Ftying Your Banner on eBay

Save Time By

I Bidding for click-throughs

I Designing a banner to rival the big guys

I Setting up your banner with eBay

Sitting on your hands doing nothing is no way to increase business, but checking out every available opportunity is. While browsing on eBay, I noticed banner ads at the top of the Search pages. What surprised me most was that the banners did not always advertise some huge, mega-corporation like Home and Garden TV, Toyota, or Stanley Tools — but instead, they highlighted little guys with eBay stores like mine!

Just as I assumed that these banner ads were reserved for the high and mighty, I also assumed that they must be very expensive. But they're quite reasonable and easily within the eBay seller's budget! Remember this is "advertising." It's something the big guy will never go without. So eBay opened the floodgates for eBay sellers to promote their items to eBay buyers right on the site.

These banners, just as with Google AdWords, are based on keyword searches, and link to your eBay store (or to particular items in your store). The name of the game here is click-throughs. How many people can you get to click your banner and buy your goods? Read this technique and find out how easy it is to become a "big guy" with your banner flying on eBay.

Getting the Click-Throughs

Probably close to a hundred million people use eBay's search engine every day — and hope the search terms they use help them find the goods they want. When you have listings in the same genre that the search terms describe, your items get matched with the search. But even better, you can direct searchers to your listings by paying eBay to display your advertising banner at the top of the matching search page.

This magic is performed with keywords — the same keywords that I discuss in Technique 14. This type of advertising works out financially only if you're selling several items that fall under the same group of keywords. For example, suppose you have several related items with keywords such as For Dummies. Your ad is served to the eBay page in response to search

Making Your Banner terms such as eBay Timesaving Techniques For Dummies that match your keywords or keyword phrases.

eBay's adMarketplace (which controls the banner ads) is a cost-per-click network, just as is Google AdWords (see Technique 55). But placing a banner ad for eBay keyword advertising isn't as expensive as you might think:

i You pay nothing for the banner to appear.

Remember, you pay only if your ad gets clicked.

i You control how much you pay for a banner chick-through by placing a bid on the amount you want to pay.

Here's the trick to keyword advertising. Those who bid the highest tend to have their ads prioritized first. So the higher your bid for the ad, the higher you're ranked in the ad rotation for the specified keywords. This means that your banner ad will potentially appear on the search results page more often than will the ad for your competitor who bid less.

Bidding for placement starts at $.10, and increases by increments of 1 cent. In the section, "Setting Up Your Banner Campaign," I show you how the bidding works.

Making Your Banner

So that you don't put the cart before the horse, it's best to decide what you would like your banner to say to potential buyers.

^If you're spending time and money on a banner ad, make sure you target a specific item. A general banner relaying only the message "Shop from Me" isn't going to get you a lot of clicks. A specific banner telling readers that you offer "The Wildest Widgets on the Web" has a better chance of getting a little mouse action. The whole idea of the campaign is to get people to click your banner and thereby find your sales.

On a sheet of paper, write down all the words you can think of that relate to your item. Also, do you have an image you'd like in the banner? Pull together all the resources you have so you can decide on your banner's look as well. With everything assembled, you can start reviewing the options for creating your banner.

Making your own eBay's keyword advertising program has a simple online tool for creating banners, and I'm sure you've seen the resulting banners on eBay. They all look much the same and thereby lack a polished, professional image. If you're trying to develop your own "brand" and be in business for real, you need to create a custom banner.

If you're one of those creative sorts and have some extra time, you can easily create your own custom banner. (For some people, designing a banner would be a relaxing time!) There are plenty of graphics programs that will do the trick.

^If you're looking for a graphics program to try your hand at banner making, consider Corel R.A.V.E. This program is very reasonably priced, and you can get a super deal on eBay.

Finding someone to make it

When you don't have the time or inclination to sit down and design your own banner, getting a custom banner designed for you needn't be an expensive proposition.

Plenty of sharp graphic designers sell custom designed banners on eBay. These designers work from the information you assembled and produce a banner within a few days, so it's not long before you can start your campaign.

All you have to do is search the eBay site (see the upcoming search term list) and take a look at the designers' listings. See which artist creates the type of banners you like. Be sure you're happy with his or her terms of sale (but I don't think I really have to tell you that!) and verify that the artist's time schedule will meet yours. Of course, read the feedback. On a graphic artist's work, the feedback will be especially telling. Here are some search terms to use.

1 animated banner 1 eBay banner 1 banner design

Designing to eBay style

Banner graphics are designed in many different sizes (yes, I know they all look the same, but they're not). Whether you're designing your own or contracting with a designer, be sure to match these specifications:

1 Banner Size: 468 x 60 pixels. 1 Format: GIF.

1 Animation: No aggressive animation. It should not be excessively fast, long, or strobe-like. (These traits make for an annoying, unproductive banner anyway!)

1 Maximum file size: 12 KB.

1 Border: Must be non-white.

1 Banner text: Must be relevant to what you're selling. No keyword spamming! Banner text also may not contain phone numbers, URLs or e-mail information.

Setting Up Your Banner Campaign

When you go to set up your campaign, be prepared with some keywords. The keywords you use for your advertising need not be as precise as the keywords you use to search on eBay. Actually, your preliminary keyword list can be more hit and miss. After your program starts, you'll be able to see which searches net you the most hits. Write down all possible keywords that might possibly relate to your item; you're allowed a long list. Later in the section ("Targeting with keywords and phrases"), I show you how to narrow it down.

