EBay is much more than a place to sell your used hockey equipment. It can also generate solid business leads and customers for your brick and mortar local business. Here is how…
From Online to Offline
Almost any type of business can have something they can sell online. Even if you sell pizza in a small town, you can increase your visibility and celebrity status using many methods including eBay. Since eBay is a marketplace to sell things the first step is to come up with something you can sell online.
There are several considerations when selling on eBay including the cost to ship goods so if you decide to sell signature pizza cutter you need to take that into account. Remember that what you are doing at this juncture on eBay is to generate leads and not focused on directly making money. Coming up with a product idea that will cost a little or break-even is perfect for finding people you can directly market to afterwords.
Whatever you sell be sure to keyword it for your community. For example you can sell the “Ottawa Pizza Cutter” or “Best Tasting Pizza in Ottawa – House Recipes”. This is beneficial when someone is doing a Google search for “Pizza in Ottawa” or “Best Tasting Pizza in Ottawa”.
To prepare you can buy a bunch of pizza cutters with your logo and phone number on it and sell them for .50¢ with free shipping to all persons in your area of business. Better yet – deliver in person and give them away for a penny. When you deliver you take coupons and menus with you.
Another option is to make something that won’t cost you anything. Put together a recipe book that people can buy for a few pennies. You can deliver this by email. Once a person has purchased through eBay you have all their contact information. They will love to get the book and coupons, and whatever else you want to give them for becoming a customer. Once they have given you money (even just a penny) they are a REAL customer.
Driving Traffic to Your Business from eBay
Putting something for sale on eBay that is related to your business is just one small step. You can repeat that over and over with different things. You can also drive traffic to your listings by writing a “Guide” on eBay. These Guides can rank quite high in the SE’s too. Suppose you write a guide about “Wood Fired Pizza Ottawa”. Make it an informative article that links to your eBay listings. Your eBay listings in turn have “Manufacturer Details” which would be your company. And your company has it’s profile on EBay as well. Before you start this do your keyword research first so you can plan your lead funnel.
eBay – Other Business Assets
You can not only grow your local business using eBay for leads but you can also add more revenue streams using eBay. Why not use their marketplace for what it is designed for. If you have a physical shop already you can add inventory to it by purchasing cheap on eBay then marketing it to bring people in your store. You can buy things Brand New on eBay for less than what it would cost to buy a container of goods for. Strategically you can take advantage of this to bring more customers to your pizza (or other brick and mortar) business.
Why not use your local bargain hunter newspaper to your advantage? But first we need to back up a bit. Who is your ideal customer? If you don’t already know who your ideal customer is – this being the one that buys most often and gives you the least amount of grief. This customer is responsible for 80% of your profits. So whatever product you sell that brings you the most profit for the least effort is the product you want to focus on and the customer that buys that is the customer you want to attract.
In this example let’s assume the biggest profit maker is the extra large family style pizza with medium crust, regular sauce, mushroom, green pepper, onion, and pepperoni with mozza cheese. This is the pizza you are always pushing on sale because it is the easiest to sell with highest profit margins.
And for this example we will assume that the person who usually buys this pizza is soccer mum in her mid 30’s with 3 kids. Both she and hubby work outside the home and they buy from you at least twice a month. She is your “Ideal Customer”. The next question is – “What else will she buy?” Answering this question isn’t just about making more profit from her – but it is mostly about making more SALES from her and attracting more people LIKE her.
Try sending your current customer base a questionnaire and ask what else do they buy. “What Did You Buy This Week?” Toilet paper, toothpaste, tires, tampons, underwear, fitness gadgets, are all available cheap on eBay. Try a “contest” style questionnaire where they get a coupon for answering that question. A little research can tell you what you could carry that would attract new customers.
How this works
Let’s assume a popular item is a water purifier. You can buy one on eBay for half what it would cost locally. It is brand new so you can then advertise in your local paper you have them on sale at your store. Even though they aren’t coming for pizza today, you sell them the purifier and then give them a coupon for your most popular pizza. OR you could sell it for $10 if they buy a large pizza.
Surprises in researching your ideal customer: Imagine doing this research and finding out that a large number of your best customers also had “golf balls” as a purchase on that questionnaire you gave them. Now you know they are avid golfers so you can give away half a dozen Top Flight balls when they buy a family pizza.
Once you find a good item that fits your market you can then contact the eBay seller and ask them to sell in bundles at a very cheap price. The cost to ship the bundle will be pennies compared to shipping individually. These items could be also be sold locally by using eBay Classifieds or private ads such as Craigslist. Remember the point isn’t to just to increase profits but to bring in new pizza consuming customers.
eBay Affiliate Market for Small Local Business
Although I have done well in the past as an affiliate marketer, I do not recommend it as a way to bank on making a living. There are several reasons why I say that and the biggest reason is because you don’t OWN anything. you are at the mercy of the people who do and that is NOT a good place to be.
However, you can use affiliate sales to supplement your income and (more importantly) watch for trends you can capitalise on. Using the eBay affiliate links you can simply link off your business blog to related products that you are talking about on your site. These affiliate links will give you a percentage of a sale if the person buys while your cookie is still live on their computer.
If you already own a blog or website, then you can request to become partner with eBay. Though, only owned domain name on self hosted sites are accepted into partnership, non hosted blogs or websites are not approved.
On Another Note: Although this is outside the scope of this particular post, I will add that if you don’t own a website and you do not want to bother about getting one, then you could use another method of benefiting from eBay partnership known as; eBay Classified Ads Plus Pay-Per-Call.
Exactly like affiliate marketing program where you are paid for every sale made through the link you placed on your website, the Pay-Per-Call eBay Classified Ads works by getting paid for every person referred to services through the phone. There are many organizations using Pay-Per-Call affiliate method as so many of their services perform better with phone sales. When you submit an application to the Pay-Per-Call company of your choice, and once your application is accepted, you will be assigned a special phone number that is used in your advertisements. This will refer people to the company who dial using your assigned phone number. Your calls are tracked by the company through the incoming numbers and they may use several numbers for their Pay-Per-Call promotion. You are paid for every valid call made. The company usually use call time spent in determining the validity of a call, others may pay for a sale, a lead, or all three!
You can also place ads in the local newspaper with this method.
Steps to Take for Free Advertising on
Use eBay Classifieds (ie Kijiji). This might just be what you need especially with the classifieds postings being searchable online and seperate from the primary eBay.com site, thereby, increasing your publicity and sales opportunities.