In addition to the all of the internal ways in which you can generate traffic, you can also generate traffic for your eBay auctions through purely external sources.
What are some of these sources?
Using Pay Per Click Advertising
You can send visitors directly from Google Adwords to your eBay auctions. Additionally, if you sign up for the eBay affiliate program, you will earn whenever someone new signs up for eBay, even if they purchase items from someone else, rather than you.
In addition to Adwords, you can use other Pay Per Click advertising sources, such as Yahoo's Publisher Network (YPN), Microsoft's Advertising Network (which is in Beta still), and Overture's PPC advertising program. YPN is basically the equivalent to Google’s Adwords.
TESTING YOUR ADVERTISEMENTS
The key to using PPC advertising effectively is to test your advertisements in two ways: test your click thru rate and test your conversion rate.
One way in which you could do this effectively is to put items up for sale in your store, but not up for auction.
You can then send traffic directly to these items, which wont be receiving other sources of traffic – and then monitor how well that traffic converts.
If your click-thru rate (CTR) is too low, you'll need to create an advertisement that integrates more calls to action, a better headline, psychological triggers, and a clear listing of realistic benefits, features, and/or pricing.
Always try to list the price so to discourage tire kickers who click on your advertisement without any intention of buying.
If your conversion rate is too low, you will want to revise your advertisement to make it more realistic or to decrease the amount of tire-kickers.
For instance, remove additional sales hype from your advertisement, such as mentioning contests and free bonuses. This should increase your conversion rate.
If it doesn't increase after several tests, you will want to consider changing either the template you use for your auctions or the description you used for that specific item, as it may not be optimal for converting visitors into buyers.
Setting Up Joint Ventures
Joint ventures are quite possibly the most effective and fastest means through which you can generate traffic.
Most eBayers, however, do not have the slightest idea how to setup a joint venture to drive traffic and sales.
So how do you create a joint venture and actually get other business owners to work with you?
It's actually quite simple: start by finding something about your business – whether it be some resource you exploit on a daily basis or some repetitious action you must perform – that can actually benefit other people.
It is important to note that these joint ventures do not have to be with other eBay sellers.
In fact, you're almost always better off if they aren't with someone else who owns an eBay store.
This is because if your partner is also in the eBay business, there may be a time when both of you would be fighting for the same business.
And think about it, it is hard trusting someone who is also selling to the same customers as you.
WHO TO JOINT VENTURE WITH?
One of the most natural, obvious joint ventures that eBayers enter into are partnerships with people who have brick-and-mortar stores, but do not have a web presence or an eBay shop.
Take, for instance, mom & pop shops in your local downtown area.
Many of them wont have websites, but might stock things that eBayers want.
And if you want to earn more, work with machine and hardware manufacturers in Singapore or Malaysia.
Many top machine sales agent make millions a year quietly by working out joint ventures with machine manufacturers in the Asian region.
Like said, you will receive far less competition selling customized hardware, or machine or machine parts made in Asia to your Western customers.
First of all, the cost of the product gotten from the Asian region will already guarantee you profit when you sell the same product to the west.
After all, all the big Multi National companies setting up their production houses in these countries and thus we can trust that these countries are capable of building machines or parts fit for the MNCs.
One great source for machine and parts manufacturer is at mylotechnologies.com .
And if you are looking to sell fabricated steel parts, go here: cleanroomproducts.com
Think of them as your dropshipping partners.
If you live in an area where they are several antique shops, you can write letters to each of the owners, offering to catalog their inventories and advertise it all at your store.
You could explain to them how eBay works and how effective you have been at selling.
If you want to be even bolder, you can create a brochure or business card that includes the URL of the goods listed, and then ask your joint venture partners if it is ok that you use them for your customers.
Working with an offline partner will guarantee a more sustaining relationship. This also has the potential to increase your traffic.
Another type of joint venture you can enter into is a cross-promotional joint venture.
This is generally done for one of two reasons:
1) to earn some type of commission; or
2) to share traffic with a related, but non-competing store.
