Building Customer ListsWhile most people simply list their auctions and hope that their title and photo will bring prospective bidders to their auction, for someone who wants to use online auctions as a business, listing your item is just the beginning. The title and photo will attract people who happen to be searching the auction listings during the time you have your auction up which is good, but those are just a few of the potential people who might be interested in the auction. Most people have busy lives and can't spend a lot of time searching through the auction listings every week. What you will do is help them out by sending out notifications when you place new items up for auction which may interest them.
From the first day you begin listing your auctions, you should start to make category email lists of all the people who place bids on your auctions. When you place an item up for auction, simply place each bidder's email address into a one word category file either on your computer or in a notebook. As you list more and more items, your email lists will grow longer and longer.
Your greatest resource for current auctions are the people that have bid on your past auctions. This is especially true because you know these people are bidders and not just lookers. They have taken the time to bid on an auction of yours in the past. Past winners will already know that you are selling a quality product, your descriptions are accurate and they have no worries in buying items from you. When you offer a similar product, there is a good chance that they will bid on it again if they know about it. Therefore having a way to notify your past bidders is essential to maximizing the final sale price of your item.
You need to be proactive in this. Email addresses on eBay are available for the bidders while the auction is still live, but as soon as the auction is over, you are only able to access the winning bidder's email address. All the under-bidders' email addresses can no longer be accessed when the auction ends. Therefore, as soon as someone bids on your auction, take a few seconds to click on their username and jot down their email address in your folder.
The next time you list an item that is similar to one you have listed in the past, go to your email list and send an email to all those who have placed bids on your past, similar auction. While you are doing this as a service (to both you and the buyer), not all people will want to receive these emails. You don't want to spam people who don't want this information, so make sure that you add in the email that people can remove themselves from your list by simply returning the email with "remove" placed in the email subject heading. If they don't want to receive these notices in the future, make sure to immediately remove them from your list.
You will also want to write a few lines saying that they bid on a similar product from you in the past and you thought they might be interested in the current auction. You can send the email through the eBay system by using the "Mail this item to a friend" link after you have listed the auction. You can also do it from your own email address providing the link to your auction. By informing bidders that have bid on similar items in the past from you, you are much more likely to not only sell your item, but also have multiple bidders which will increase the ending price for the item.
You can also look for places on the Internet to post your auction link. Do a quick search for discussion boards, newsgroups and websites that apply to the item you're selling. Some will have areas specifically for people to post their auction links. Be sure to take the time to make sure it is appropriate to post your auction link. Spamming forums will quickly give you a bad reputation in the community where you are trying to sell, and the last thing you want to do is alienate potential customers.
By taking these extra steps, you will ensure that more people see your auction than if you simply listed it and let it be. This will result in more bids on your auction (and remember, auctions with bids automatically attract more people to the auction) and ultimately a higher selling price.