Get the Customer, Not Just the Sale...
By Sean Eyring, eBay Certified Consultant and Research Education Specialist
probably working too hard. Once a listing closes on eBay, you move on
to the next one, right? For most eBay sellers, once they make a sale
and send off the product, they don't think about that sale
If so, they're cheating themselves. Don't
view a sale as a transaction. See it as the beginning of a relationship
with a customer. If you sell to a niche audience, this is especially
Let's say your niche is selling
golf-related products. If you sell a set of golf clubs, what can you do
to make a new customer, not just a sale?
The Gold Is in the List
old marketing saying is, "The gold is in the list." What they mean is
your customer list. Each time you sell a product, keep track of who
bought and what they bought. If you sell a few different types of
products, you may want to keep a separate list for each product
You are allowed by law to contact your
customers after the sale. Typically, you can email or phone them within
90 days of the last contact. What that means is that as long as you
contact your eBay buyers every few months, you can continue to contact
Back to our example. Let's say you sell a
set of golf clubs to a customer today. It's probably safe to say
they'll need golf balls. They may need a golf towel, shoes, and a glove
as well. This is one more advantage of marketing to a niche, rather
than selling all kinds of products. You don't just make a sale, you get
a new customer.
It gets better. One of the
biggest complaints we hear is the rising price of eBay listing fees. It
can really cut into your profits. But if you sell your products on a
traditional Web site in addition to selling on eBay, how much will you
spend in eBay listing fees when you invite them to buy on your Web
Of course, you won't pay eBay any fees
whatsoever when a customer you found through an eBay auction buys on
your Web site - all the more profit for you to keep.
Keeping in Touch
how do you make it easy to stay in touch with your eBay buyers? I use a
service called AWeber (www.aweber.com). It's a convenient service that
makes it easy to create different groups that you send emails out
You can create a different group for each
product you sell. You use their service to send out emails announcing
sales you might be running or products you might have recently listed
on eBay. The system even makes it easy for people to unsubscribe if
they choose not to receive any more emails. That way, you can never be
accused of email spam.
buy from those they know. Think about it. How many places do you buy
groceries? I only buy from one. Do you rent movies from more than one
place? From how many places do you order pizza? You get the
We're creatures of habit. Once I find a
barber I'm really happy with, I stick with them. I don't spend a lot of
time comparing prices. I just know I get a good haircut, so I keep
Provide great service to those you
sell to on eBay. Don't just deliver on time and meet their basic
expectations. Go the extra mile. What do I mean by that? Let's go back
to our earlier example.
When someone buys a set
of golf clubs, give them something extra. Maybe throw in a pack of golf
tees, along with a note telling them it's a free thank-you for their
business. Make an impression.
Seth Godin, author
of The Purple Cow and Permission
Marketing calls this a "free prize." He points out that to
make an impression in the mind of your customer, all you have to do is
just a little extra, a little more than they expect, a little more than
they paid for.
How much does a pack of tees cost?
A couple dollars. Compare that with the price of a set of golf clubs,
which can easily run in the hundreds of dollars. The tees don't cut
into your profit much, but what may the ultimate result be?
just made an impression. Your customer is more likely to buy from you.
But more importantly, they are more likely to spread the word about
you ever wonder why, as you wander around your local grocery store, you
often see someone passing out free samples of food? I used to think it
was to get me to try something new. If I liked it, I'd buy.
only half the story. There is a powerful marketing principle called
"reciprocity." Simply put, when someone gives us something, we have a
natural urge to want to reciprocate... to give back.
Long-Term Success vs. Short-Term Gains
businesses don't expect to make a cent on an initial purchase. Sound
absurd? Not really. They just realize that with an ongoing plan to
re-sell and up-sell to existing customers, they will make a lot more
from a long-term relationship than they ever can by viewing each
customer as a one-time sale.