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    1.1. What's Next?


    2.1. Sales Consistancy
    2.2. The 3 Idea Approach


    3.1. Listing Auctions
    3.2. Invoicing
    3.3. Shipping Label Printing
    3.4. Packing Materials
    3.5. Order Processing


    4.1. Dutch Auction Listing Format
    4.2. 10 Auction Rule
    4.3. Maximizing Auction Sales
    4.4. Ad Selling Styles
    4.5. Choosing Title & Category
    4.6. Description Ad Copy Techniques


    5.1. Analyze Your Sales
    5.2. Analyze Your Auctions/eBay


    6.1. Profit in Shipping Costs!
    6.2. Pricing Techniques/Testing
    6.3. The Importance of Having a PayPal Account


    7.1. Email Automation
    7.2. Automated Feedback


    What's Next?

    At this point, I am assuming you have your internet selling account started, whether it is with eBay, Yahoo or some other venue. I would encourage you to start with eBay, as it will give the largest potential for sales. This will lead to you learning faster through trial and error, as there will be more to analyze and learn from. If you sell only 1 item a day, its hard to learn much or learn quickly. But, if you have 5 or 10 sales a day, you can learn generally 5 to 10 times faster.

    Over the years, I have learned many many tips and tricks for selling online. So many, that I will not even be able to collectively remember them all or even a fraction. I guess, over time, I will consoldate them all here, but at first, I will just include the most relevant and basic..


    Sales Consistancy

    Probably the most surprising thing I came across when I first started selling online was the fact that its not sporadic as one might think. There is actually consistancy in sales and its not very difficult to acheive. Sure, there are what I would call "waves" within the sales pattern, but they are not very large. The first type of wave would be customer demand wave. You would think it would be a wave you could somehow predict, but actually, that is not the case. It generally comes bi-weekly. You will see some weeks will be a little low (80% average), while other weeks seem exceptionally high (120% average). The good news is that over time, they balance each other out into an average. The next type of wave would be based on how you have your auctions situated. If you have a few auctions ending on one day, or week auctions on one day of the week, you can expect there to be lower sales. This makes sense and is pretty obvious. Now, the last type of wave, is the worst type and it seems to come about once a year. It would be best described as a storm and it is usually something you can not control or prevent. I would say many of these storms are a result of what eBay, Yahoo, etc is doing or changing on their website. They will get a grand idea on how to "improve" their website, yet to you, it will not seem like an improvement for over a month, as it will usually kill some of your sales. OVERALL, though, I would say that I was amazed at the fact sales were consistant. Prior to selling online, I was a Mechanical Engineer, so I had no understanding of how sales worked. My thoughts were that business was "risky". I can tell, that is not the case, if you approach it correctly.

    The 3 Idea Approach

    This is probably my most important tip for doing any type of business. Its called the "Three Idea Approach" and it can basically be summerized as:

    Always come up with three good business ideas/products, so that atleast one will succeed.

    Generally, people will start a business because they think that they have this one "grand idea" that will be the best thing since sliced bread. They are convinced it will work, also. This is point where most businesses fail. For, you need atleast three good ideas to succeed at business, as usually only one out of three business ideas will succeed. It does not matter how convinced you are regarding your business idea or product. You should come up with three great ideas or products. Atleast then, one of them will succeed and you can continue with building your business. I developed this principle based on the statistic that "one out of three businesses fail" and from the common fact that most start businesses with their "one grand idea". So far, this has worked very well for me and I have found that it is VERY true. Generally, I will come up with three killer new products and only one really works great, while the other two just fizzle or end up being not worth my time (not enough money in them).


    Listing Auctions

    Listing Items on eBay:

