Author: Andrew Minalto
I’m amazed! It’s now 2013, but the majority of eBay sellers still can’t get this right – create a listing that really SELLS! And I’m not talking about fancy templates here – no, basic, common sense guidelines that everyone should be following. But they’re not!
If you have done any research on eBay you’ll find loads of unprofessional listings. Listings without product pictures in them. Listings with crazy font styles and sizes. Listings with no product descriptions. And so on.
I can understand that an individual who just wants to sell off his used iPhone doesn’t have a clue about how to create a good looking listing, BUT when business sellers who have hundreds of listings can’t put together a half decent listing, that’s beyond my imagination. Why? Because they’re leavings tons of money on the table by doing this! Or should I say – by NOT doing this!
So here’s the deal – in this blog post I have put together basic guidelines which ANYONE can follow to create good listings. You don’t need any designer skills – that’s not the idea here (anyone can hire a designer for a custom made template and formatting, that’s a whole other story) – in this post I want to show you how you can make good looking listings using basic, free tools. Without further ado, let’s get started!
You need a template, there’s no way around it. Without a template it’s really hard to create a good looking layout. You can still do it without a template, BUT I strongly recommend getting one. Yes, even the free ones will do. On the internet you can find dozens, even hundreds of free eBay listing templates – just do a Google search for “free eBay template”.
Listings tools such as Auctiva will have built-in templates. Even eBay offers you the use of their templates, at an additional cost though. My very own SpicyAuctionTemplates.com is a good starting point – you can get 10 free templates there, or get access to all 750 templates for less than 30 quid.
To sum it up – you need a template, no matter what! Be it a free one, paid or custom made – an eBay listing template is the core of this concept and will make your life so much easier.
Now, once you have a template, you have to figure out HOW to make text, pictures, videos, bullet points and sub-headlines look GOOD inside it! There’s no point in using a template if you still make the same mistakes. The key to success here is knowing what elements to use where and how to format them properly.
With most templates you’ll have some sort of header area which you should customize. You simply get the header image file and edit it with photo editing software, such as Photoshop, Gimp or even with free online tools such as Pixlr.com.
Here’s what you should do:
1) On the left side, add your company’s logo. If you don’t have one, get one ASAP. If you’re on a small budget, even a logo from Fiverr.com for $5 will be better than nothing. If you can afford to invest more, get your logo done by professionals on eLance.com. You NEED a logo, period. Even if you use a free template, by adding your logo you make it look unique.
2) On the right side, add your contact details. Email is a must and ideally you want to include a phone number too. First of all, a phone number instantly increases your credibility. Secondly, there are still customers out there who prefer to make a phone call prior to ordering. So, if you’re not using a phone number for support you’re probably missing out on extra sales.
If you’re at home or at an office all day use a landline number. If not, use a mobile number. If neither suits you, check out Skype Online Numbers – for a fixed yearly fee you get a phone number that looks just like an ordinary landline number along with voice mail and other features. You can access these Skype Numbers from your PC, laptop, iPad or even a smart phone.
3) If you have any special message you want to feature, place it in the header area, too. It could be a slogan, USP, special message – say you offer FREE Next Day Delivery within the UK for all items! Or you can feature your seller status, like “N°.1 eBay Seller for X Widgets” or guarantee terms, like “30-Day No Hassle Guarantee on All Items!”. In a word, if you have a strong marketing message that makes your business look good, use the header area to promote it.
Every listing should start with a headline. In the headline you basically use the product name plus any additional, useful information (on the second line, right below the headline). Here’s how it can look:
Font Style: Verdana or Arial
Font Size: 18pt – 24pt, BOLD
Text Colour: Black or Dark Red
Your main, best product image should go right under the headline! If you have several images, use one that shows the product in full overview, not a detailed photo.
After the first image, you should add the product description. I won’t go into details on how to write a good product description here (that’s another worthy post), but whatever you do, make sure you have a product description in the first place! Don’t leave your customers wondering about the item – how big or small it is, what condition it’s in, what colour it is or what features it has. Ideally, you should write a 200-300 word unique product description for each of your eBay listings.
Font Style: Verdana or Arial
Font Size: 10pt – 12pt
Text Colour: Black
Break up text into small, 2-3 sentence paragraphs. Use the bold function to highlight the most important key phrases in the description.
