eBay Tips Newsletter February 2010
1.eBay Changes Fee Structure to Favor Professional Store Owners (So Watch Out if You're a Casual Seller!)
Big news coming out of eBay this month: Starting March 30, eBay will be making some significant changes to their fee structures and policies.
eBay is promoting this change as a move to their "lowest insertion fees ever!" -- and in fact, for auctions with a starting price of less than $1, the insertion fees will actually be waived altogether.
What eBay is neglecting to mention, however, is that the backend fees for auctions are going to see a sharp increase.
Right now, when you sell an item via auction (and you don't operate an eBay Store), you pay 8.75% for the first $25 of the final price, and 3.5% for the rest of the amount, up to $1000.
But when the new fees kick in, you're going to have to pay a flat 9% on the total price of the auction, to a $50 maximum.
This is great news if you happen to sell big-ticket items costing over $1000 -- but if you sell items that cost less than that, you're going to find yourself paying a LOT more in your Final Value Fees.
Here's an example to illustrate the difference: Let's say you list an auction for a designer purse, and the winning bid is $200.
Right now, you'd pay 8.75% of the first $25 you make, and 3.5% of the remaining $175 -- bringing your total Final Value Fee to $2.19 + $6.13 = $8.32.
When the changes kick in at the end of March -- after selling the same bag for the same price -- you'll be shelling out a Final Value Fee of $18.00.
We think that's a pretty sizable hike!
Changes Benefit Store Owners
In contrast, the Final Value Fees for eBay Store owners will remain largely unchanged. Not only that, Store owners will be able to add up to 12 photos to each listing for free – a bonus that will save them some serious cash.
And as if that weren't enough to make Store owners happy, eBay is putting regular Store listings back into their search results, giving them search exposure equal to auction listings and regular "Buy It Now" listings!
To check out the full list of changes to the Sellers Fees, click here.
Carson Clark, our in-house eBay analyst, sees this as a strong sign eBay is trying to reward professional eBay Store owners... at the expense of casual auctioneers.
"If you're an auctioneer -- unless you're selling big-ticket items -- these changes are really going to hurt you," he says.
"It's a cash grab... eBay is trying to force small timers to up their game and go professional. More and more, if you're not planning to be a full-time professional Store owner, it just doesn't make sense to do business on eBay. They're simply not making it worth your while."
There is a silver lining...
If you are a small-time casual seller, here's some good news: our Insider Secrets to Selling on eBay course can teach you how to make the leap and become a full-time, professional Store owner earning a healthy five or six-figure income.
Click on the video below to learn more about how we can help you grow your eBay business:
If you're selling on eBay, and you're eager to take your business to the next level -- so you can profit from eBay's policy changes, instead of being punished by them -- we encourage you to check out our best-selling step-by-step course today!
2. How to Squeeze Maximum Value out of your 55 Title Characters
When it comes to writing titles for your eBay listings, you have to master the art of conveying a LOT of useful information in a very little space. Here's why:
55 characters is all the space you have in your title.
To give you an idea of how short this actually is, the line above this one has 55 characters. That's all you've got to work with -- so every single one of those characters has to count!
Today we're going to share our top three tips on how to maximize the value of your listing title. Read on to learn more...
Tip #1: Eliminate all non-essential or distracting words
Every single character in your listing must have one purpose only -- to draw targeted traffic to your listing. If you waste any of your characters on words that don't build toward this objective, then your title won't be as effective.
We still see sellers who write things such as, "L@@K" or "GR8" or use multiple exclamation marks "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" to try and get people's attention.
The problem is, gimmicks like these only succeed in making your listing look amateurish -- not to mention that they fail to include keywords buyers are actually plugging into eBay's search bar.
Cat tree condo 58" 7 Level Sisal Wood Carpet Furniture
... with this:
L@@K!!!! GR8 DEAL!!!! Climbing Tree 4 Your Kitty!!!!
The first listing maximizes the effectiveness of the 55 title characters by using words that a potential buyer would use to search for the item they need. If a searcher types in "ca tree," "cat furniture," "58 inch cat condo," or "Sisal Tree 7 Level" this listing title will appear in the search results.
In contrast, the second listing will be invisible to buyers performing searches on any of those terms. And who searches terms such as, "L@@K!!!!" or "GR8 DEAL!!!!"?
We can tell you with great confidence: no one who is looking to buy a cat tree is performing a search on "L@@K!!!!"
Tip #2: Include synonyms and spelling variations of your top keywords
Not every product goes by a single common name, so it's important to consider all the different ways your potential buyers might spell or describe the item you sell.
For example, lasagna dish, lasagne dish, lasagna pan... all these terms could be used to describe the same item. If you have space, be sure to include all the common spellings and descriptive terms people might use in your listing title.
Also consider the different ways people write out numbers. For example, people searching for a particular brand of rowing machine could write "Concept 2," "Concept II," or even "Concept Two."
Again, it's a good idea to include all these variations if you have space.
Tip #3: Use eBay shorthand to free up more space in your title
Popular eBay acronyms allow you to free up characters for keywords that can't be shortened easily -- such as the item type, brand, or size.
For example, instead of using 27 characters on the phrase, "Certificate of Authenticity," an experienced eBayer would use the acronym COA -- which frees up an extra 24 characters to provide more information!
Here are some of the commonly used acronyms you should know:
To see a complete list of eBay acronyms, click here.
Tip #4: Put Your Best Keywords First
Of course, it's not enough to pepper your title with searchable keywords and acronyms. You have to think about how your title looks, and how people will read it on their screens.
We recommend placing your strongest keywords at the beginning of your title. After all, these are the keywords people are searching most -- you want to make sure they recognize them in your title right away!
Let's return to the cat tree example:
Cat tree condo 58" 7 Level Sisal Wood Carpet Furniture
... This seller has put the keyword "cat tree" at the front of the listing, because they know this is the keyword people search most often when looking for this type of item -- they've done their research!
However, the seller also knows that the keywords "cat condo" and "cat furniture" are popular. That's why you read "condo" and "furniture" later on in the listing, too.
Tip #5: Capitalize the First Letter of Each Word
For ease of reading, capitalize the first letter of each word in your title. If you type every character in lower case, your keywords will blend into the search list, making them harder to pick out.
On the other hand, you'll want to avoid using ALL CAPS in your title. Titles containing all capital letters are very hard to read. Besides, online convention designates ALL CAPS to be a form of SHOUTING... and nobody wants to be shouted at when they're shopping.
Four examples of great titles
Here are some examples of some great, descriptive, keyword-rich titles that don't use unnecessary words, or SHOUT at searchers:
If you follow these five rules with every eBay listing title you write, you'll be sure to have more eyes land on your listings -- which will translate to more sales.
Do you have any questions on how to write effective eBay listings? If so, send us an email and we'll do our best to answer your questions in an upcoming issue of our newsletter!
In the meantime, happy eBaying!
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