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Like it or not, being an eBay seller makes you a salesman (or woman).
It also makes you a CEO and marketing director. It is your job to help people find your product, and then convince them that they need it. Out of the many hats that you have to wear, “Headline Writer” probably isn’t one of the first that came to mind.
But maybe it should have been!
A great title is one of the major deciding factors for whether or not your product sells.
Unlike browsing through the racks at the mall, people rarely just stumble upon your products on eBay.
The only way that people find your products is by using the search bar and filters. If you have a crappy title, you’ll get fewer people who see your listing, and even fewer of those people who actually click on it.
But how do you make a great title? Well, it’s easy once you know the basics!
What’s A Normal Click-Through Rate On eBay?
Before we perfected our titles, our click-through rate was around 1.4%. that means, for every 100 people that saw our listings in search results, only 1.4 would click through and actually read the listing.
A normal click-through rate in most businesses is between 1% and 4$ so we figured there was room for improvement.
You can see all of your CTR (click-through rate) data within your store analytics for each item so we focused on improving those with the worst rates.
Within a couple of weeks, we have increased our CTR to a healthy 2.3! Our sales didn’t increase by the same percentage but we saw a nice bump there as well.
So what did we do? Well, two things.
- We retook some old pictures and improved our picture-taking methods. (Check that out here)
- And we rewrote a bunch of headlines/titles.
Creating Great eBay Headlines (and optimizing existing ones)
The great thing about writing better titles is that it doesn’t take any additional work. You have to write a title either way and if you know the formula of what makes a listing successful, it will be easy to write an effective title quickly!
If you’ve sold on eBay long enough, you’ve probably lost your pants by listing an item on auction. We have had several auctions that ended at only a dollar or two.
These are very sad sales as a seller
A particular experience that comes to mind is when we sold a cashmere Banana Republic jacket for a winning bid of $.99 (not with free shipping thank goodness).
We had put it on auction with the hope of getting our listings higher in eBay’s search results but it wasn’t until after it sold that we realized we had misspelled both “Banana” and “Cashmere.” Turns out that nobody wanted a “Cashemre Bnanan.” While it is an extreme example, hopefully, it demonstrates the importance of a proper title!
As a buyer, “sniping” auctions like this can be a very fun a profitable pastime. Poorly written titles are one of the main reasons that people get sniped. For example, a Gore-Tex Jacket from The North Face can go for $80. If however, you describe it as a “winter coat” you will get very few views and your final price will be a disappointment. Or, if you try to sell it on a Buy It Now, it will simply collect dust in your inventory.
Horrible titles are not an uncommon occurrence either. To show you what we mean, we spent less than 5 minutes searching eBay and came up with the following examples:
Hopefully, your titles aren’t nearly as pitiful as the ones above, but we’re hopeful that we can still teach you a thing or two to improve your sales!
So what makes a good eBay Title? Well let’s compare a few and we’ll see:
Good Title Example: The North Face Hyvent Jacket – Green – Waterproof – Men’s Size Small
Bad Title Example: L@@K!! north face coat excellent conditoin small free ship RARE!
Even without reading it, I’m totally turned off by the unprofessional look of the bottom example. The good example, however, is following a specific formula that we have found useful. A great eBay title has 3 parts that fit together like this:
(Brand & Model) + (Description of the items most marketable qualities) + (Gender & Size)
Notice that the title is concise and simply describes the item. The title is not the place to do your selling. eBay buyers typically know what they want and the job of your title is to help them find your listing.
After they have found it, your photos and description should convince them that it’s your product that they should buy.
11 Tips For Writing The Best eBay Headlines
1. Use Highly Descriptive Keywords That People Search For
If you sell trendy items (or sell mostly on Poshmark) this is incredibly important. People search for specific words that describe the style they’re looking for so be sure to include as many highly descriptive words that are accurate.
Some good ideas include words like:
2. Make Your Titles As Long As Possible
As long as you have more (truthful) keywords to write, keep going! eBay has an 80-character limit for titles so make the most of it.
I’ve seen extremely short titles (like one or two words) and I’m always surprised that people would pass up their only opportunity to help people find their item.
3. Include The Brand/Model Number/Style/etc.
Many of the items that I’ve bought on eBay have been replacements for items that I’ve worn out. I typically find the replacement by typing in the model number and hoping that someone included it in their title.
The more information you include the more likely it is that you’ll connect with a buyer who is looking for exactly what you have to offer.
4. Don’t Mention The Condition
Most buyers on eBay are looking for used items. Because it is essentially a giant online thrift store we don’t bother putting anything about the condition in the title unless it’s unusual.
The only exceptions are if the item is new, in unusually good condition for its age (if it’s vintage or antique), or damaged.
5. Don’t Include Unusual Punctuation (Asterisks, Symbols, etc.)
People often include exclamation points, @ symbols, and other strange things with the idea that it will make people look at their listing. That might have been true 20 years ago.
Most people view unnecessary and unusual tactics as simply unprofessional so we keep our titles clean and simple.
6. Doublecheck Your Spelling
While eBay is typically pretty good about knowing what you mean, buyers want things to be spelled correctly. Even if you spell things wrong eBay will show them in searches but you run the risk of losing a buyer’s trust.
7. Don’t Include Words Buyers Wouldn’t Search For
Nobody searches for words like “Wow! or Great Deal!. So don’t include them in your title.
The words that you have are precious so be sure to include only the types of things that will drive more impressions and search result placements.
8. Don’t Try To Create A Full Sentence
Your title should be more of a list, not grammatically correct. Making it to a sentence looks strange and wastes valuable real estate that you could be using for keywords instead.
9. Don’t Overuse Acronyms Or Seller Lingo
Sellers are more aware of acronyms than buyers are and new buyers are often confused. For example, EUC might mean Excellent Used Condition to you but might just be mumbo jumbo to a potential buyer.
Also, buyers do not search for acronyms which goes against several other tips as well.
10. Don’t Use All Caps.
Seriously. You aren’t yelling at your buyers, and it makes you look more like a buffoon than a professional business.
11. Don’t Use Multiple Synonyms
For example, you do not need to include both the words “shoe” and “shoes.” eBay’s search function automatically includes both in search results if one of them is in your title. Having repeated words can also make your title less professional looking and less attractive to buyers.
We hope these tips are helpful to you and that you can now write great eBay titles! When it comes down to it, writing great titles is about describing your items in the most accurate and exciting way possible. No tricks or gimmicks are needed.