    1. The first thing you should do, when listing auctions, is to log into your eBay account.
    2. If this is your first time selling on eBay, please goto the eBay Front Page and click on the "Sell" Button.
    3. On the next page, there is four selling options to choose from:
      • ONLINE AUCTION - Best for single item auctions. Allows potential buyers to bid up the price from the starting price you set. If you use the "Reserve Price" option (found in the 3rd step of listing process), it allows you to put in the minimum you would allow your item to sell for. For instance, if you put the "Starting Price" at $10 and the "Reserve Price" at $99.95, your auction will not sell unless the customers bid it up to $99.95 or higher. You can also offer a "Buy It Now" Price within the auction, which would be what you are willing to accept as a price to end the auction early.
      • FIXED PRICE - Buyers can purchase your item without having to place bids or wait until the auction ends. Basically, its the same to your customer as buying an item from a local store. Great for Dutch Auction Listings, where you sell more than one item at a time.
      • STORE INVENTORY - This is the cheapest method of listing an item. But, it should be noted, it does not show up in eBay's standard search. Rather, it is in eBay's Store Section and within your own eBay Store. So, your store's popularity is the primarily driving factor to its sale. You can choose options to increase its presence in eBay's Store Section, similar to the options seen in eBay's normal search and category section. The auction time is much longer from 30 to 90 days. Great if you are trying to build your own store's power and popularity.
      • REAL ESTATE - Only used for selling Real Estate (land, property, housing, apartment houses, etc). You just list your asking price. No bidding takes place. Interested buyers fill out an online contact info form. You can list your property from 30 to 90 days.
    4. For the products we offer, only the first three selling options above are usable. After choosing one of the options and clicking the "Start a New Listing" Button, you goto a page that shows 5 different steps for listing your auction:
      1. CATEGORY - Choose the category that best fits your item. Note that there are possibly several categories that would fit your item. Please refer to our Choosing Title & Category Section for good category selection techniques.
      2. TITLE & DESCRIPTION - The title and description are very important to the success of your auction listing. The Title's basic function is primarily to maximize your auction in the search results and to peak the interest of your buyers. Please refer to our Choosing Title & Category Section to maximize your Title's effectiveness and our Description Ad Copy Techniques Section to maximize your description.
      3. PICTURES & DETAILS - Within this section, you choose the Starting Price, Reserve Price and Buy It Now Price, which we discussed above. Also, you choose the length of the auction, start time, number of items, basic eBay picture, listing visibility & feature options(Bold, Border, Highlight, etc) and much more. Please refer to the Ad Selling Styles Section for effective advertising styles and what options are best to choose.
      4. PAYMENT & SHIPPING - After you choose options in this section one time, it should stay saved for future auction listings you make. It is highly recommended that you accept "PayPal" for a customer payment method. Please refer to: The Importance of Having a PayPal Account to understand why it is relevant to have Paypal as a payment method for your customers. Also, it is recommended that you accept money orders and checks via standard mail, because a fraction of your customers will not use any online credit card payment method. Another thing to consider in the "PAYMENT & SHIPPING" Section is your "Ship-to Locations". Be sure that you put in the countries in which you will ship and that your item can be shipped there. Many of the musical instruments we offer can be sold overseas, but it should be noted that some of them, such as the Electric Bass Guitars are too long to be shipped via Global Priority mail, which usually costs about $65. So, they can only be shipped via Global Express for a hefty $100. Many customers from foreign countries will not pay more than $80 for shipping, so this should be considered. Also, there are scammers on eBay that you will want to avoid. Many of these scammers are from Africa(mostly Nigeria) & Russia(mostly Eastern Europe), so it is wise NOT to sell to African or Eastern European countries. You can also stop certain buyers who are suspect for bad activity in the "Buyer Requirements" Section of this "PAYMENT & SHIPPING" Page. You should also indicate your "Return Policy". We generally give a 30 day money back guarantee with a note "Some Restrictions May Apply" and a note saying there is a 15% restocking fee. This will allow you to not accept returns from those who are trying to swindle you or who are responsible for broken goods, etc. The restocking fee will help pay for your auction listing costs and any other costs..
      5. REVIEW & SUBMIT - On this page, look over all of the options you have chosen and confirm that the fees near the bottom are correct. If they look incorrect, click on the "Edit Pictures & Details" Section and correct the ad listing options to relect what you desired. If something else looks incorrect, click on the "Edit ...." next to it on the right.

    If you are already familiar with listing auctions on eBay, Yahoo, etc and have products that you continuously relist, here is a tip on how to quickly put up all of your relisted auction items. Try this. Goto your eBay account about the time that your auctions are about to end for that day. Click on the "Selling" link on the left hand menu to goto your items currently selling. Right click on the "Sell Similar" link on the first auction near the top that is going to end and choose "Open in New Window". Going top to bottom, do this with every auction that is going to end for that day. You will end up having as many extra Internet Explorer Windows open as you have auctions ending. Then, you can go through each step per auction and quickly put up all the auctions in a fraction the time it would take to do it one at a time.

    There is also a program that eBay created called "Turbolister". It was designed for bulk listing, so if you have over 100 auctions, it might be a good idea to use it or atleast check it out. Its suppose to allow you to make mass changes to auctions that you are going to list. From there, you can upload all the new auctions for that day. I used it a while back and was impressed with its features, but not impressed by its bugs. The last time I used it, it was showing double the price that the auctions actually costed. So, it was obviously a bug and it didn't seem to go away for a week. As a result, I just do lising as I described in the paragraph above. I know there are people, though, that have used it with much more luck and satisfaction, so don't let my one review keep you from atleast checking it out.


