In a bit of very nice timing, Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends, always worth reading, brings us five reasons for small business owners to blog. Some of her points seem very relevent for eBay sellers, and here are my own five reasons why eBay sellers should have a blog.
1. A blog is a great way to build your brand. You can become more than just someone who lists auctions for sale: you can become an expert in your own field. Collectibles sellers, for example, might write more about their field of expertise: but so might motorbike sellers, computer sellers, jewellers or craft people – just about everyone, in fact! This gives your customers a reason to stay with you – and your blog posts can, and usually should, lead back to your sales.
2. A blog takes your business beyond just selling. It establishes a conversation – or at least, the potential for conversation – with your customers. Turn those comments ON, people. Think beyond just what you sell: what else are your customers interested in? Are they techy types who want to see your expert take on the latest gadget? Or are they the kind of people who want a personal conversation, and would like to read details of your real life? (I know that my buyers really are interested in the saga of my move to France, for example.)
3. A blog puts communication under your customers’ control. This might be counterintuitive, but bear with me. Email marketing, for those of us who use it, poses some questions it’s hard to answer. Mainly – how often? Weekly? Monthly? I don’t know about you, but I obsessively check my subscription numbers when I’ve just sent an email through eBay: yesterday, someone unsubscribed. I could have cried 😉 With a blog, your customers come to you: and if your content is right, they will. I can’t think of another form of advertising that also counts as a leisure activity. This is permission marketing at its best.
4. You’re never alone with a blog. If you work on your own full-time, talking back to the computer screen can be habit-forming. Blogs are a great way to connect and to communicate online. I’d really like to see eBay implement blogrolls for this reason: it’s a natural extension of cross-promoting with other sellers.
5. Satisfaction of some inner need to share. I’m nicking this reason directly from Anita’s article because I think it’s especially relevent to eBayers. The eBay community is, by and large, a lively, interesting and helpful one: the success of the community boards is just one indicator of that. Blogs are a way to take that involvement one step further: to give people who have something to say a more personal, flexible and creative platform from which to say it.
Of course, none of this is any guarantee of the success of eBay blogs. So many that I’ve read so far have been a single entry, and that a complaint: kind of like feedback infinitely extended. I think only time will tell if this new feature is something that sellers really will use to their advantage, or if it’s just a misguided attempt by eBay to get all Web 2.0 on us.
What do you think? How’s your eBay blog going? Leave us a link so we can have a read, especially if you’ve been posting for a while.