If you're doing it for a commission, you could contact a related, but non-competing business and ask if they are willing to give your customers a discount.
Once you close the sale, you can then email them with an excellent complement item in your partner's store that he/she can get at a discount, but only if he/she buys it now and uses your name as a reference.
The second option – sharing traffic with a related, but non-competing store – is an excellent way to drum up sales, too.
If, for instance, you have a golf club store, you can find a golf ball and golf accessory store and ask them if they are willing to cross-promote businesses.
You wouldn't necessarily have to give discounts in this case, but you could induce more sales if you do.
The last type of joint venture you can use on eBay is the introductory offer.
When you open up your store, you can immediately position yourself as an authority store by creating a massive introductory offer and finding JV partners who are willing to go in on it with you.
Regardless of what type of joint venture approach you take, there are a number of “best practice” rules you should go back to make sure that your joint ventures go off without a hitch.
RULES OF PARTNERSHIP
The first rule is to clearly delineate the responsibilities of each of the joint venture partners involved.
If someone is simply sending you traffic in exchange for a commission, this is important on your part – to clearly state that you will be giving the commission, but not so much on your partner's part.
If, on the other hand, the partner is receiving some type of cross-promotion from you, it is important to make sure that both of you understand what is required of each other.
The second rule is to approach your potential joint venture partners carefully.
If they have a large following, they more than likely are too busy to accept every offer that comes their way.
This is why it is important to create clear, easy-to-participate-in offers that are actually rewarding for your partners.
It is also important to send a pre-offer, primer email – something that simply establishes that you are a human being, that you know who that person is, and that you would like to work with him/her personally.
The last rule is to always offer more than you ask for when you start a new partnership.
If you offer a lot and deliver even more, partners will be inclined to work with you again in the future – and to also tell others to work with you.
Using Viral Promotion
Viral promotion is essentially some method of marketing that gives other people an incentive to promote your store to other people, who too (hopefully), will also promote your site to other people.
You can do this in a number of different ways. One way is to offer commissions to referrers if a customer referred by them mentions your name when he/she makes payment on an item in the store.
This is similar to an affiliate program, even though there currently aren't any real ways to run an automated affiliate program through eBay.
Another way is to create a piece of software that is related to your given theme/niche and allow people to give it away for free or to sell it.
If you have a gardening store, you could hire a programmer to create software that helps people create garden layouts. Whenever users click on or mouse-over a garden hose or a shovel (or any other gardening product you sell), it could list a bunch of sources for those products – with your store at the top, of course.
You could then find people who have gardening e-books and web-based stores and offer to give them this software for free.
Embedded within the freebies would be links to your eBay store, as this would be a great way of introducing your products to your readers. You have to get their trust before you can start selling them anything.
Your promotional partners now have a reason to give away or sell your product – either because it will enhance the value of their product as a bonus or because it will bring in additional revenue for their business.
Another type of viral promotion you could employ is giving away free special reports or ebooks to site owners in related niches.
These reports or ebooks could be lists of sources for certain items. For instance, if you own a skateboarding shop, you could create a list of all sources for skateboards, wheels, and anything else related to skateboards.
Of course, at the top of the report, you will want to include your eBay store.
You can then circulate this report to all product sellers, forum owners, list owners, and business owners in your selected niche.
You can also tell them that the report may be given away to anyone freely, which will increase the amount of people who end up receiving it.
You can also tell them that the free report can also be sold, and that all proceedings can be kept by them! This is a true incentive to anyone.
The last type of viral product you can create is a viral video.
In said video, you could show some technique for finding products in a certain niche on eBay or over the Internet or something similar to that.
At the end of the flash movie, you can use the “jump to” feature to immediately send the person who watched the video to your eBay store.
If you've never created a viral video – or, more accurately, a viral screen capture – you can download a free trial of Camtasia at Camtasia.com and test it out.
While the product is quite expensive, it may be worth it if you have some success in promoting your business with it.
