If you have an e-commerce business, it's not like any other job. You know this is true. You adapt to the ever-changing selling environment or you die.
In Part 1 of this series with veteran eBay seller Kathy Keefe of Sassy's Savings we talked about her roots in eBay selling, how she revamped her eBay business completely and what led to her doing that.
I'm a late starter on Pinterest, but I see the benefits from fellow sellers, and I wish I had gotten serious about it a long time ago
Here, she discusses the importance of research, her favorite sites for doing that research, her favorite hangouts for sellers and the very foundations of her success.
Schepp: How do you go about marketing your eBay Store?
Keefe: Marketing is perhaps a much-overlooked area of business on eBay. Sure you can depend on eBay and/or Google for your buyers to find your listings, but why only rely on them? Get your items out where the public can see them, get your brand out there, explain who you are and why people should buy from you.
Include links or widgets in your emails, add a link to your signature on forums (if they allow that) and then there's social. Social marketing is a huge part of any successful business. You can't even watch a television commercial without seeing Facebook and Twitter. Those are the places I started with.
Having been on Twitter for years, literally, for me that is still my most successful means of getting my products, my brand and most importantly me out to the public. With more and more focus on Facebook that was the natural direction to follow. Blogging is an easy, if time consuming, way to market your products. Including your link on your blog signatures (comments) just helps to spread the word.
Schepp: What advice do you have about using Pinterest?
Keefe: Don't put it off! If you haven't started marketing on Pinterest, the time is now (or yesterday). I'm a late starter on Pinterest, but I see the benefits from fellow sellers, and I wish I had gotten serious about it a long time ago. To learn from a pro, take Lisa Suttora's course—you'll learn things that could take a lifetime to learn on your own.
Helpful tools and groups
Schepp: Do you use research tools such as Terapeak?
Keefe: I do use research tools because I love research. I not only want to correctly identify an item, I need to correctly see what the market will bear in terms of pricing. I've used WorthPoint, which is a godsend for collectibles.
As time goes on, I almost always can find the necessary information using a straight Google search. The information is endless. You've just got to be able to find it. Once you learn that, there is no limit.
Terapeak is a tool that every serious seller should at least consider. From market trends to pricing, it is well worth the money. What's "hot," how long does it stay hot? Are the prices climbing? Are the prices going down? What kind of a chance do I have to break into a new niche? Endless information!
The old trusty go-to are, in fact, eBay and Google. With the improvements that eBay has made to the advanced search, there's nothing easier than pulling up sales only. Learn about when to list, how (what format), categories, how much competition there is and pricing. Google is still my first choice for search engines maybe because I find what I'm looking for 99 percent of the time. When all else fails, off to Facebook I go because someone will know or at the least be able to point me in the right direction to find it.
It all starts with attitude. If you look for and work for success, you will find it
Schepp: You are also active in many groups for sellers. Which do you find particularly useful?
Keefe: Facebook is a great place to socialize, share and, more importantly, learn! Yes there are selling groups on Facebook, lots of them. I had to pare it down due to time constraints and really only participate in a few. These are the ones I'm most active in and get the most out of—and able to give the most back.
eBay Stores, Nothing But eBay Stores is a place to go to learn and share anything related to eBay Stores, no other platforms, just eBay. The main reason I enjoy this group is because it is full of positive, forward-thinking sellers. There is no bashing or blaming of either eBay or customers…
CO$T, which stands for Cindy’s Online Selling Tips, is a private group with the number of members limited so that it can be more focused and be a lot like a big happy family. Honestly, positive learning and sharing happens here.
The Power of the eBay Community is the first group I joined on Facebook and remains one that I regularly visit. This also is a positive group offering advice and help to find solutions.
Thrifting with the Boys is the other group that I frequent. "Wow," is all I can say. If I can't figure out what something is, there is bound to be a member there who can. And with the second season of their show "Thrift Hunters" still new, it's a jumping, busy group.
And, in no particular order, the last one I'm going to mention is The eCommerce Group. This is definitely an advanced learning group that focuses on anything e-commerce. The support and information shared there is second to none! John Lawson gives his all to his "peeps."
As you can see, the main focus here is the positive atmosphere of all these groups. There are enough negative nellies out there. To be successful and continue to move forward, you have to walk away from the negativity.
And giant kudos for Audrey Tracy, who runs the eBay for Business Facebook group! As an active member of many of these groups, she brings knowledge and support of sellers.
Schepp: What other advice do you have for eBay sellers?
Keefe: It all starts with attitude. If you look for and work for success, you will find it. It's your business; it's not personal. Leave the personal feelings out of your eBay/e-commerce business. [Also]:
Don't take everything you read there as fact. Do your own homework to verify
Customer service: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Have a positive attitude. Be honest. If you make a mistake it's OK to say so. Buyers actually appreciate your honesty.
Package items safely and securely: The first impression is the most important. Ship promptly. Answer messages promptly, before, during and after the sale. Make every customer feel like they are the only customer.
Have a plan: When something you are selling stops selling, look for other options; look for different ways to list items. You want to stand out, not blend in.
Learn what eBay's best practices are and follow them: They have these for a reason and they definitely do make a difference. It's OK if you've done something the same for many years; it's time to try something different. Sometimes you have to learn to just trust!
Continue learning: How you learn is up to you, but to go blindly with the thought that you'll figure it out, this just isn't going to work anymore. The information is all on the eBay site and, yes, it can be challenging to find, so if you can't find it, reach out and ask.
Join a group on Facebook, but don't take everything you read there as fact: Do your own homework to verify. There is great information out there. There is also a lot of misinformation. Be specific in asking your question, no matter how basic it might seem. We all had to learn. What you need to learn now changes constantly. Find a way that's easy for you to keep up with these changes.
Be consistent: Whether it's your listing practices, picture taking or shipping, consistency reaps the biggest benefit.
Never doubt your ability!
Learn to embrace and accept change: It's pretty much guaranteed changes will occur. Of course, we all have a choice. Embrace it or run away!
Schepp: Thank you, Kathy!