Archive for June, 2005

The Hotline

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

As this is being posted, we are exhibiting in booth 726 at the eBay Live! Community Conference. As we have recently had a lot of clients who are completely new to selling eBay and who have required a little extra hand-holding, we tried to come up with a way to be able to keep in touch with them if they need us even though we are in our trade show booth.

Enter the As Was red hotline phone, purchased on eBay from seller telephoneoperator. It’s a real 1971 Western Electric model 500 rotary telephone, complete with red cords and evidently a very loud ring. We’ll connect our Vonage to the internet we get in our booth; this will allow our office number to ring in our booth… and it will ring loudly on a red hotline phone.

This will be at a convention, so the old-fashioned phone ringing  noise is sure to attract somebody’s interest! Plus, we will have the chance to address as many of our clients’ questions as we can without them having to wait for us to call back. I am fairly sure that nobody else on the trade show floor will have a 1971 telephone ringing.

If you are at the eBay convention, drop by our booth. If you are not at the convention and have questions about our company or services, give us a call! :) Visitors to our booth are our priority in that moment, but we’ll do our best to answer all calls that come in.


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Not A Licensed Contractor

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

If you weren’t a licensed contractor, would you promote that? Maybe you have to mention that by local law.

I drove by a truck the other day. It had signs all over it for a handyman. This person will do any house work you have. Underneath the name and phone number, it said:

Not a licensed contractor
(by choice)

What does that make you think of this person? Normally, people are proud to promote that they’re licensed. This person seems proud to be unlicensed, and wants you to know he chose that. Maybe he chose to be unlicensed after they rejected his application or revoked his license.

Bad marketing. This doesn’t inspire confidence!


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We Beat Most Quotes

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

A TV commercial here for a blinds company has their slogan in quotes, "We Beat Most Quotes." That’s not very compelling. It made me wonder if that’s the slogan, what got rejected?

We Beat The Quotes That Are Higher Than Ours

We’ll Get There Eventually

Need Blinds?

Low Prices Are Our Priority (that’s the slogan for an appliance company in town… they blanket the TV with their ads)

Kids, let’s make our slogans compelling. We’re spending advertising dollars to produce and run television spots. Let’s make them GOOD. Try to find something better about your company than that you will beat some but not all of the prices around town.

Newsflash: I Googled "we beat most quotes," and found that a very small handful of companies have also decided to use that as a selling point. Good luck to them!


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Mobile Phone Plans & Charges

Monday, June 20th, 2005

I’m calling this good marketing because it ropes people in every day, even if the choices those people make aren’t always the best.

Take your mobile phone plan. You probably get a certain number of minutes included plus some other but limited features (like text messaging) that are included. You pay a monthly fee, let’s say $60 (plus taxes), and if you go over your minutes, you’ll pay 40 cents per minute ($24/hour… more than most people make at their jobs!). Maybe you’re on a family plan. Those are normally smarter, right?

What happens. You have one or more months where everybody on the family plan went way over. Your bill is $300, and you’re stuck paying it. You wish you could move to a totally different system, but you’d be stuck with early termination fees. Two things to consider.

1) I don’t know if other carriers offer this, but Nextel offers a plan where everything is unlimited. Unlimited incoming and outgoing calls, unlimited long distance, and unlimited direct connect (their walkie talkie feature). It’s $199.99/mo, which is less than your bill for going over your minutes for one month. If you’re using your phone for everything all the time, consider a completely unlimited plan.

2) Do the math on the early termination fee. Say you want to move to Sprint’s "Fair and Flexible" plan, where you pay $5 for every 100 minutes you go over (rather than $40 for those extra minutes on your plan). How many months of going over would you have to have for those early termination fees with your current carrier to pay for themselves? You’re already paying over $200 extra this month (in my example). Moving might save you enough money where the early termination fees end up paying for themselves over time. Don’t be afraid to cancel and move!

One carrier advertises "anytime" minutes, which is supposed to put down the carriers who have day time minutes and then free nights and/or weekends. Which is smarter? If the "anytime" carrier really isn’t giving free nights and weekends, you could end up burning a lot more minutes there because every minute you talk counts against your monthly minutes. If they claim "anytime" minutes and then have free nights and weekends, then "anytime" is just a marketing gimmick.


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Anniversary Celebration with Thousands

Friday, June 17th, 2005

This year is eBay’s 10th anniversary. Their big annual convention is next week, and it’s all about celebrating their ten years.

Next Friday the 24th, they are taking ALL of us — every attendee — to Great America, a huge amusement park a la Six Flags. I believe they are expecting 15,000 attendees, and I’m expecting more like 20,000. You also have all the eBay staff (possibly thousands of people) as well as vendors/exhibitors. That could be over 20,000 of us all at Great America at eBay’s expense.

What fun! What great marketing. What excitement can you bring to your clients to celebrate yourself?


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Exploited Child eBay Listing Taken Down

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

The eBay listing that allowed you to name a 20-month old girl who evidently isn’t good enough to have her own name yet came down yesterday. The ironic part was that 100% of the winnings was going to go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. What irony… exploiting your child to help exploited children.

The charity said they never approved this listing to be for sale with money going to them, and they had it listed. The family appeared on our local news saying that they took the listing down because people were "mean-spirited." Well, I’m sorry that some of us weren’t pleased with you depriving your child of the foundation of a sense of self.

Our news reported that the child is happy and healthy. Wait until she’s older and puts all this together.

The news station emailed Dave back (he had emailed them about their coverage of this story), and they tried to say that while the family was "odd," the child seemed OK, and we’ve all grown up with people nicknamed Weezer and Boots and so on, and those people turned out OK. Dave wrote back explaining that a silly nickname is one thing. Having no name is quite another.

