Education & Training

Before Selling: Branding Your Name continued ...

Getting Your Name Out There

So, you've got a name, a specialty, and bids are rolling in. The next trick is to get serious, frequent bidders to remember you. This is something you can do on your product page, where simpler is better. Many sellers attempt to follow this credo; unfortunately most do a really bad job.

Do not expect to endear people to you by loading your product page up with cute photos of your pets or children (unless you're selling them, of course). Do not add a clip of your favorite hillbilly music--or any other music. Be especially careful of your image hosting service. Some image hosters include third-party ads with their service. Click a button to see a photo and BANG!--an advertising window pops up.

All of these annoying distractions waste bidders' time while they wait for pages and images to load. Worse, they can cause older and less-updated computers to freeze or crash. Sure, buyers will remember you for these types of things--but not in the way you want.

Instead, focus on your text. You might begin your description with "Item by" followed by your username. (Some sellers even go so far as to include their name in the title.) At the end of the text, ask buyers to search your other items. Make it easy for them by including your item name in the description (this way, novice buyers can search your name through regular item description searches as well as through seller searches).

There are also simple ways to incorporate your name into your product photos. Many computer programs allow you to overlay text across your photos, though this can require some skill and be time-consuming as well. Instead, you might choose to make some sort of modest sign and place it beneath your product. Then photograph or scan both. There are more imaginative methods, too. For example, several online sellers use old wooden children's blocks on which to set their products prior to photographing them. The blocks, of course, spell out the sellers' usernames. Just be careful not to do anything that seriously distracts one's eye from the product you are selling.

Pack It Up

When you package your products, be sure to include your online moniker atop the return address. You might also include a thank-you note with the product, signed with both your real and online names. The note can be simple (one word--"Thanks!"--is often enough). It could be handwritten or computer-generated for mass production. Don't get too elaborate with your design, and avoid computerized notes that simulate handwriting. They work about as well as trying to make a handwritten note look computer-generated.

GBN: Good Business Sense

But in the end, the best way to brand your name and get people to remember you is to practice good business sense. Be fair with your buyers. Describe your products accurately and completely. Send out your end-of-auction emails quickly. Pack products securely and ship them promptly. Be a professional and follow through with every aspect on your end of the deal.

After all, Coca-Cola's brand name wouldn't be worth dirt if it didn't taste good.

Bob Maschi has been selling and writing about collectibles and vintage toys for over 10 years. Currently he owns more toys than all four of his children combined. Email him your feedback.

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