    For invoicing, I strongly suggest using Paypal ( EBay owns and it is integrated pretty well into eBay's website structure. Since it was bought recently, you can expect that Paypal will be integrated more and more into eBay's structure. Since many buyers like things to be easy, they often go with eBay's Paypal. I have found it be very valuable, as customers can pay immediately after winning or buying your item on eBay using Paypal. It seemlessly goes from the order page right to paying by

    Assuming you have a Paypal Account, here is the procedure for invoicing your customers:

    1. First, log into your eBay account ( and click on the "My eBay" Button.
    2. On the left side menu, click on the "Sold" link. This will open your "Items I've Sold" Page. Look at the sales for yesterday. You can find them by looking at each items "Sale Date".
    3. To keep track of your progress, you need to erase your browser's history. To do this, click on "Tools/Internet Options.../" on the toolbar at the top of your Internet Explorer browser. Next, on the Internet Options menu, click on the "Clear History" Button and click "Yes". This will clear your browser cache. Click "OK" to close the Internet Options menu. Then, click Refresh on your Internet Explorer Browser.
    4. Now, look back at your sales from Yesterday. Click on the first auction title from yesterday's sales. This will bring you to the page for the first auction. Next, scroll down just a little and find the link "Purchases" and click on it. From there, click on the link "Show email addresses". This will take you to the "Buyer's History" for the auction and will show their email addresses.
    5. Now, look at the purchases listed for yesterday's date. For those purchases, look at the "Status" on the right to see if they have paid.
    6. If they have not paid, open a new Internet Explorer browser window and goto Paypal's website ( Log in and click on the "Request Money" Tab.
    7. Then, copy the email addresses from the eBay Buyer's History Internet Window to the Paypal Request Money Internet Window, separating each email by a comma. Then, find the "Price" on the eBay Auction by clicking the "Back" Button twice on the eBay Internet Window and copy it to the "Amount" blank on the Paypal Internet Window.
    8. Then, choose the "Type" on the Paypal window to be "eBay Items". In the "Email Subject", type "INVOICE - " on the Paypal Internet Window and copy the Auction's title from the eBay Internet Window to the Paypal window (i.e. ~ INVOICE - [title of the auction]).
    9. Type any relevant information in the "Note" Blank on the Paypal Internet Window. Click "Continue".
    10. On the next page, put in the "Shipping & Handling" cost and any "Insurance" if needed. Then, put in the eBay item number found on the eBay Internet Window into the "Item Number" blank. When all the blanks are filled, click the "Continue" Button.
    11. Last, click the "Request Money" Button on the Paypal page and this will send an invoice to your eBay customer(s) for your first eBay auction from Yesterday's sales.
    12. Go back to your eBay Internet Window and click the "Back" Button one more time. This should put you back on your eBay "Items I've Sold" Page.
    13. You will notice that the auction you first clicked on for yesterday's sales will be highlighted a different color than the other links, showing you have clicked on this page already. You might notice other links from yesterday's sales highlighted the same color as it. This just means that you sold more than one item from that auction for yesterday.
    14. Click on the next link for yesterday's sales that is not highlighted and repeat the above process all over again. You do this until all of yesterday's sales are highlighted links and this will indicate you have done all the invoices for yesterday's sales. This process might take a little while the first time you do it, but after doing it several times, it will take only 30 minutes to do the whole process..

    Shipping Label Printing

    1. First thing that you should do is buy some Fellowes Shipping Address and Return Address Sheets for your printer from stores like Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, etc.
    2. Next, you download the payments your received for that day from Paypal. First, log into your Paypal account, click on the "History" Button, find the "Reporting Tools" on the right and click on the "Download My History". Then, put in yesterday's date for the to and from dates. Next, click "Tab Delimited File" and "Completed Payments Only" and click on the "Download History" Tab. Within 24 hours, it will have process the download and you can go back into your Paypal account, click on the "History" Button and find the "Reporting Tools" on the right and click on the "Download My History" link again. Find the link "Recently Downloaded Logs" and click on it. On this page, you can download the sales history download you created earlier. You should name the file to include the date of the days orders you are downloading.
    3. From there, you can manually make a print out page or use our automated MS Word macro program that will make the shipping label printout for your days orders. Click here to download the MS Word program and its directions for installation and use.
    4. After printing out the shipping labels, correlate the labels with the products you packaged for that day.

    Packing Materials

    • SMALL ITEMS - For small items, such as software, music CDs, movies, information packet, etc, we use "Bubble Mailers" which can be found at stores like Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, etc. Bubble mailers are just bubble insulated thick envelopes. They usually only cost about $0.45 each and come in packages of 6 or more.
    • LARGE ITEMS - For larger items, such as musical instruments, we first try to use the box it came in as, atleast, part of the shipping container. In the case of amps, this is often all that is needed for the container. For other items, such as electric guitars, it is wise to buy a second outer box to put thin inner box in. We buy the outer box from Uhaul(Large Mirror Box) and cut them down. If you are crafty about it, you can actually get two boxes out of one of the Uhaul Large Mirror Boxes, but it requires a bit of design in the cut. ALL items that are larger should be packed with styrofoam pellets to protect the product during shipment. ALSO, all larger items should be fully insured through the shipping company of choice (we usually use FedEx Ground for larger items).
    • ODD SIZED ITEMS - Stores such as Office Depot, Uhaul, Office Max, Staples, etc are good for buying packing supplies. Unless you are doing large volume, I would suggest not buying a large volume of boxes from a box creation company. But, if you are going to be doing large volume, it might be a way to save a little money. Anything of larger size should have styrofoam pellets or other filler to protect the product in question.

