Now that you've got a decent auction business going on eBay, you might be thinking about ways to build a stronger relationship with your repeat customers, or even to bring some of those buyers to your off-eBay business.
While it's against eBay's rules to use your auction page to link directly to your off-eBay store, you can still use eBay to promote your company and drive traffic to your site.
One of the best online marketing tools that hardly anyone is using is the eBay About Me page. eBay provides this option for free, so there's no good reason to not use ityet it's one of the most underutilized features of eBay.
The About Me page is like your very own homepage on eBay. It's an opportunity to showcase your business, your products and yourself, if you wish, and add more of a human element to the usually impersonal online buyer-seller relationship.
If you have a personal or business Web site, you can use your About Me page to direct buyers there to help build your brand and increase your sales. You can also list other items you have for sale on eBay, and discuss the types of items you sell outside of eBay's auction arena.
The icon next to your username on your auction page lets buyers know that you have an About Me page. Clicking on the icon will open your page. But it's a good idea to also invite buyers to view your About Me page. You can do this within the body of your auction description by saying something like, "Learn more about my widgets business on my About Me page." Be sure to include a hyperlink to take them there.
What's not to love?
It's a mystery why more eBay sellers don't take advantage of this free marketing tool. Maybe they don't understand the powerful effect brand recognition can have on their online sales. Or perhaps they're put off by the thought of designing a Web page.
You can't provide links that direct buyers to non-eBay auction sites, offer eBay-prohibited items, or subscribe users to newsletters or forums
To the first point, if you're unsure whether an About Me page will really have a positive impact on your business, insert a hit counter to track the number of visits to your pageand see if there's a corresponding uptick in bidding on your auctions. Worst case, you can always delete your About Me page if you find it's not serving to boost your business. One thing is certain: You'll never know unless you try.
If the idea of Web page design is intimidating or turns you off, you should know that eBay has made this process pretty fool-proof, and we've boiled it down to five simple steps. You could use your own HTML code to build your About Me page, but unless you're a tech whiz, why go to the trouble? Give yourself a break and click the option to use eBay's step-by-step guide, then follow the simple instructions.
That's Step 1.
Step 2: Add your page content. eBay's template makes this a breeze by clearly marking the fields for entering a page title and a couple of paragraphs about your company, your background, your pet tarantula, your favorite reality TV show, or whatever information you wish to impart. You can play with the formatting buttons on the different text fields to adjust the look and feel.
Add up to two pictures using eBay's Basic Picture Service (fees apply), or select "Your Web hosting" to use another image-hosting provider, such as Auctiva. This process is no different than uploading pictures to your eBay auctions.
The content section also allows you to show off the stellar eBay feedback your eBay auctions are getting, and share up to three favorite Web links. This is where you want to include your personal or business Web site to help build your e-commerce presence. If there are industry associations or informational resources related to the products you sell, you could add links to those tooas a way to lend more credibility and legitimacy to your message.
(A word of caution: What you can't do is to provide links that direct buyers to non-eBay auction sites, offer eBay-prohibited items, or subscribe users to newsletters or forums hosted outside of eBay. eBay spells out its terms on its Links Policy page.
Click Continue to advance to the next step, or Back to scrap the whole thing and start over.
Step 3: Select a layout style from the three options, and click Select. You haven't committed to anything at this point, so if you don't like what you see, click Back.
Step 4: Preview the page, checking for grammar, typos and spelling errors. Make sure your text is formatted the way you want it. From here, you can click Submit to go on, or Back to edit some more.
Step 5: When you're satisfied with the look of your page, click Submit.
eBay will send you the link to your About Me page, which you can include in all your auction listings to start driving more traffic to your online business.