You hate writing, I know.
But there’s no way to build a successful eBay business without it –after all you need to write product titles and descriptions. Well, you can always outsource these tasks IF you’re comfortable spending the money required but even then – I strongly recommend learning how to write good listing titles and descriptions BEFORE you start outsourcing! Otherwise you won’t be able to give precise instructions to your writer and will end up with mediocre results.
In today’s blog post I want to talk specifically about how to write good titles for your eBay listings!
By good I mean a title that:
- Gives you the highest possible position in search results;
- Effectively pre-sells your product;
- Makes your listing stand out from the crowd!
You may be thinking – what’s so special about listing titles, they’re simple and easy, right? Well, listing titles may seem easy but the question remains why the majority on eBay seem as if they’ve been written by a 3 year old?
And it’s not just the visual of these poorly written listing titles; they also affect search positions and click-through rates! So they don’t just look bad, listing titles directly affect your sales! In essence, the listing title and gallery image are the MOST important things in your listings as they determine whether or not a person will click through to read the rest of your description.
So let’s learn how to write a perfect eBay listing title for maximum click-through rates and the best position in search results!
Do’s & Don’ts When Writing eBay Listing Titles!
If you check out eBay’s Help section on writing good listing titles and descriptions, here’s what they suggest you SHOULD DO when writing listing titles:
- Use descriptive keywords to clearly and accurately convey what you are selling. You can use up to 80 characters. You don’t have to use all 80 characters.
- Include the item’s brand name, artist, or designer.
- Include item-specifics. For example, include size, colour and condition.
- State exactly what your item is, even if your title repeats the category name.
- Don’t use multiple synonyms or plurals. It’s not needed for search and may make your title less attractive to buyers.
- Omit punctuation marks and asterisks.
- Don’t include ‘wow’ or ‘look’. Buyers don’t search for words like these.
- Use correct spelling.
- Don’t worry about creating a grammatically correct sentence.
- Don’t overuse acronyms.
- Don’t use all caps.
I agree with all of the above! If you follow these basic guidelines, your listing titles will be just fine! To make them exceptionally good, also follow these tips:
1. ALWAYS start your listing title with the MAIN KEYWORD or at least place it in the beginning part of your title. This plays a crucial role in search results. You want your product to be mentioned in the BEGINNING of your title if you want to rank high.
So for example, if you sell black covers for the iPhone 5, make sure the words “black”, “cover” and “iPhone 5” are in the beginning of your title, like this:
BLACK iPhone 5 Cover | PREMIUM Quality + FREE Screen Protector!
2. Capitalise the first letter on most words to make your listing title easy to read.
Take a look at these two titles:
brand new apple ipod for sale, free shipping within the uk
BRAND NEW Apple iPod for Sale! FREE Shipping within the UK!
I don’t have to say which of the two above titles looks better and is easier to read…
Don’t over-do capitalisation though. Only capitalise a few select words, otherwise it will look too cluttered.
3. Capitalise all letters in power words. Power words are usually key phrases that best describe the product for sale OR promote a feature/benefit.
If there’s something you want to emphasise, capitalise it. For example:
GENUINE Adobe Elements 11 – BOXED | FREE Shipping within the UK!
With a title like this you emphasise that the item for sale is a genuine product as many people are afraid of buying software on eBay due to the many copies being sold. Also, by capitalising the word FREE you draw extra attention to fact that shipping is free for this item.
4. Don’t SPAM! This is such an obvious rule but so many sellers still don’t follow it and end up with listing titles like this:
Such titles are very hard to read and will result in low click-through rates. Besides that, someone could report your listing which could result in it being cancelled due to a policy breach. Not something you want to happen when you have a long established GTC listing up and running with dozens or hundreds of sales achieved!
5. Don’t fill up the title with unrelated words just to make it 80 characters!
Sometimes less is better. And short titles can actually improve click-through rates. If there’s not a lot to say about the item you sell, don’t make stuff up or do keyword stuffing – it doesn’t do any good at all.
Usually though you can fill up un-used characters by just covering more features of the product or details about shipping or a free gift you include with each purchase.
These are all basic guidelines and very simple to follow. Make no excuses here and just stick to them!
eBay also tells us what we should NEVER do when writing product listing titles. Breaking these rules can result in the listing being cancelled and even account bans in severe circumstances:
- Don’t include false or misleading information.
- Don’t include website addresses, email addresses, or phone numbers. The exception is in the sale of domain names.
- Don’t use profane or obscene language.
- Don’t use the following words in an attempt to market or advertise your item:
- Don’t use any other descriptive word that may bring into question the legality of an item by either governmental or eBay standards.