    Order Processing

    During order processing, it is wise to keep order records of some sort, whether electronic or by paper. The good news is we have programs written to make processing orders much easier. You see, I am a programmer, by hobby, and I have written code that works with MS Word to automate saving a record of your sales on your computer for each and to make a shipping label page that you can print out! This cuts down a lot of the work in this area to make it more of a breeze. Helps a ton when you have a ton of orders. Please refer to the Shipping Label Printing Section for the program details and download.

    Once you have the file on your computer and the printout for the labels to go on the packaging, you can easily streamline labeling the packages by comparing the two.. For example, lets say you have 5 orders of Product "A" and 4 orders of Product "B" and 7 orders of Product "C". You can package all the orders first, before labeling them. Then, download the data from Paypal, run it through the order processing program I wrote for MS Word and add in any mail order payments that came in the mail for that day. Then, simply print out the list on your home printer using Fellowes Address Label Sheets found at stores like Office Depot, Staples, Best Buy, etc. and put the labels on the corresponding products that you packaged.


    Dutch Auction Listing Format

    On eBay, you must meet certain requirements, before you can sell in "Dutch Auction" format. Dutch Auction format is where you can have a quantity of 2 or more of the same product up in the same auction for purchase. I often use Dutch Auction format with a quantity of 18, as it is a good way to get high sales volume a day. That way, I can get potentially 18 sales from one auction!

    Here are the minimum requirements that need to be met to sell in "Dutch Auction" format:

    • Be ID Verified.
    • OR have a feedback rating of 30 or above and be registered on eBay for 14 days or more.
    • OR if you have a PayPal account, and accept PayPal as a payment method on the listing, your feedback rating only needs to be 15.

    Once you meet one of the above requirements, you can start using the Dutch Auction format. Usually, small items work good with dutch auction format, like software, movies or ANYTHING that is small and lower priced. There are a few exceptions where you can even make good profit selling large items in Dutch Auction format. Its based on the demand primarily. Generally, though, if you are selling anything over $120, you will not get more than 2 buyers on an auction. This is from my experience. The ideal type of products for dutch auction will be popular and in a price range of $0.99 to $29.95.

    10 Auction Rule

    On eBay, you are only allowed to list the same item 10 times concurrently. When I first started selling on eBay, I did not realize this and was not too happy when I learned about it, as I had about 20 of the same item up for auction. The good news is that, just recently, I learned that you could list 10 auctions per eBay country website. This means, I can list 10 items on eBay USA, 10 items on eBay Australia, 10 items on eBay UK, 10 items on eBay Canada and 10 items on eBay Germany all simultaneously! Almost no one knows this "little" fact.

    The point of the 10 auction rule is actually a good one. At first, it seems like it would be in your way, but it actually benefits you, because there are many sellers who just don't get it. Someone will list an item 50 times simultaneously on eBay USA( and will get very few orders(maybe 25 orders). Whats worse is the fact that he is saturating the market with all his ads, so neither he nor I make any money. Once you have seen this occur a few times, you will be happy that the 10 item rule was created and that eBay generally enforces it.

    Now, on Yahoo and other internet auction sites I have seen, they do not have a 10 item rule.

    Maximizing Auction Sales

    One of your biggest goals selling online is to maximize your profit through trial and error selling. One of the great advantages of selling online versus selling offline is the fact you can easily monitor your results by analyzing sales data that is automatically available. It is possible to do this offline also, but you have to physically analyze and write down your sales and monitor it that way, which is much more work.

    Some of the variables that are worth modifying when figuring out how to maximize profit are:

    1. The Price (while attempting to maximize the Shipping Costs within reasonable parameters).
    2. The Ad Placement Style (refer to Ad Selling Styles Section below. Includes many options, patterns, etc).
    3. The Description (apply professional ad copy techniques and test)
    4. The Title (diversify and use multiple titles for multiple auctions. Think similar products, yet do not take trademarked words. Do searches on various key word patterns on eBay related to your product that seem to have many good search results)

    The more you sell online, the more experience you gain and the more you understand the theories, selling styles, etc that will work for you. It become easier and easier as time goes on. Now, I don't do much modifying of variables as I have done it all in the past. Occasionally, if something seems to be faltering, I will try to modify a couple things to bring it back up to the level I desire.

    To help you see how much different you can change the variables, I will give you a couple examples.

