vb.net barcode generator free 10: Acquire and Keep Your Customers in Software

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CHAPTER 10: Acquire and Keep Your Customers
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FIGURE 10-1 This seller uses an eBay Store to sell scrap paper he would otherwise recycle.
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other sellers doing the same thing we do selling scrapbooking kits and scrap paper. That is compounded with the fact that the market just is not as good as it used to be. If you combine the two, it s tough. But when you look at the big picture, things are much rosier: Less than six years before this was written, Creative Paper didn t exist at all. And he was throwing his scrap paper in the recycle bin. Jeff ran Suburban Paper and primarily serviced customers in his local area. He didn t know anything about mailing lists, databases of customers, packaging, or selling products directly to the public. Current monthly sales from scrapbooking materials are $10,000. It was all made possible and continues to be possible thanks to eBay.
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Secrets of the eBay Millionaires
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Business name
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Creative Paper
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Seller name Jeff McCullough Web site http://stores.ebay.com/Creative-Paper
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Sells Journal books, wedding invitation kits, card stock, greeting cards, scrapbook materials
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The Whole Purpose of eBay Is to Get Customers
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It should be obvious: People sell on eBay in order to find customers for their merchandise. What s changed in recent years is the role eBay plays in the relationships businesses develop with those customers. In the early years, many companies saw no need to go beyond having an eBay Store. But now, with rising eBay fees and increased competition cutting their profit margins, an increasing number of businesses see eBay primarily as a front end tool. eBay gives them a way to make initial contact with customers, but their ultimate goal is to sell directly to those customers without eBay s involvement. Creative Paper is one of those businesses. We don t do much better than break even with eBay sales because we are selling such small items, says McCullough. When we started doing this, eBay was charging a dime per sale. Now they charge 30 cents to list an item, and more for Gallery photos and other extras. The whole deal costs 60 to 70 cents per listing now. In the beginning, four out of five auctions were selling. Now, if I list ten auctions, I am lucky if three of them sell. Now, we encourage customers to go to our web site to make purchases. The whole point of eBay is to get customers we can sell to later on. The Creative Paper web site (http://shop.store.yahoo.com/creativepapers/index.html), which is hosted by Yahoo!, is shown in Figure 10-2.
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We Do a Blast E-Mail to 20,000 Customers
When you are just starting out, customers come and go. You barely notice their names and addresses as you write them on the package you re about to take to the post office. But smart businesspeople know those names and addresses are like gold. They or their employees record the information in databases for later use. What kinds of things can you do with this business treasure Some suggestions are presented in the following sections.
Send E-Mail Announcements
One thing Jeff McCullough does is send out regular e-mail communications to tell people about new promotions, seasonal specials, closeouts, and
CHAPTER 10: Acquire and Keep Your Customers
FIGURE 10-2 This printer uses eBay to acquire customers and point them to his web site.
the like. Such messages enable Jeff to keep his company s name in their minds so that, when they are ready to place an order for more paper, they ll know exactly where to turn. It s also a way to develop a kind of oneto-one relationship that marketing professionals talk about in regard to e-commerce. McCullough s mass e-mail blast is essential to his online business. Right now my web site sales are about $5,000 a month, and half of that business comes from the blast e-mail I send out once a month offering free shipping, two-for-one deals, whatever. Business always spikes after I do the blast e-mail.
Secrets of the eBay Millionaires
Include a Gift
Like many successful eBay sellers, Jeff includes something extra in each package he sends to a buyer. Along with the item they ordered, they get some additional paper on a ring (see Figure 10-3).
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