If you have any lists in your product description, be sure to use bullet points! You can use the built-in bullet points feature most WYSIWYG editors have OR, if you’re more advanced with technology, you can use your own icons to create beautiful looking lists like this:
All I did here was I found a good icon, 5px x 5px in size, uploaded it to my hosting account and inserted the image in front of each line of text. This is EASY, anyone can do this with a little bit of practice. It’s a small thing but it makes a huge difference to how a description looks overall.
If the product description for a particular item is very long (300+ words), split it up into blocks and separate them by using sub-headlines.
Font Style: Verdana or Arial
Font Size: 14pt – 18pt, BOLD
Text Colour: Black or Dark Red
For the text in sub-headlines, you can simply use the main feature or benefit you’re describing in the following paragraph. You can also split up large blocks of text by using:
Additional Product Pictures
Having one product image in the listing is good, but IDEALLY you want to include an additional 2-4 images, especially if you’re selling an item that requires more attention and more detailed images. Buyers LOVE close-up pictures! Be it a handbag or an MP4 player, people want to see the detail and the best way to give them this is by using additional pictures – different angles, close-ups!
This is not mandatory, BUT if you sell similar items it’s a good idea to feature them at the end of a description block. It can be as simple as product images with some text, “Click here”, or ideally you want to include pricing too and some key features.
The idea here is that people who are looking at your current listing could also be interested in similar items, if you have them. Maybe they like the item in the listing but are looking for a different colour? Or a slightly different model? So, if you have related items, advertise them directly in your listings using simple product images/banners.
After the main product description blocks come 4 important elements:
Simply describe what payment options you accept. If you’re not using the “Immediate Payment Required” feature on BIN listings, this is a good place to state that payments must be made within X days of purchase.
Here’s an example of how this could look:
We accept the following payment methods:
Please pay within 3 days of ordering.
Describe in detail what shipping method will be used to ship this particular item and show the costs. Yes, even though shipping costs are clearly displayed in a listing’s info block at the very top of the page, you still want to include them here. Just to be safe, as people could overlook them under the gallery image. If you offer FREE shipping that’s even better, but still write it down in this block.
You should also include dispatch time and expected delivery time. Example:
We offer FREE shipping on all items!
Your item will be carefully packed and dispatched within 24 hours (Mon.-Fri.) of receiving payment.
Most items will be posted out the same day if payment is received before 4 pm.
We use Royal Mail 1st class delivery for all shipments.
Obviously, this is where you put the details about your returns policy. By eBay rules, all business sellers have to accept returns for a minimum of 14 days. You can of course extend this period. But usually 14 days is a good time frame. You also want to write down clearly in what condition and how items should be returned and who pays the shipping costs.
Here’s an example of a good Returns Policy – feel free to use it: change and adjust it as per your needs:
If you are not happy with your item please return in the original packaging and with all tags attached within 14 days. Goods must be returned carriage paid. Refund of purchase price will be refunded by the same method as the payment was made. Postage and packaging will not be refunded.
If your item is faulty or we have sent you something different to what you ordered, again please return it to us within 14 days and we will give you a full refund or replacement. Including postage and packaging.
The last information block is Contacts. Again, even though you included your contact details in the header area, this is a good place to have them once again: your email, phone number, address and business hours can all be added here. A quick example:
Phone: 01 2532 2548
Your Company Ltd.
Address Line 1
Address Line 2
That’s it – Anatomy of a Perfect eBay Listing! I hope you agree that there’s nothing complicated here, in fact it’s basic stuff EVERYONE can and should do. The good news is that once you have created one such listing, you just copy it and use it for other items – simply change the images, descriptions and headlines, but keep the rest of the listing/formatting the same.
Lastly – when I mention that you can use Arial OR Verdana and 10pt OR 12pt text size – I mean that you pick one and use it throughout the listing! DO NOT change font styles within one listing; that simply doesn’t look professional. Don’t use fancy font styles as they won’t do you any good. Same goes for colours – stick with black for description and use dark red occasionally for headlines and sub-headlines.
You can do this, trust me! Just get that one listing right and Copy & Paste from there! If you have any questions about specific things/tasks, feel free to post them below this post, in the comments section.
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