A good way in which to get your videos out there is to
a) actually spend the time to create something that might help someone;
b) target your videos to the correct audience; and
c) add your videos to YouTube, Google Video, and all other free media outlets – in addition to allowing webmasters to embed them as flash videos on their sites.
Regardless of which type of viral promotion you choose, remember that your products will need to be high-quality if you're going to have any hope of other people promoting them.
Additionally, you will want to create some type of incentive structure to ensure that people have powerful reasons to give them away or sell your viral products.
Writing and Marketing with Articles
Almost no one uses articles to promote eBay stores, even though they are widely used in Internet marketing to promote eBay information products.
Here's a quick way to use articles to promote your eBay store: create a “top ten list” of sources for your specific product.
For each source, include one paragraph of information. Of course, as you did with viral promotional tools, you will also put your source at the top of this list.
You can then submit these articles to dozens of different Internet-based article directories, as well as e-zines, which also accept these articles and use them in bulk mailings.
Additionally, you can send these articles to eBay information business site owners.
They will be more than happy to accept a source list, which they can distribute freely to their customers.
You can subscribe to a list of E-zines, or you could just go to Isnare.com and pay for their distribution services.
Using Blog & Forum Posting
Getting as much exposure over the Internet as possible is crucial.
This is why you should dig deep enough to start a blog & forum posting campaign.
You can start by becoming a legitimate member of a number of a number of forums related to your specific niche.
You should also start reading blogs related to your topic.
Chances are, if you are interested in the topic you selected, you are probably doing this already.
Once you have spent enough time to gain respect and to offer a lot of useful information for other people, you will then want to begin posting with a signature that includes a link to your eBay store.
Additionally, you will want to make sure that you draw sufficient attention to your signature with a catchy line of copy.
Make sure your blog contains useful information as many search engines are now clamping down on blogs with useless information.
Everytime you post something interesting or make a useful comment, people will consider clicking on your signature link, potentially gaining you extra sales.
So go ahead, and create your free blog at Bloggers.com.
Getting On Radio Talk Shows
Yes, that is right: there are radio talk shows decided solely to eBay and to Internet-based market places.
The largest eBay radio show is hosted by Jim Griffith – and is on the air every single Tuesday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM PST.
Create some type of news-worthy event with your business; and then contact Jim about going on the show to announce whatever it is that you are planning for the near future.
If you can get on the show, there's a good chance you'll be able to drive a considerable amount of interested visitors to your eBaystore.
In addition to strictly Internet-focused talk shows, you should consider using radio in other ways to promote your store.
For instance, you could contact local radio stations and ask them for advertising rates and prices, as well as demographic information by hour.
Depending on what results you get, you could create a 30-second commercial or you could create an entire infomercial for late night or early morning radio.
Remember, the manner in which you sell is completely up to you.
You could sell “as seen on TV” products; and create an infomercial which details all of the different little gadgets you have in your store, what they can do, and why people should by them from you.
Again, if you are going to go this way, make sure you are selling something worth talking about.
Like said, do try selling machines and hardware from the Asian region. That way, you are both an entrepreneur as well as a eBayer.
Using Television Commercials
Television? No way... right? Well, why not?
Most eBayers wouldn't think to advertise their stores on television, but most eBayers also aren't making a whole of money off of their stores.
Remember, most Power Sellers on eBay try their very best to get their store featured on television!
Television IS a legitimate medium for advertisement and can be used in conjunction with eBay if you are dedicated enough to create an effective commercial and to target the right audience.
You will want to find the right demographic audience for your specific inventory.
For instance, if you're selling 70 foot cranes for construction jobs, you might not want to advertise your store during the Saturday morning cartoons.
But again – target the right audience, provide the right message, offer solutions to the right problems, and you'll have willing buyers, even if your products are no different from those of your competitors.
Remember, television viewings reaches millions of people.
Creating Press Releases
Announce that you are opening an eBay business, but use some hook to make it interesting.