This has all been great marketing for how awful these parents are. They’re in my town, and I wonder if I’ll run into them somewhere. I wonder if I’ll say something. I wonder if I’ll be arrested for what I’d like to say. :)


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Learn eBay Strategy

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

Ever read a how-to book and wish you could speak with the author to have things better explained or find out how the advice relates to your specific goals? NOW YOU CAN!

We recently published our new e-book, "The EverySeller’s(TM) Guide to eBay: What Every Seller Should Know About eBay Strategy." It’s a free download, and don’t forget the free DNL e-book reader. All are available from our EverySeller page.

The first two chapters (and table of contents) are free. People who purchase the full version of the book, which unlocks all of the content, will receive a free half hour of telephone consulting with us. That way, if you have questions about the content or want us to work with you on your own strategies, you can schedule a phone call with us.


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Exploited Child

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

We all groan when we see another pregnant woman selling her belly or some random college dude selling his forehead on eBay so that someone can advertise on it. And it’s almost always GoldenPalaceCasino who wins those.

Right now, there is a listing on eBay where a woman is auctioning the name for her child. This is not only a living child, but the girl is 20 months old already. They claim that the birth certificate has no name, and they just haven’t been able to choose a name for her. I’d think that she would have exhibited enough of a personality by now that you could come up with a good name for her.

But her name’s for sale, and what makes this even more awful is that according to the auction, 100% of the winning bid goes to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This girl is going to end up being named GoldenPalaceCasino or VirginMaryGrilledCheese… and that’s not exploiting her?

The irony’s not lost on me, but I have no idea if these people are trying to be ironic. Yes, they are exploiting their daughter to help protect exploited children. This isn’t a kitten, where today we’ll call her Snowball, tomorrow we’ll call her Coconut, and either way, the cat won’t care because she isn’t listening to you any way. This is your child, and I’m leaning towards saying that a 20-month-old with no first name is abusive.

This goes beyond bad marketing. And these people are getting "human interest story" slot on our news. These people should be locked up. Can anybody think of charges that can be brought here? If not, go ahead and complain to the people who’ll get the money from this listing. How awful.


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Dress Code as Marketing

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

We have a local water park with an extensive dress code. It’s restricting, but it’s great marketing.

    Dress Code – The following regulations are for the safety of our guests and employees and apply to all guests regardless of age, sex, religion, race, color, or creed. Traditional swimwear is required. Children in diapers and those being toilet trained must wear approved swim pants in the water. No provocative or thong swimsuits, clothing with rivets, buckles, belts, or metal ornaments. No long pants or cut-off shorts. No oversized or baggy clothing that cannot remain at or above the waistline without a belt or other support. Displayed tattoos must be in good taste and not offensive to a family environment. Guests may not display anything that contains obscene, foul, profane, illegal or unacceptable language, pictures, symbols, phrases, etc. Guests may not wear any article of clothing that conveys a gang look or appears to be gang related. This may include, but is not limited to: altered baseball caps and clothing, bandanas, oversized pants and shirts or sagging pants displaying undergarments. No loitering, unruly behavior, profanity, vandalism, line cutting or alcohol and drugs. Failure to comply with any part of the dress code may result in ejection from the park without refund. For your safety, Breakers Water Park reserves the right to physical inspections of any items carried in or out of the park.

You can get ejected from the water park for profanity, ultra-revealing bathing suits, or looking like a gang member. You could be ejected for your tattoo. What’s the message here?

The message is that you’re safe here. It’s a family establishment that wants your family here, and you won’t be disturbed by anybody who’s too sexy or too tough. Bad news if you dress like or are the person who’s described above. Great news for everybody else. Unruly teens will be choosing somewhere else to spend the day!

It’s great marketing that they lay this out on their website before they tell you their operation hours or days they are open. It has made us more excited about going. Does your company have a dress code, daily or for special events? What does what you wear or what you expect your clients to wear say about you?


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A Scam By Any Other Name…

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

We get calls from time to time from people who believed everything they saw in an infomercial, at a "seminar," or speaking to a stranger over the phone who just happened to contact them about starting their own home-based business.

I wish there were a way for people to understand before they ever receive these stimuli that the bulk of what they are going to be told will be false. I only know about what they are being told because some people second-guess their gut instincts, find my company in Google, and call to verify what they were told.

Trust your gut instincts. If it sounds too good to be true — such as someone promising that you will make thousands of dollars per month selling on eBay without knowing anything about selling on eBay — it’s probably not true. Someone who called me told me that they were told that they would need to sign up for a certain "system" for over a year because that’s how long it takes to have success on eBay. So I told him about one of our clients who sold nearly $4000 of inventory in her first three days selling on eBay.

Success on eBay is not about getting rich quick. It is not about "systems" or "programmes" where you don’t have to know anything about eBay or your inventory or your shopper/buyer or being an entrepreneur or using your computer. There are no "secrets" or "tricks." The same things that make someone successful on eBay are the same kinds of things that make or break a new store opening in your town. It’s a combination of elements that mostly come back to marketing… your identity and presentation, your item and its presentation, the supply of and demand for your items currently in the eBay marketplace, your strategy for listing these items, your pricing, your policies, your customer service, and how well you evolve as the marketplace evolves.

If you are considering buying an eBay book, attending a seminar, or pursuing anything about "starting your own home-based business," research the person or company behind those materials. Don’t just believe testimonials as they may be fake. Insist on knowing more about who people are, their backgrounds, their clients, and if they are claiming to be or have been a big eBay seller, ask for their eBay user ID. You can then see what they are selling, what their reputation is, and if they are as big and good as they claim to be.


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