- Don’t include brand names other than the specific brand name used by the company that manufactured or produced the item you’re listing. This is called keyword spamming and isn’t allowed on eBay. These types of listings will be ended and the insertion fee for the listing automatically credited.
Again, this is all self-explanatory…
In the case of selling compatible items – i.e. items that can be used WITH branded products BUT themselves aren’t branded – make sure you read eBay’s policy on using brand names in cases like this.
The most important rule here is to always use the phrase “compatible with” before the actual brand name in your listing titles.
So for example, this ISN’T allowed:
Apple iPhone 5 Car Charger
You can’t use a title like this IF the charger is not made by Apple. What you should use instead is:
Car Charger compatible with Apple iPhone 5
See the difference? Good!
I know you’ll say – but my competitors do this and their listings are still live! Yes, I know that many sellers on eBay are breaching the rules BUT do you really want to take the risk of your listing being pulled down for policy breaches? Just report any competitors who’re using unethical practices and let eBay deal with them. Don’t put your business at risk, in the long term it’s simply not worth it.
So these are the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of creating good eBay listing titles. Next, let’s take a look at how best to structure your listing titles.
The Formula of a Perfect eBay Listing Title
I myself am a very creative person so for me coming up with listings titles is super easy. But if you struggle to come up with them yourself, a good method is to follow a set structure for your titles, so here’s a general formula you can stick to:
Product + Features + Benefits
3 parts to take up the allowed 80 characters:
1) Product – as discussed before, start your listing title with the product name, which is usually your main keyword.
2) Features – it can be the colour, size, storage capacity, model – anything that is important to your item and something that people search for. For example, if you sell memory cards, you definitely want to include it’s capacity and type directly into the listing title as most people will use these two parameters when searching, e.g.:
SanDisk Compact Flash card – 16GB | 100% GENUINE UK Stock!
3) Benefits – after the product name & main features, if you still have character space left unused, cover the benefits/extra features or even shipping terms. Anything that makes your offer more valuable works here, like:
- FREE Next Day Delivery!
- 100% GENUINE!
- FREE Gift Included!
- 2 Year Warranty!
- 2 Spare Parts included!
- 5 Star Reviews on Amazon!
- More than 10 000 SOLD!
- And so on…
It’s not that difficult, right? Product + Features + Benefits
Use this formula and follow my Dos and Don’ts and I guarantee you’ll be writing SUPERB eBay listing titles in no time! It’s not hard at all, once you’ve mastered the basic fundamentals behind the process.
If you’re running out of characters, you can always consider using sub-titles too. Sub-titles can be used to describe your item more extensively or say to list more technical data in cases where it’s very important for the product you sell (think laptops for example).
Sub-titles are not free though. For business sellers on eBay UK fees are:
- For Auction-style and Buy it now – 3 to 10 day listings: £0.35
- Buy it now 30 day listings: £1.05
There’s no right or wrong way of doing this – IF you really feel your listing needs a sub-title, use it! If you can barely fill up the 80 character space in your main title, you probably don’t need it.
If you ask me – I believe that sub-titles DO increase click-through rates in most cases, especially if you use that space wisely. At the end of the day your listing title + sub-title IS your sales copy! It’s like a small AD for your listing. If it’s good and enticing, more people will click on it.
And if you’re running a GTC listing which should result in at least 10+ sales per month, that £1.05 fee is not that bad, especially if you’re working with healthy margins.
Remember, this is a one-time job – once you’ve written a good listing title, it’s there for you to reuse over and over again. So take no short-cuts with this process as if you do, you’re simply leaving money on the table. How? Well here’s how:
Imagine you make a clear profit of 10 pounds per item sold and the conversion rate from your listing is a constant 10%.
Let’s say your listing is seen by 1000 people and the badly written listing title produces a 1% click-through rate (so for every 1000 people that see your listing in eBay’s search results, 10 click on it)… what affect would writing a great listing title that produces a 2% click-through rate have on your sales and profit? Let’s look at the figures:
- Badly written listing title – 1000 views, 10 clicks (1% click-through rate) = 1 sale (10% conversion rate) = 10 pounds profit.
- Good listing title – 1000 views, 20 clicks (2% click through rate) = 2 sales (10% conversion rate) = 20 pounds profit.
Therefore an improved listing title has doubled your profit!
This is a simplified example of course but I hope you see the DIFFERENCE a meagre 1% in your click-through rate can make. With the poorly written listing title you would end up making just one sale and be left with 10 quid in your pocket, while with the good listing title – 2 sales and 20 quid profit.
So no matter what you think or how lazy you are, you need to learn to write good eBay listing titles so you can reap the benefits of increased click-through rates, increased sales and ultimately – increased profit!