Keep to these guidelines when making up your list:

1 Use "key phrases" versus keywords. Key phrases can be made up of two or three words, like "Craftsman hammer" or "eBay For Dummies." By using multiple word key phrases, your banner ad can achieve a closer match to the prospective buyer's search.

1 Be sure the keywords relate to your item.

1 Avoid overused and over-general keywords.

eBay will reject your keywords if you choose to use the ever-popular title words; Wow, Cool, Super, Nice, or New.

1 Don't use apostrophes, special characters or repeated periods.

Signing up

To get moving with your campaign, click the Service link on the eBay navigation bar and scroll down the page to the Advanced Seller Recommendations area. Click the Keywords on eBay link. Alternatively, you can go directly to www.eBayKeywords.com.

_ ^ Scout around the page you land on and look XSV for any First-Time User or Introductory discount. I always hate it when I sign up for something and later find out I could have gotten a discount! They just may have a discount that will cover the cost of your first ad flight!

After you've secured any discount or promo code, click the New Users button and enter the site. You'll need to go through several steps to begin your campaign ad, as shown in Figure 57-1.

1 All Items List: This links to a list of all your items, as they appear when a Seller Search is performed.

1 Items List: This will set up a link to a particular item that you sell.

1 Selected Link: You may also insert a link of your choice, as long as it links to your eBay items.

• Figure 57-1: The beginnings of your Campaign Creation.

1 Type your eBay User ID as prompted.

This is how the eBay Keywords people can match you up with your listings or your eBay store.

2. Type the promotional code you found on the front page in the Promo Code box.

If you found a promo code, a dollar amount automatically appears in the Total Funds text box. If you didn't find one, go to the next step and invest as little cash as you want.

3. Type the amount you want to invest in your banner campaign in the Campaign Funds box.

4. Click Create Ad to get going!

You can pause your campaign anytime you want and pick it up again when you want. You can also change your banner at any time during the campaign.

Playing the links

In the Create New Campaign screen, you choose where your banner ad takes potential buyers when they click it. Figure 57-2 shows your choices. Click the appropriate link if you want your banner to link to:

1 My Store: This will link to your eBay Store.

1 Store Category: A category you've set up in your store.

1 Search Within Your Store: This sets up a link that will search for preset search terms in your store.

• Figure 57-2: Selecting your link.

Targeting with keywords and phrases

Next, you type your keyword (or key phrase) list. Figure 57-3 shows you a keyword list for a banner campaign for my books. You may also upload a CSV text file, but why bother? Just cut and paste from your list, separating each word or phrase by a comma.

• Figure 57-3: Inputting my keywords.

When you're finished typing, click Submit. Your keywords are uploaded and reviewed for "editorial correctness." Click OK when you see the confirmation screen and continue to a fully populated keyword page.

Bidding for exposure

Next, you decide the maximum cost per click (CPC) that you want to pay. After you click Proceed to Search Word Analysis — exciting, isn't it? Wow, real analysis! — you can enter your maximum bid and review the potential effectiveness.

For each keyword, you also see teeny tiny versions of your competition's banners for that particular keyword, and you see how much they bid. You may adjust your bids individually for each keyword.

XTN The higher bid amount gets viewing priority, ( iHO ) so if a keyword is especially important to you, you might want to up your bid. Just remember to click Calculate Ranking to evaluate your changes at each step.

^You don't always have to be in the number one (highest bidder) slot. I'm ranked number 3 for one of my keywords. It's a very popular one, and my little banner still gets close to 15,000 views per month. Remember that a zillion people are browsing eBay. You're charged only when they click your banner. Holding the number one for all your keywords, that will burn up your budget in a hurry!

Bidding is handled as with eBay auctions, on a proxy basis. Even if you select $.20 as your high bid, eBay keywords will increase your bid by only enough to put you $.01 ahead of the competition.

XTN You will not always be paying the maximum ( iHO ) you bid per click — just enough to outbid the competition. eBay Keywords will let you know about your ranking as you indicate your bid.

Each time a user clicks your banner, the bid amount is deducted from your campaign fund. When the campaign money runs out, you'll receive an e-mail notifying you that you need to add funds. You may also choose an auto-renew option, but that can easily get away from you. If you're like me, you like to know how much you're spending and want to control when things are charged to your account.

If a particular budget gets used up too quickly, consider waiting a week or so before infusing more money. That is, of course, unless your sales are going through the roof, and then the expenditure is well worth the cost.

I can honestly say that several keyword campaigns that I've used (and am using) have successfully worked to increase my sales.

Uploading your banner

Uploading your banner is the easiest part of this long process. When you arrive at the screen that specifies the banner size, follow these steps:

1 Click the Browse button to find the GIF file that is your banner on your computer's hard drive.

2. Click the file, and your banner appears in the box on the screen.

3. Click the Proceed to banner upload link.

Your banner is uploaded to the Keywords server.

Now all you have to do is view your campaign summary. When you're done, your keywords will be marked with a red Pending approval. Don't have a cow; this usually takes less than a day to be cleared. If the keywords are not approved for any reason, you'll receive an e-mail explaining why.

Paying for your campaign

Paying for your banner ad campaign is also easy. If you've entered a promotion code, you have nothing to pay. But when you have to ante up, eBay accepts all credit cards as well as PayPal.

I recommend you use the credit card you have set aside for your eBay business. The charge will clearly show up on your credit card bill as eBay Keywords advertising. If you allow eBay to debit your PayPal account instead, there's a chance it can cause problems with keeping track of your accounting. (See Techniques 47 and 48 for more about keeping your accounting records intact.)

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