    1. Light Master Bible Library - There was a time when I would sell this product for $4.95 + $4.45 S&H to a certain type of market (customers interested in more expensive Bible software). I would only sell like 3 per auction, which sucked, seeing I spent $20 on the auction. So, I decided to try something way different. I change the price to $7.95 + $6.45 S&H. What happened was that on the very first auction I put up with the price change, I got about 8 orders! Prior to doing this price change, my thoughts were that increasing the price would lead to less orders. That simply was not the case with this market of people, as they were the type that would search for expensive Bible library software, as the keywords I was using in the title were for expensive competitor products.
    2. 100,000 Recipe CD - Now this product has had a strange history of price changes. But what it came down to is the type of people who would buy the product. Often, this product was bought by older women. Not to be discriminatory, but often older women like "deals" or "low prices". So, I put the item at 99 cents with $5.95 S&H. Whats so strange about it is the fact that they would buy it for 99 cents knowing the shipping was about $5 bucks. Yet, if I put the price at $5 bucks and had the shipping at 99 cents, they would not have bought it. So, in their mind, they like the 99 cent price, as it seems like a steal. So, I sell this product at this price. Another oddity was the ad style I could use to sell it. Sometimes, I would put it at the top of the page, which costs about $20 and get crazy orders. At other times, I would get only a few orders. It seemed to unstable, so I drastically changed the ad style to putting it at the bottom of the page at the lowest type price listing (only 60 cents), then I would put a crazy title indicating prominently it was 99 cents in the beginning of the title. This would get me about 2 orders per auction, often. This was far less money per auction for profit, but it was tons more stable.. So, instead of making $60 profit on a auction costing $25, I would make $10 profit on a auction costing 60 cents. When I say profit, I mean after all expenses are taken out..

    Ad Selling Styles

    Over the years, I have developed several ad selling styles through ideas and experimentation. Here are the ones I use most often:

    1. Category Featured Dutch Auction - This was the first auction style I developed. Basically, you take a solid low priced product and you put it in a Dutch Auction format and feature it at the top of the category page of the auction website. The idea is to have from 2 to 10 of these Dutch Auctions for this one product up at one time on the auction website. To have several duplicate dutch auctions for the same product, you must create a new title/category for each dutch auction. This is to avoid saturating the market in a certain category and/or keyword set. In other words, you do not want people going to a certain category and seeing two of your items up in that category. You want to be effective with your advertising. So, once you have about 5 titles, 5 different categories for your one product, you can put a dutch auction up for each combination of title and category. Also, you can experiment. Sometimes, you can put two or even three auctions into one category, because there is so much traffic. Likewise, there are sometimes categories that do not have enough traffic to even warrent putting a dutch auction at the top of the category featured. The same goes for certain keywords in the title. Some are very popular and can be used in more than one title. Other keywords are not very searched and hardly warrent being in one title. After you have multiple dutch auctions up in various categories, you can monitor how well they do. Sometimes, you will have a couple gold rakers, while others will be duds. Adjust accordingly, by thinking up new categories or titles to replace the ones that do not work well. The idea is to maximize the profit by adjusting and fixing the ones that are not performing as well.
    2. Low Cost Grab Auction - This is an auction where you do not feature it, border it, or anything. You just put it up in plain manner. The type of product for this style is a "grab item". Generally, grab items are the ones you see near the checkout at a store. You just grab it. Not much thought is put into the action. So, the idea is to take this grab item, put it in just as a plain auction, but the time will only be for 3 days and it will be a "Buy It Now" only. So, no bidding, just buying. If after 2 days, it has not sold, you go in and revise the auction to be a 5 day auction. This will give it an extra 2 days. Then, if it still has not sold after another 2 days, you go in and revise it to be a 7 day auction. Generally, this tactic works really well with grab items, because you are not allowing the buyer to think about ordering later. The reason is because people generally do not bookmark an auction that will be ending in 2 days. They usually want time to think about it, so they only bookmark auctions that are 4 days or more. My theory behind this is that those who bookmark, often don't buy because they just plain forget about it. So, if I force them to make a decision right now on the "grab item", often they will buy it. The cool part is that the auction will only cost about $0.60 to list. For grab items, the trick is to have very low prices and rack up the shipping. So, you could put the price at 99 cents, which makes it so low, people often will just "grab it". But, the shipping cost is $5.95. Whats cool is many (over half) already have made up their minds by the time they see the shipping cost of $5.95, so they continue to buy it.. Its kind of like grabbing something kind of near the checkout, getting up to the lady and finding out it costs a couple dollars more than you thought. Are you going to take it back or are you going to buy it? Often, you will just buy it.
    3. More Visable/Buy Now Auction - This method has similarities to the "Low Cost Grab Auction" in that you do the same revision technique on the length of the auction. So, you first set it to be a 3 day auction and then after 2 days, if it is not sold, you revise it to be a 5 day auction and so on. This not only forces the customer to make a decision now, it also makes your auction more visable. The reason is because eBay will often list the auctions ending soon at the top of the search results. So, if your auction is always closer to ending, it is closer to the top of the page, hence more visability. Logically, people click on the results that list first in a search more so than something on page 3. The type of product that would work best with this auction style is anything at a "normal" price from $5 to $300. So, most products will fit into this type of Ad Selling Style. Another positive aspect regarding this Ad Selling Style is that you can avoid the "Lemming Principle". The Lemming Principle is something I coined when I noticed a customer pattern where if one person bids or buys, all of a sudden many more will join in. If you have a product that would seem to make people hesitate on bidding or buying, this Ad Selling Style is the way to go..
    4. Lemming Buy/Bid Auction - Sometimes, there is a new "hot" product that people can't resist from buying. Actually, it doesn't have to be even new, it could just be a hot, irresistable product. This is the kind of product, where you can build hype and watch customers buy like lemmings. I have seen this here and there, but sometimes its not consistant. There have been times, though, where it has seemed very consistant, so I can see this as a useful Ad Selling Style. Basically, you have a "hot" product and the trick is to get an order the first or second day of a 7 to 10 day auction. If you lock in an order on the first or second day, the lemming principle will take over and people will just starting buying it like there is no tomorrow. The downside to this Ad Selling Method is the occasional auction that does not get an order on the first or second day. Often, they can become lemon auctions, where you try all you can think of to recessitate it, but it just does not respond. For example, lets say you have Hot Product "A" and you put it up in one category and it gets an order in one day. It will continue on and often get say 16 orders total. Then, you have the exact same product, exact same ad for Hot Product "A" that does not get an order till day 4. It will continue on and only get 7 orders total. Do you see how impressionable one buyer's decision is on another? They are all following each other and only a minor few are leading.