For instance, “business opening -- $10,000 in prizes will be given out the first day” is going to pull far more interest than “business opening.”
Of course, you will want to make good on whatever offer you include in your announcement.
Additionally, you will want to include all of the pertinent details about your business, including who runs it, what you offer, how fast you ship, how low your prices are, and how responsive your customer service is.
All of this is important when writing a press release, but above all, there are three things you need to keep in mind:
1) Start with a powerful hook in your title;
2) Put pertinent information in the first paragraph;
3) Close fast and with a link to your site.
The other challenge with a press release is getting the release distributed to hundreds of different media outlets.
There are now a number of different press release services on the Internet, which you can solicit for help in getting your release distributed to all of those outlets. The most prominent is http://www.prweb.com.
Additionally, you will want to send out your release to radio stations, newspapers, and even local television stations.
Remember, if you want to be successful with a release, you have to have some sort of powerful hook that describes your big “opening event.”
Think about it. If it would interest you, it will interest other people, which means it can qualify as something “news-worthy.”
Getting Into Magazines
Using magazines is another method through which you can generate traffic for your eBay business.
This will work especially well if you have created a unique or interesting business, rather than one that is relatively mundane.
Again, you have be selling something relatively expensive to be able to afford advertising via magazines.
For instance, if your business sells antique clocks or hard-to-find watches, you may qualify as something interesting and worthy of magazine coverage.
In fact, a number of eBay sellers have created a business based around an interesting inventory for the simple purpose of generating interest.
And if you decide to sell machines, again, that is news worthy. Talk about your business model and how it can help you generate sales.
One easy way in which you can take advantage of this is to contact a number of different types of print media that are specifically related to your business.
For instance, you may want to look at trade magazines, business magazines, and Internet publications.
You will then want to find the owners of those magazines and ask them if they are interested in covering your business.
Explain to them why you are an interesting case and what you have in your inventory.
Additionally, if you might qualify as an expert on your inventory, you may even ask them if they are interested in accepting regular submissions from you.
Even if you are unable to directly promote your business through this arrangement, you will be able to position yourself as an expert – and you will also be able to get your name in a high-circulation magazine with little eBay-based or Internet-based competition.
Another perk is that you may be able to purchase reduced-price advertising if you become a regularly columnist.
You can use this to drive targeted traffic to your auctions or your store.
Getting Traffic on eBay - Summary
And that concludes the list of ways in which you can take a simple, straight- forward business model and make it successful on eBay.
To reiterate, you must start with research. Find out what is actually selling on eBay and who is buying it.
Find out what they want most – and what your competitors are doing (and not doing).
Find out ways in which you can gain a competitive advantage over anyone else selling your product on eBay.
After you have conducted your research, it is time to design your eBay business.
Depending on your model, you may want to sign up for an “eBay store,” which will cost you a little extra, but will allow you to list products for really cheap prices.
You will also want to use a clean, simple layout – and you will want to design your store in a way that actually closes sales. Remember to use pictures and to consider using audio.
Once your auction template or store design is ready, it is time to stock your inventory.
Remember, you can do this in a number of ways – but the key to success is to find a reliable, cheap, non-middle man source that offers a uniform product on a consistent basis.
If you can find excellent deals that also fit your inventory, by all means purchase them and add them.
You will now want to list all of your inventory items according to the suggestions I made earlier.
Once you have listed and cross-promoted your inventory correctly, you will want to begin promoting your site through all available venues.
You will want to start with Internet-based media, including eBay ads, PPC ads, text links, articles, and even viral methods, including videos and audio. You will then want to move onto print media, television, and even radio.
All of these are possible venues for promotion – and all should be given some consideration if you are planning to cultivate some interest in your business.
Your last step should be to test your results.
What items are doing better than others?
Which are being viewed more than others?
Which are bringing in higher levels of profit?
Which should you probably drop from your inventory altogether?
If you want good results, you must test.
And this brings us to our next section: creating a complex eBay business model.