce results can be a tricky affair. He gives some reference points from his own experience on hiring SEO’s, outlining that a blend of experience, references, what he calls “The human element” (essentially a general liking and fellowship between companies or team members), and giving potential candidates a small test to gauge their knowledge in reference to your work will provide a beneficial work relationship. He also puts in a little caveat that most of the seo’s he knows have or exhibit signs of ADD and that a strong process and/or talented manager is probably needed to keep organizers on track.
Search engine organizers have their work cut out for them, having to place relevant keywords, build reciprocal links, and pages that spiders can crawl over. They have to not only beat out their competition to the earlier spots on a results page, but also do it without resorting to keyword stuffing, link farms, or other somewhat nefarious black hat seo techniques. In fact there are two categories of optimizers, the aforementioned black hats who manipulate the HTML code in ways that search engines don’t find appropriate. Other than the methods previously mentioned, black hats employ other techniques like hiding text in the webpage by either using text the same color as the background or position it off-screen, or invisible iframes which is where the page shown isn’t necessarily the page hosted by the company one is looking for. The other side of this are white hat seo techniques, which are html modifications that search engines approve of. White hat advice can be summed up as creating for users and not for search engines.
Now, if one doesn’t want to hire an SEO solely for their company, there are many firms out there that can perform the same service for companies. On topseos.com, they have even compiled a list of the top 50 seo firms in the world. Firms like Increase Visibility Inc., Slingshot SEO Inc., eVisability Inc. perform search engine optimization for clients like Banana Republic, Webtrends, and McDonalds. Though it’s not necessary for every small web-based business to have on retainer one of these top rated firms, but research into the reputability of any individual or firm is always necessary.