EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 143 - May 22, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     3 of 7

Marketing for eBay Sellers: Part 2 - Newsletters

By Phil Dunn and Amy Balsbaugh

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In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how using email marketing like eBay's Email Marketing Program can help develop the kind of customer loyalty and customer retention that guarantees long-term success (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y205/m05/abu0142/s03). In today's article, we describe how launching a newsletter offers extended value to customers and generates additional enthusiasm around your business.

With a newsletter, you can achieve the same effect as direct email campaigns and offer even more value to readers. By providing insider information and educational material about your business, you give customers the gift of information and promote your business in the process. The information draws them back to your business, piques their interest in your products, and encourages them to purchase more from you.

Remember, "news" is the crucial element to a newsletter, so be informative. Include information on sales or upcoming events, new merchandise or product lines, testimonial stories from reputable sources, and new or novel ways to use your product.

Get creative. If you sell culinary tools, include an uncommon recipe. If you sell baby toys, write an article on an aspect of early childhood development. Offer information that's interesting on its own merits but also encourages the sale of your merchandise.

Special promotions can be included in your newsletter, too. Think of traditional brick & mortar retailers and the tactics they use to draw customers into their stores. Seasonal promotions like back to school, Christmas in July, and special holiday merchandise are perennial favorites. Or, you can offer loyalty discounts, coupons for free shipping, or tell-a-friend promotions. Third-party services like MyStoreCredit.com, Paycodes.com and Aucsy.com make it easy to create credits and discount codes your customers can redeem when they return to shop with you again. We'll cover promotions and coupons further in Part 3 of this series.

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of allowing customers to opt-in to email marketing campaigns and newsletters. When customers choose to receive communications, they welcome them with enthusiasm. However, unsolicited contact is usually viewed as spam and promptly deleted. Many online selling venues, like eBay, prohibit such marketing efforts unless the recipient has agreed to opt-in. So, whether you're sending a newsletter or a promotion, make sure you ask for "opt-in" permission, and make it easy for recipients to "opt-out" (or unsubscribe).

When you send out newsletters, you can use your own system or create and distribute it via eBay's Email Marketing Program. Offered to eBay Store owners, this automated system also makes the opting-in process simple.

Make printed copies of your newsletter, too, so you can include them in every package you send out. Remember, a newsletter is the gift of information. Customers love complimentary gifts, and gift-giving inspires them to reciprocate with their return business. (Part 4 of this series will cover gift-giving in-depth.)

Anything you add to the package will increase customers' perceived value of your transaction. It will leave them feeling positive and make them enthusiastic about returning to shop with you again.

Email Newsletter Services:
eBay Email Marketing Program http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/emailmarketing.html
AuctionContact http://www.auctioncontact.com
Topica http://www.topica.com


About the author:

Phil Dunn is a marketing and advertising writer and consultant for Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Pitney Bowes and IKON. Amy Balsbaugh runs a lucrative eBay antiques and collectibles business, and has been a member of eBay's PowerSeller program since its inception. Phil and Amy co-authored "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, July 2005). See their Blog at http://ebay-marketing.blogspot.com, and their book at http://digbig.com/4dhwf.


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