What Makes an Effective Sale or Auction Advert

saleThanks to online marketplace and auction sites, just about anyone can offer their goods and/or services up with little overhead and reaching a wide, even global audience. There are businesses that operate exclusively in these sites; browse around eBay and you'll see what I mean.

After a few minutes looking over the auctions and items for sale, you will also notice that a good number of them are not particularly pleasing to look at or informative (like the one above). Humor aside, if you do plan to have your items fetch a good price and sell immediately, you will have to make the effort in presenting your product/service in a most compelling way.

Here are a few of the best practices for auctioneers and online vendors that you, the seller, should implement:

Targeting Specialized Sites

While it's generally a good idea to put something up on general auction and sales sites like eBay, it also pays to do a little more research and find specific sales and auction sites that cater to certain products and services. For example, if I want to sell decorative handicrafts, a site like would be a good place to start. If you're helping your uncle buy a new truck and get rid of his old one, then sites like NextTruck would be a better place to look at.

Good Photographs

In almost all cases, you will need to draw their attention to your posting with clear and accurate photographs of the goods you are hawking. As with anything, do not go overboard and post pictures that are excessively large in dimensions (and consequently file size); not everyone has reliable, high-speed bandwidth, or ultra-high resolution screens.

Even pictures that are just 500 pixels wide, for as long as they are well-composed and aren't distorted or deprived of adequate lighting, will do. More is better, but as with above, do not post too many of them. Each shot should present a different angle, function, or sample of the aforementioned product.

Also, if the site allows it, produce and post a short video.

Readable Text Descriptions

Sellers tend to go describe too little or too much, I have noticed. For most simple products, two to three paragraphs will suffice. One-liners will not be enough to describe what it does and what condition it is in, but on the flipside, most people do not have the time or patience to read through a one-page essay.

The first paragraph should contain the product description, and possibly a URL link to an official product page, when applicable. Following that, if the product is pre-owned, its condition must also be described.

Complete Payment & Shipping Details

Even if the potential customer is interested in the product based on how it was presented, you can still lose the sale if your post doesn't include the necessary details for payment and shipping. Even if the site itself has overarching rules and policies regarding these topics, it's always a good idea to restate them on your sales page.

Window Dressing

Unupdated sites are a bit of a turnoff for most. Always refresh your sales page with something that will give it the appearance of being current and fresh. It's like window dressing (NOT the mutual fund variety); keep people interested in the products you are selling or auctioning off.

Take advantage of the particular holiday/s that are happening at the present time to think of a theme for your newly refreshed page.

Be Responsive to Comments & Questions

This is the last, but certainly one of the most important tips you could internalize. It's almost certain that the customers will have some queries about the product. Answering back in a prompt, polite, and informative manner will encourage them more in doing business with you.

Armed with these nuggets of wisdom, I wish you well in your selling and auctioning endeavors!

If you have any questions, please ask below!