    Choosing Title & Category

    1. TITLE - When choosing a title for your item, think "keywords" used for searching eBay. This is the primary importance of the title. The secondary aspect of the title is to get the buyer to click on it. Many, believe it or not, do not understand this concept. Virtually every successful seller I have seen applies this principle to their titles. They sell the most, stick around the longest, etc. Yet another concept to use with your title is making more than one for each product. This requires much brainstorming of keywords and correlating the keywords to the category that would seem best. So, multiple titles, multiple categories, focusing each title to work with its respective category. The last thing to do is use the keywords in some test auction titles and monitor how they perform and maximize them over time.
    2. CATEGORY - With categories, the theory is to find as many as you can that will work with your product. Then, after making this list, look through each category, doing searches & browsing, to see if the category truly works with your product and if there is enough traffic. One way to see if it has a lot of traffic is to look at similar products to yours found in each category and look down near the bottom of each auction at the "Page Views Tracker Graphic". Some will have it, some will not, so just look through a few to get an idea of how many people actually look at auctions in the category. The final step is to put auctions in the categories and see how they perform and adjust accordingly.

    Description Ad Copy Techniques

    There are too many principles for me to discuss them all in detail here. I will mention just some of the main principles. For more further information beyond what I discuss here, please find a good book on "product advertising". For instance, anything that would discuss advertising on the outside of a product box, internet ad, newspaper ads or just product advertising in general.


    1. Benefits Vs. Features - The main concept in advertising is to emphasize the benefits, rather than the features. A benefit is something that the customer needs or desires that will benefit him. A feature is a specification of the product you are selling. For example, a TV's benefits are that you can watch the news, see your favorite TV shows, watch movies, etc. A TV's features are that it is 27", color TV, Audio/Video Connection, etc. So, instead of just listing that a TV is 27" and is a color TV, it would wise to point out the benefits of having this TV. Even better, pointing out the benefits that this TV has versus other TVs out there. For instance, a benefit that it can receive high definition programs or that it has certain relevant connectors in the back so the buyer can plug in all their devices (DVD, VHS, Cable Box, etc). Often, people will just point out features of a product, but neglect to point out its benefits to the customer. If you are wondering still why it is wise to point out the benefits, realize that you are assuming the customer understands all the benefits that seem obvious in your mind. You might see its greatness, while others do not. That is why you need to point out its greatness through its benefits to them.
    2. Subtitles/Sections - You want your ad to be pretty easy to navigate, so it is wise to split it into sections dedicated to a certain benefit, feature or relevant detail. The focus of many sections should be on a particular benefit (see above), but you should also have a couple sections pointing out the features (see above) and ultimately a few sections on relevant information(for instance shipping details, how to pay, etc).
    3. Pictures - Pictures, photos, etc are very important to your advertisement. Photos of the item is absolutely necessary, so customers know what they are buying. The only thing the customer sees when buying on the internet is your ad itself. So, you can see how a picture can be worth a 1000 words. Another way to use photos is to show the item being used or in action. This is wise, as it will help them see it in action and possibly see its benefits. If you can get a picture or two in of people, it is an added benefit. Most of my ads do not include pictures of people, but its not a bad idea, as it gives the ad more personality. People identify with people more than they do with a product, so many advertising books will tell you having pictures of people using your item or just people in general will help make the sale.


