Recently a representative from Aweber.com (my favorite bulk email management service) contacted me and asked me what the deal was with eBay’s email policy.
Specifically they wanted to know what users could and couldn’t do as eBay sellers to grow a mailing list of customers and prospects.
If you’ve been reading my newsletter very long, and especially if you’ve read my SilentSalesMachine.com book then you know that there is tremendous potential for growing your customer mailing list and eBay is a great way to go about doing it.
There are rules.
I thought you might enjoy the response I sent back to Aweber when they asked me to give them my thoughts and insight:
Here are my thoughts on eBay’s email list growth potential:
Welcome to the gray murky waters of eBay email marketing policy…enjoy the swim…it’s much of what I do for a living so you’ve come to the right guy.
There are a lot of ways to draw email leads from eBay and while some of them do rely on taking a liberal interpretation of the policies, others do not require anything ‘black hat’ or even ‘gray hat’.
First example – eBay “classified ads”
Opt-in boxes are not allowed in auction listings and eBay enforces this policy about 60% of the time. This is what I consider a “clear and enforced” policy.
BUT, you will find MANY opt-in boxes in the eBay classified ads. The ads appear right along side the other auction style listings when customers search eBay making them quite powerful as a marketing tool, but the ads just aren’t all that well known yet so they are seldom used. The policies re: classified ads on eBay are very unclear (i.e. virtually non-existent).
I’ve actually argued face to face with the director of trust and safety at eBay who SAW IT MY WAY in the end and agreed that no policy violation is occurring and that additional policies are needed regarding sellers putting opt-in boxes into classified ads.Â The entire purpose of the ads after all is to “generate multiple leads” in eBay’s own words. The bad news is that approximately half of the eBay policy enforcement department disagrees with the other half on what the policy actually is on this point. It’s a fact though that you’ll see several classified ads using this tactic at any given time on eBay and it is quite rare that eBay will pull one of these ads down. That’s ‘gray hat’ eBay. It’s textbook ‘unclear policy’ with ‘infrequent enforcement’.
Do a Google search on the term “ebay classified ads” to see my top ranked YouTube video on the subject. It’s generated a lot of good customer discussion for me.
Next there’s the eBay ‘about me’ page:
I’ve personally had an opt-in box on my eBay ‘about me’ page for 4 years.
My account is VERY high profile and eBay has never said a word to me about it…even though many in the eBay policy department see it as a ‘no-no’ based on the barely related policies listed on this policy page:
I think you would benefit from a read of my best seller at SilentSalesMachine.com. There are dozens of ideas in there that would help answer your questions beyond what I have time to lay out here. Here’s the link:
A couple ‘white hat’ creative ideas that my readers have used successfully:
Currently you are clearly allowed to include an email address in your eBay listings.Â It’s quite simple to make your email address really stand out with a bold or bright font and this can benefit you in a couple ways. First, if you host your own email on your own niche website then you’ll get residual traffic from eBay (because when someone sees the email address [email protected] some people will go visit WeLoveDogs.com out of curiosity).
Next, it is quite possible to use an email autoresponder service such as aweber.com and directly attach it to the email address that you include in your auctions. This will automatically generate an email invitation to everyone that sends you an inquiry.
Another strategy is to link off of eBay to your YouTube account.
This is a slightly gray area, but you are allowed to put YouTube videos in your auctions and eBay has NEVER forced sellers to embed them versus linking to them off of eBay. Once a shopper is off of eBay you can expose them to a squeeze page or an auto-response email address such as [email protected]
There are literally dozens of such ideas that I’ve grown an entire community of creative thinkers around (but we aren’t just about eBay) at MySilentTeam.com.
If you have any questions about any terms or strategies listed here please drop me a comment by using the link below this article and we’ll do our best to help you out.
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