Cooping with eBay to Lower Advertising Costs

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I Checking out co-op advertising

I Placing your ads

I Getting your money from eBay

When you consider placing advertising for your business, budget is always an issue. This is the case whether you're in a brick-and-mortar store, on your own Web site, or selling on eBay. When I was in the advertising business, one of the biggest challenges we had was convincing a startup to spend money on advertising. It's simple arithmetic; you spend money on advertising, and it attracts more people to your store. When you've got a prospective customer's attention, it's up to you to close the sale.

The ace-in-the-hole for any retailer is co-op advertising, which puts advertising dollars contributed by a manufacturer (or other interested party) into the company's advertising campaign. The manufacturer benefits by getting its name out to potential buyers, and the retailer attracts more buyers (and ideally increases sales revenue) by more vigorously advertising the manufacturer's product.

Many manufacturers have co-op advertising programs available based on the dollar amount that the retailer purchases from them. Even if you buy your merchandise for eBay sales from a wholesaler instead of the manufacturer, you may still be able to share some of the co-op funds available to your wholesaler. Just ask — the worst you'll hear is "No," and maybe your wholesaler will say "Absolutely!"

Because sharing the advertising costs is such a good idea, I wrote this technique to tell you how to co-op with eBay. And once you have the coop advertising dollars, where do you spend them? Almost any traditional media will do, but in the case of eBay, print media is the target. You can get co-op advertising dollars if you advertise in your local newspapers, magazines, catalogs, specialty collectors' publications, or any publication with a circulation figure of 10,000 or more. As a coin collector, I've noticed several eBay co-op ads in my monthly coin magazine, and I've seen these ads in other publications, too. Sound like a good deal? In this technique, I give you some hints on finding the right places for advertising your business.

Getting In on the Gold 329

Getting In on the Gold

What could be better than advertising your business and having someone else help pay for it? To get your little mitts on some of eBay's co-op cash stash, you must qualify by being one of the following:

1 An eBay PowerSeller who operates an eBay store: This is almost a given. If you're a PowerSeller, you no doubt already have an eBay store.

1 An eBay PowerSeller who is a registered

Trading Assistant: Again, if you're a PowerSeller, I don't doubt that you've sold items for others in the past. If you're not a registered Trading Assistant, check Technique 43 for more info.

I think you've noticed the constant in this list. You have to be a PowerSeller to qualify for the co-op dollars. And if you think about it — this requirement makes sense. eBay would logically choose to put this kind of investment into those sellers with experience selling on the site and with a high GMS (Gross Merchandise Sales). For qualifications and direction on becoming a PowerSeller, see Technique 42.

How much will eBay pay?

eBay will pay up to 25 percent of your advertising bill as long as your ad has been approved before printing. You can get an extra discount through some publications, which smartly court eBay PowerSeller advertising. These publications are members of eBay's Preferred Publisher Program. Table 58-1 gives you a current list.

These discounts are in addition to your 25-percent eBay reimbursement. In some cases you can save 50 percent off the price of an ad. To check to see if more publications have joined eBay's Preferred Publisher program, visit www.ebaycoopadvertising. com/preferredpublisher.aspx.

When approaching any publication for advertising, don't forget to ask for a discount. Discounts are available to many people for many reasons, and perhaps you can tailor your ad (a certain size or theme) to get the deal. Maybe you'll get one, maybe you won't. Just be sure to ask.

eBay gives sellers a budget, and that budget is based on your PowerSeller level (which is based on your GMS). The budget renews ever calendar quarter, and you can only spend to the limit assigned to your level within one quarter. Amounts that are not used cannot be carried over to the next quarter. Table 58-2 shows you the reimbursement budgets.

Table 58-1: Preferred Publishers That Give Discounts to eBay PowerSellers

Publication Name

Discount Off Advertising Rates

AntiqueWeek AntiqueWest

Collector Editions Magazine Collector's News

Southeastern Antiquing & Collecting

10 percent

10 percent

25 percent off 34 page or smaller

25 percent off X page or larger

10 percent

Table 58-2: Co-op Advertising Quarterly Budgets

PowerSeller Level

Maximum Quarterly Reimbursement











How do you get your money?

Claims for reimbursement may be submitted to eBay at any time during the time your ad runs, but must be received no later than 60 days after the initial insertion date.

As long as your claim is qualified (you have to get it approved before you run the ad), you'll be paid via PayPal within 45 days of eBay's receipt of your claim.

