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Top Five Reasons Why eBay Sellers Fail # 3

September 5th, 2006 by Skip McGrath

Poor Headlines and Descriptions Turn off Sellers

Number 3 in a 5-part series.  Scroll down the page for the previous two parts.

Make your eBay Buiness profitable. eBay sellers need to write good headlines and descriptions to get the hits and the sales.

Headlines – Getting The Eyeballs:

There are over twelve million items listed on eBay every day. Your headline must stand out above the competition to attract bidders. A great headline should contain two key elements: "Keywords" that are searchable, and "emotional words" designed to attract attention.

Over 60% of bidders find the item they are looking for by using the "Search" feature. Unless you use key words bidders are looking for, you will miss many searchers. For example, if someone collects Ferrari Formula 1 model cars, they will search "Ferrari models" rather than "Formula 1" or "model cars." A search of “Ferrari models” turns up 41 items, while "Formula 1" turns up a few thousand items. A search of "Blue & White" will turn up thousands of listing in the pottery section, but a search for "Liberty Blue" (a specific type of blue & white pottery) turns up only a few hundred items.

Your headline should also include "emotional" words designed to attract a bidder’s attention. These words include: new, rare, unique, sexy, secret, unbelievable, super-value, etc. You should not call something "rare" if it is not. But, there are other adjectives that work well in headlines. Besides the emotional words you can use words such as exquisite, charming, wonderful, mint, perfect, clean, superb, etc. Just make sure you are accurate. Don’t call something "rare" or "mint" if it is not.

The Description is Your Sales Letter:

Once you catch the bidder’s attention with a great headline, you need to sell them with your item description. Too many bidders simply describe the item they are selling. Yes, it is important to completely and accurately describe the item, but too many sellers leave it at that. Take the time to "romance" your item. Sell the benefits.

Before writing the auction description, ask yourself: "Why would someone want to own the item you are selling." If you are selling something you use, say so. Tell the potential bidder why you owned the item, how you used it, what benefits it brought you. Sell not just the features, but the benefits and the romance.

Here is an example:

"This Sterling Silver bracelet is five inches long set with zirconium stones that look just like diamonds."

Now let’s add some romance:

"This exquisite Italian Sterling Silver bracelet is set with five glimmering zirconium stones that sparkle like diamonds. The silver is finished to a high polish. It’s so bright, it looks like white gold. Whenever I wear this bracelet my friends ask: "Wow, are those real diamonds? Where did you get that bracelet?"

Your auction descriptions must also be complete.  If you are selling an antique, collectible or any used item, be sure to describe any and all flaws. The fastest way to build negative feedback is to over-describe the item, or over-promise performance.


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