EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 158 - January 08, 2006 - ISSN 1528-6703     4 of 7

Blogs as eBay Marketing Tools

By Kelvin Cook

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Online sellers have to do their own marketing. Auction sites like eBay, Overstock.com, Amazon, Yahoo and others do market the auctions they host on their sites, but in today's competitive environment, a seller has to market their auctions and online stores in other ways too.

One way is to use a blog. I have been asked, "What can an online seller do with a blog?" To which I answer:

- inform your customers

- give more information about merchandise

- give your auctions/store items greater page rank

- attract customers

- earn money via affiliate marketing

- combine all selling efforts in one place

For example, in my eBay Store, I sell collectible mugs. I buy them from thrift stores, yard sales and almost anyplace that I find them. I look for mugs and cups that I know will be valuable to the collector. Mugs that have military themes, brand names, and cartoon characters are a few of the valuable types of mugs that collectors buy.

I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog about collectible mugs. I update this blog when I find new information about mugs in the news and other online sites (http://fitzmugs.blogspot.com). When I get new mugs in, I link to other resources on the Internet about them and provide a great deal more information about collectible mugs then I would be able to in my store/auction listings alone.

The beauty of this is that I am able to link to each item in my store in my blog as well. This allows me to generate greater exposure and page rank (relevance) for the search engines, because my items are being linked from another relevant place on the Internet. If a customer does not find my mugs through my online store, they may find it through my blog.

Which leads me to explain how blogs can be used to attract more customers. Blogs have features, tools, and methods of being searched that are very popular and powerful. A blog can be searched using Technorati (http://www.technorati.com), Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com), Del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us) and many other online tools that are dedicated to searching and cataloging blogs. These tools can attract customers to your online store and auctions. In my example, I use the Technorati tags to link entries in my blog. When a Technorati user searches for collectibles, mugs, Charlie Brown, or the USS Nimitz, they may find my mugs blog and become one of my customers.

Another marketing opportunity that blogs offer the online seller is affiliate marketing. By having a blog devoted to the items you sell, you can place ads from affiliate programs that you belong to in the blog. In my case, I am an affiliate for Amazon.com, so I place affiliate links to books about collectible mugs on my blog.

I also link to other mugs that are being sold on eBay, via the eBay affiliate program, and if someone buys a mug from one of my competitors through an affiliate link on my mug blog, I get paid for it (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abu/y205/m12/abu0157/s04). You can use a blog to host Google's adsense, which could also supplement your income (https://www.google.com/adsense).

Many online sellers sell on multiple venues. You can use your blog to combine all your selling activities in one place. If you are giving a discount on shipping on one of the items that you sell, you can announce this discount in your blog and spread it across all the various venues on which you sell.

A blog can be a useful tool for an online seller because blogs offer tools that auction sites do not, or they complement the tools that the sites offer. They can be used in your marketing to inform your customers, to make your merchandise easier to find on the Internet. They can give you a whole new channel to sell your items through and increase the number of potential customers you get. In addition to marketing your items, you can use a blog to do affiliate marketing and earn some extra money that way too. And finally, a blog is a good way to combine all your online selling activities from different auction sites.

Blog Resources
It's not difficult to set up a blog, here are two popular blog services.

Blogger.com (free)
http://www.blogger.com/start

Typepad (starting at $4.95/month)
http://www.typepad.com


About the author:

Kelvin Cook is a blogger who lives and writes in San Diego, CA, where he collects and sells military collectibles, toys, tee shirts and books. He maintains the Online Seller Tips Blog at http://onlinesellertips.blogspot.com, a blog devoted to tips, tricks and tools for the eBay, Yahoo, Amazon and iOffer online seller. His eBay store is found online at http://stores.ebay.com/Fitzgeralds-Collectibles and he uses the eBay ID: Fitzgerald0_0. Email him at Fitzinator at gmail dot com.


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