    Analyze Your Sales

    Although I have tested/screened the products we will supply you, I encourage you to analyze your sales. It is always wise to analyze your product sales, by monitoring your auction's success rate. Over the years, I have noticed that this is one of the biggest mistakes internet sellers make. What they will do is put up an item to sell and will then will stop thinking/analyzing. They assume that once they have their item up selling, that is all they are able to do or they are just too lazy to analyze their sales results. I came to this conclusion on several occasions as I was browsing through auctions on eBay. Basically, I would find a guy selling something and I would do some number crunching to see what type of profit he was making. Often, to my amazement, the seller was making NOTHING. Literally, there are sellers on eBay, Yahoo and other websites that will sell items, and make little or no profit. The reason it occurs is because they take their thinking cap off after putting up the auction. This is where they are tricked, per-se: They will put up the auction and will get a few sales from the auction. They think to themselves, wow, I am selling! Then, they will fail to analyze just how much money they made from those sales. They forget the fact that the auction might have costed them $20. So, they leave their calculator in the desk and assume they are making money, because they have made sales. Yet, when I pull out my calculator and calculate their profit, I often find it being a couple dollars or nothing at all. I have found, even on occassion, people selling and making NEGATIVE money. So, PLEASE, do not assume that if you are getting sales, you are making money.

    The good news is that this negative can be turned into a positive! Yes, and it only requires a little work! All you need to do is modify a couple things within the auction to turn it from little or no profit to a healthy profit generator. As my CPA says, "if you have break even, you win", as you can always fix something that breaks even. I have had to do this on SEVERAL occasions. Many of the products I am now offering you have been "fine tuned" from making little money to mega profit generators! Some of things that often are best to alter in the process of acheiving good profit are: the price, the advertising options used, the title or improvement to the description.

    Analyze Your Auctions/eBay

    Besides analyzing your sales data, it is wise to analyze eBay and other sellers auctions. It is the best way to judge how well you are doing. For instance, if you are only selling 5 of Product "A", while your competitor is selling 10 of virtually the same product using the same advertising placement and at the same price, this indicates that you are not doing as good as you could be doing.. Generally, if something like this is occuring to me, I will ask myself, "What is better about their sales technique?" I will look at their ad description, their picture icons showing in the search results, their titles, their categories, etc. After doing this for a few months, it will get easier and easier to analyze other's auctions and sales.

    Knowing how to use eBay to your advantage as a seller is crucial also. Many do not know how to do this. Here is are a couple simple tips. First, look at your competitors "Page View Counter Graphic" near the bottom of their auction(s). Often, it will tell you how many people are coming to their page. Then, divide it by the amount of days their auction has been up. Look at your "Page View Counter Graphic" for your related product and also divide by the number of days it has been up. If they are not even remotely similar, yours being a lot lower, they know something you do not. For instance, maybe they have a better keyword usage in their title or maybe they have a better category they are listing in. Another little tip is to do a search related to your product and then click the check box for "Completed Listings" underneath the "Search Options" Subtitle on the left side menu. Then, click "Show Items" Button just below it. This will show all the completed listings for the information you are searching, which is FAR more relevant than the current auctions that are up. This is a way for you to analyze other people's auctions that have ended. Not all the details will be shown, but enough for you to make projections and analysis.


    Profit in Shipping Costs!

    With websites like Yahoo and eBay, people are expecting insanely low prices. Often, with such low prices on smaller items it seems like it would be difficult to turn a profit, even with a good product. BUT, that is where the "Shipping and Handling" costs come in. When selling low priced smaller items, the key is to get a couple dollars profit out of the shipping cost. It is truly, one of the more famous tricks that eBay sellers use. Often, you will hear that customers don't like this or that it is not fair, but my experience says otherwise. I have found that most (90%) of the customers will pay the shipping cost, even when it is high. For instance, one of the small low priced items I sell is the "100,000 Recipes on CD-ROM". Generally, I will sell it for 99 cents. Now, at first, this sounds like a price that is way too low. But, here is the deal, the shipping cost is $5.95. So, the total payment is $6.94. The ad options I use to sell this item only costs $0.60 for a dutch auction (4 items available to buy) and it is the lowest of the low ads you can buy on eBay. I OFTEN sell 2 of the 4 available! Yes, so that would be about $14 in revenue from a $0.60 auction. To create and ship the CD usually only costs about $2.10. That would give me a profit of about $12 just from one auction, due to the shipping costs!!! This method works great for products any where from $0.99 to $200.. An example of a hundred dollar item with profit on the shipping would be an electric guitar. Generally, I charge $32 shipping cost for FedEx Ground, fully insured and solid packaging. In the end, I often get about $10 out of the shipping, which I then apply to my advertising costs, so that the guitar auction is paid for in the shipping costs and the guitar itself ends up being where I make the profit.

