In the last column we talked about building communities that buy and showed you some great examples of eBay sellers who are already benefitting from this style of marketing. But how do you create your own buying community?
First, you need to provide the two things that buyers always buyno matter what you're selling: security and confidence. That phrase, hopefully, is starting to become as permanent in your brain as the "It's a Small World (After All)" song.
Security and confidence are crucial to providing the leadership respect you will need to have a community (or "tribe" if you're a Seth Godin fan). You can find these two crucial elements in multiple areas of your eBay business. Here are just a few:
One of the first steps, if you're going to be a successful online seller, is to answer five very important questions. We discussed these questions in a previous article. Your answers to questions three and four will help you create this type of powerful buying community:
What does your buyer want?
How can you create a connection with anyone unless you understand what the other person needs? If you can figure out what your buyers are looking for, fulfilling that need becomes so much easier.
I'm always surprised at people who sell what they like on eBay. That's equivalent to pushing a rock uphill. Why not make it easy on yourself to make money (and build a community along the way)? Sell what the people with money want. Sounds easy... but most sellers on eBay sell what they want, what's accessible to them and what they enjoy. That's great if that's what your business model encompasses. But if your business plan includes a financial statement, then I urge you to reconsider your customers' needs.
Also, your buyers don't want the actual product you're selling. Buyers don't buy fire alarms; they buy peace of mind and security for their families. Buyers don't just buy the latest gadget; they also buy their peers' awe and respect as they show off their new toy. See, if you understand what the buyers wantwhat they truly wantyou cannot only fulfill it, you can also start to build a community on those needs.
What does your customer's world look like?
The more you fulfill a customer's need, the better security and confidence they feel toward your business
Too often people only think of their customers in terms of "selling" to them the particular product they have for sale. They forget that outside of that five-minute transaction, that customer has a life. What encompasses the other 23 hours and 55 minutes is exactly the information you need to create a buying community.
Let's say you sell pet products and currently that's all you're concerned about. But what if you knew your buyer takes their pet to the groomer twice a month? Couldn't you save them money by carrying products that would allow them to do the maintenance and only have to go to the groomer once a month? What if you created a custom page and a newsletter with grooming tips and invited your customers to share theirs as well? What if you offered to include them on your Web site along with a picture of their pet? What if you started a blog where your buyers could participate in that conversation?
Ah… now you're starting to see why knowing what your customers (and their worlds) look like is profitably beneficial to your business. The more you understand how their world looks, the better you're able to fulfill their needs. The more you fulfill a need, the better security and confidence they feel toward your business.
One of my favorite books on delving into what your customer's world looks like is "Duct Tape Marketing" by John Jantsch. It's by far the most read and reread book in my library.
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Janelle Elms is a best-selling author, inspiring educator and Visionaire of the OSI Rock Stars. You can hear her on wsRadio every Wednesday on Ask Janelle Radio. Learn the success information you need to grow your business at www.osiRockStars.com. For step-by-step training on how to set up an eBay Store for maximum exposure and profit, visit One Percent Coach.
Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.