By now I'll bet you're convinced that this is a good deal, and if you're qualified, why not sign up now? To get your piece of the pie, here's the condensed version of the procedure:

1 Go to and click the key to Register.

2. After you've registered, click the link for the Ad Creation Wizard to get your template set up.

3. Upload your ad for pre-approval. When it's approved you will receive a Pre-Approval Authorization Number.

5. Once the ad appears, go to www.ebaycoop and print out the reimbursement form.

6. Put the following documentation into one envelope:

► Your completed reimbursement form

► A full tearsheet from the publication running your ad (the entire page, not just a cut-out of your ad)

► A copy of the invoice from the publisher

► The publication's rate card stating confirmed circulation of 10,000 or more

7 Mail the whole shebang to the address at the bottom of the reimbursement form.

Advertising Basics: Choosing Where to Run Your Ad

Here's another reason why I say, "Know what you sell." If you're selling collectible coins, you know which trade (or special interest) publications you like to read. Why don't you give those a shot first?

If you're not really sure, or perhaps you'd like to see what other publications are available, go over to Google and search the words magazine, publication, and news along with the keyword that describes the items you sell.

When you go to your chosen publication's Web site, check it out: Find the link that goes to the advertising department and read the information.

Planning an ad campaign should be done several months in advance of when you'd like the ads to appear. Many publications have a long lead-time between booking and final publishing.

Following are a few more tips about advertising your business that you can take to heart:

1 Preview the publication: If you've never seen the publication before, e-mail (or call the 800 number) and ask for a sample along with the rate card. They'll be more than willing to send you a back issue!

After you get a copy of the magazine, newspaper, or whatever, take a hard look at it and answer these questions: Would people that read this publication be likely to shop at your eBay store?

Do you like the magazine? Does it fit your perception of your customers' lifestyles? Do the advertisers seem legitimate?

1 Check out the ad rates: With publications, cheap doesn't always mean best. Figure out what your cost per thousand readers will be and keep that in mind. When the ad runs, use your eBay statistics (more about getting stats from eBay in Technique 14) to see how much of an increase you get in visitors.

1 Consider running your ad more than once: A

one-time ad rarely pulls enough to pay for itself. A consistent advertising campaign of repeated ads (even every other issue) will get the attention of the publication's readership and build confidence in you and increase visits to your store. A consistent campaign works much better than scattered ads here and there with no direction.

1 Start out small with a single publication: That will make it easier for you to track the success of your campaign.

eBay maintains a list of qualified newspapers and magazines. It's a rather long and ever-changing list, so go to QualifiedPublisher.aspx for the most up-to-date list.

Creating Your Ad

Because these ads have to be approved by eBay, it might behoove you to follow the distinctive guidelines. There are rules as to which logos you can use, as well as in what size and color they can appear.

If you choose to use eBay's online Ad Creation Wizard, it has templates in different sizes — as well as themed templates for eBay Stores or Trading Assistants.

Figure 58-1 shows an ad I've started designing with the Ad Creation Wizard. You can select from different typefaces, sizes, and colors for each area of your ad.

Figure 58-1 shows an ad I've started designing with the Ad Creation Wizard. You can select from different typefaces, sizes, and colors for each area of your ad.

• Figure 58-1: Designing an ad in the Wizard.

The only problem I have with the wizard is that it's not very flexible. For example, it doesn't allow you to vary your type size within an area, and you can't make bulleted lists or italics. Still, the wizard works quickly, and within a few minutes, I put together the ad in Figure 58-2.

But since business is business, if you have the talent, you should take some time and download the templates and logos from the Download Assets area and create an ad that suits your style.

When designing your own ad, remember: The eBay portion must occupy at least !4 of the overall ad size to be eligible for reimbursement.

When designing your own ad, remember: The eBay portion must occupy at least !4 of the overall ad size to be eligible for reimbursement.

To be sure that your ad will qualify for reimbursement under the co-op advertising plan, be sure to upload an electronic copy of it through the My Ads area. After you upload it, you simply click the Submit button to submit the ad for approval. Along with your ad approval, you receive your Pre-Approval Authorization Number. The length of time for which this number is active depends on the ad itself:

1 If you design your ad with eBay's Ad Creation Wizard, you can continue to use the same Pre-Approval Authorization Number until eBay redesigns the templates. When a template redesign happens, eBay lets you know by e-mail.

1 If you design the ad yourself, the number expires within 90 days. After that, you need to resubmit the ad and get a new Pre-Approval Authorization Number.

All your approved ads will be held (with details of approval) in an area called My Pre-Approvals on the site.

• Figure 58-2: My quick-and-easy (but not too attractive) Ad Creation Wizard ad.

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