    Pricing Techniques/Testing

    It is wise to do testing on the price of your item. I have been surprised a number of times at what a price change did for my sales. Sometimes, it was the exact opposite of what I "thought" would occur. So, don't allow your assumptions to stop you from changing the price. For instance, if you think that raising the price will automatically decrease your sales, that is not always the case. There is a certain type of customer, out there, which will actually be more likely to buy it if the price is higher! Yes, I have found that there are two types of customers: Those that like it cheap and those that like quality. The people that want quality often assume that if the price is higher it is better quality. To me, it doesn't seem logical, as I am other the "like it cheap" category usually. But, to them, it is logical to spend more money to obtain quality, whether or not it is really better quality. Another assumption I have made that was incorrect is that lowering the price too far is risky. If there is enough demand from the "like it cheap" crowd, you can lower the price and see a large increase in orders. I have seen this occur with one of my products.

    When doing price testing, do it in a scientific way. What I mean be meticulous with your methodology and analyzation. So, try raising the price a couple dollars, let it go for a week or two and analyze your sales and profit. Did it increase or decrease? If it increased your profit, keep it. Possibly try increasing it a couple more dollars and let it work for a week or two to see if it increases the profit again. If it doesn't, go back to the previous level that was making the most money. If it does, maybe this is indicating a pattern or possibly, you need to increase it again.

    NOW, this will mess up your thinking, but just because increasing the price made more profit, does not mean that there is a lower price also that can increase the profit. Think of those curves with two humps you used to see in math class. Imagine your first price was between those two humps and you just went to the right with your price increase and saw the profit go up (one of the humps). But, if you would have went the other way, you would have also seen a profit increase. You don't know that, though, as you haven't tried it yet. It should be noted that this "two hump curve" does not occur too often. Generally it is a one hump curve and if increasing the price increases your profit, most likely the opposite direction will decrease your profit.

    The Importance of Having a PayPal Account

    When selling on eBay, Yahoo and through Google Adwords, I receive payment generally in two different ways. The first methods would be through the mail (money order, checks, money orders). This accounts for only about 15% of my revenue. The second and more important method is through my Paypal Account. Paypal is the most widely used method of payment and approximately 85% of my payments come through there. So, make sure you do sign up with You can do so through also, as eBay owns now.

    Even for selling on your own website or selling on Yahoo Auctions, I would suggest having a Paypal account over other merchant accounts for a number of reasons. First, Paypal generally has lower fees for its credit card and e-check processing services. Of all the other companies that I have seen that process credit cards and e-checks, often they have some fees that make their costs higher. Second, Paypal is more popular among buyers. This means they are more likely to go through with a purchase, if you accept Paypal payments. Third, it makes it simpler for you to process your orders if you have one main processing service instead of two or more. All of the orders are then consoldated into one processing service, which cuts down your time in processing your orders for shipping..

    There are some things to be watchful of with regards to Paypal. At this point, I would say that it would not be wise to accept any large payment $300.00 or over, due to various fraudulent tricks some scammers can play. I know most of their tricks, so I am able to avoid them.


    Email Automation

    A great way to cut back some of your email from customers is to make automated email response rules. You can do this in Microsoft Outlook. I have about 60 rules for my business email. I attempted, on several occassions, to fully automate it, but it never worked out. The best you can do is automate it to answer maybe half of their email questions.

    Probably the easiest way to automate is to make one main rule that calls a certain text file on your computer, where you put in all the main questions/answers usually asked of you. You can tailor it over time to any new questions that are often asked of you. This is an effective way to cover many of the emails that come to you, but it is not an end all/answer all fix. You should still go through each email to see if it was answered sufficiently by the automated email response rule.

    One of the things I do is color code each email per the email rule that answered the email. For example, if I have a rule to explain shipping charges, I will have it color the email green, so that I know which email rule answered it. This way, if I have many rules, I can more easily know if the automated rules answered the emails correctly.

    To make rules in Microsoft Outlook, do the below:

    1. Open Microsoft Outlook (Express).
    2. On the top toolbar, click on "Tools/Message Rules/Mail..."
    3. This will open the Message Rules Window. Click on the "New" Button to create a new email rule.
    4. Look through the lists and check the boxes that relate to how you want the automation to occur. When you check a box from (1.) or (2.), it will show in (3.) with the logic written out. If you see any links in blue, click on them to put in the details. For instance (3.) could say something like this,

      Apply this rule after the message arrives
      Where the Subject line contains specific words.

    5. Do not forget to name the email rule in (4.), so it is named similar to its function. Next, click the "OK" Button and then click the "OK" Button a second time. This will save your rule Microsoft Outlook and will apply everytime you download email.

    Automated Feedback

    The easiest way to do this is to just download this program, Merlin Instant Feedback from PC Tech Zone. Then, set it up to work with your eBay account. Once you have set it up, everytime you turn on your computer, the program will start in your system tray and automatically leave positive feedback for those you have set up for it to do so. SO, you will need to change the preferences to you liking. There are two ways it can leave positive feedback. The first is it can automatically leave positive feedback for those that have already left you positive feedback. This is the preference I use. The other, leaves everyone positive feedback. I used to use this one, but sometimes, I would get customers who were vengeful and would leave me a negative after I left them positives, so I quit using that preference..

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