Finding the Most Profitable eBay Products that Play to Your Strengths
By Steve Myers, Online Marketing Consultant
There's two schools of thought. One says you should only
sell those things you know well on eBay. The other claims
you can sell any product and make money, regardless of your
product. Which is right? Both are. Let me explain.
With Good Auction Research, You Can Sell Anything on eBay
It's true. With good tools and accurate data to research
your auctions, you can make money on eBay, with or without
specific knowledge of your product. But there are limitations.
If you've followed past newsletter articles, you've seen
how market research tools like HammerTap give you specific
knowledge to discover, for example:
- For how much will your product sell?
- How likely is it to sell?
- When's the best day to close my auction?
These are a few of the factors that go into a successful
eBay listing. They are all important factors that we can
sum up with a simple answer. Maybe if I'm selling Wilson
brand baseball catcher's mitts, I find it's likely to sell
for $12.52. Maybe it sells 59% of the time at that price point and I find the
best day to close my auction is Sunday.
This information puts me hands and feet above my competition
all by itself. But let's say I know nothing about baseball
(in my case, not far from the truth). I may know what price I can expect
for a Wilson catcher's mitt, but is that enough?
It's not. What do I lack? Well, I need to know more about
catcher's mitts in general, and this mitt specifically.
I could go to Wilson's web site and get a product description
for the mitt I wanted to sell. And guess what? It's likely
the same description half of my competition's ads will use.
Sell What You Know
Here's where knowing your subject comes into play. If you're
going to create a successful eBay listing, it's not enough
to know "just the facts, ma'am." If you don't mind your product
description sounding as cold as a winter January night, go
But if you want to stand out from the crowd, you've
got to do something a little different. That's where your
product knowledge comes in.
OK, I already admitted that baseball isn't my thing. So
for me, what stirs me up? What can I get excited about? What
do I talk about with my friends?
For me, it's marketing. I'm a marketing addict. And it all
started out so innocently. I had a client several years ago
who paid me an hourly rate to do their online marketing and
technical work for them. I got an hourly wage.
Then they did something truly evil. They offered me a commission
on online sales. Well, that turned me to the marketing "dark
side" for good. I was hooked.
I couldn't learn marketing
fast enough. I devoured the works of the greats like Joseph Sugarman
(my all-time marketing hero), John Caples, and David Ogilvie.
I have studied hundreds of advertisements and direct mail
pieces. I can't watch a commercial the same ever again. I
even enjoy looking at my junk mail, because I'm looking for
new angles to try in my own writing.
I've bored you already talking about marketing, I've made my point.
What's Your Passion?
You may never become a marketing junkie like I am. But I'll
bet you could sense my passion about the subject. You likely
have not heard of Joseph Sugarman, but you can tell how enthusiastic
I am about his work. He's the master copy writer.
Now, what are you passionate about? Are you selling
the things on eBay that get you excited? If not, let me make
this clear. You can still make money selling things on eBay
that you're not passionate about. You just handicap yourself
in doing so. People who don't know much about your product
will sense how you feel about it.
So, all things being equal, should I sell baseball mitts
or marketing books? If both are equally profitable, what
edge will my specific product knowledge give me?
Why Passion Matters
I'll write a better description. I have no idea what makes
a world-class baseball glove better than a discount store
special. And good descriptions come down to one of the most
basic marketing principles: features vs. benefits.
At its simplest, a product feature is some aspect of the
item. For a baseball mitt, a feature might be "child-sized
glove." It tells something about it.
A benefit wraps why I should care about the feature into
the description. In the example above, a benefit might read,
"This child-sized glove will fit your youngster perfectly,
so they'll catch that pop-fly more often. Better yet, they'll
stop borrowing your glove."
Be the Expert
Not only will you write a more compelling description that
makes your product more likely to sell, you're ready to answer
questions from potential sellers. Let's say I'm selling a
catcher's mitt and I get the following question: "What kind
of lacings does the mitt have?"
If I know all about baseball gloves (and remember, I'm pretending
here), I might say "They are of the highest grade leather,
extra-thick for durability."
If I know nothing about baseball mitts, when asked about
the laces, I'd likely say something useful like "Uh... they're
brown." Exaggerated point? Maybe. But you get the picture.
You're better able to speak intelligently about your product
when you know more about it.
Finding Profitable eBay Products to Sell
So how do you decide what to sell on eBay? Maybe you check
out eBay's "hot lists" to determine what's selling well. The problem there is that once an emerging "hot" product makes the list, the word's out. Competition increases, and profits are on the way down.
Others may just browse eBay listings to see which items have high bids on them. You can spend a lot of time that way and still not know which features are contributing to the high selling price.
When you combine your specific product knowledge with an auction research tool like HammerTap, you drastically improve your odds of finding the most profitable items for you to sell on eBay.
Make the most of your auctions with research!
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