Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Boost Online Auction Profits with Audio

Can you boost profits significantly by adding audio to your online auctions? According to a recent article on a net business site the answer is a definite yes. In fact, one e-book author suggested that adding audio to your auctions could potentially increase bids by as much as 22% over auctions without audio.

A recent trend showing up on a lot of websites is the addition of an audio clip. The clip is a personal message by the author or the website owner encouraging you to take advantage of what they offer.

The psychology behind this technique is really Marketing 101. It's called personalization. An audio clip added to your online auction allows you to personally tell the potential bidder about the product. Using your own voice allows you to make contact with the bidder on a personal level that written words cannot. Because, that's what your online auction really is...It's just a long written classified ad asking the bidder to make an offer to purchase your item.

Prior to the advent of the telephone the only reliable way to communicate long distance was by writing letters. It was not unusual back then for lovers to write each other daily or weekly. The decline of letter writing is a well documented event that coincides with the advent of the telephone. The power of the human voice to convey a message triumphs that of the written word.

With audio you can describe the item, tell the bidder why you are selling it or even communicate with them about your refund policy or provide your contact information. The possibilities are almost unlimited as a way to establish a rapport with the bidder.

There are some technical elements to adding audio to your online auctions. The simplest way is to upload a .wav or Mp3 file to a website and provide a link to the file. When the bidder clicks on the link his or her computer will automatically recognize the file and play it with the audio player on the bidders computer.

There are some drawbacks to this method. If the bidder's computer doesn't recognize the file it won't play. The overall effect is not as professional as it could be and it distracts the bidder. If you are a reasonably tech savvy type you can easily deal with the drawbacks of this approach.

For the rest of us, there are a number of software solutions and websites that will simplify the task of adding audio to our online auctions. These different programs and websites range from charging a one time fee to monthly fee's for the use of the program. The good news is that many of them will let try them for as little as $1 for a trial basis or let you download a demo version to see how well it will work for you.

How to Avoid Internet Auction Fraud

In the early days of Internet auctions you were much more likely to be conned than you are today. Figures from the National Fraud Information Center for the year 2000 stated that 78% of Internet fraud at that time took place on online auction sites. These days the big sites have taken steps to make their auctions safer places for their users.

Despite it being safer to buy online from auctions today, it still pays to be on your guard when transacting in Internet auctions. Here are some tips to ensure you don't get ripped off.
Only buy from sellers with good feedback scores. This is definitely one of your best protections. Indeed, this is a feature of Internet auctions which can't be matched by other online retailers. This independent rating system will give you a very good indication of which sellers can be trusted. Just make sure that the seller has carried out enough selling auctions for it to be a reliable indicator.

Pay by the safest means you can. This will generally be credit card. This way, if you do have any problems you can seek redress through your credit card provider. Again, this is a facility you wouldn't normally have when buying from a private individual, so make use of this extra security feature of online auctions.

Only use the big name auction sites. Stay clear of the small, out of the way sites that nobody's heard of. The bigger sites have a reputation they want to protect. That means they'll take any fraud complaints seriously and deal with the culprits quickly because it's in their interest to do so.

Make sure you work out exactly what the product or service you're intent on buying is worth to you. If you do this at the outset you'll be in a better position to make sure you don't overbid and end up paying more than the item's worth. It may sound stupid, but there are plenty of people who'll testify to having been caught up in a bidding frenzy. Auctions can be exciting and addictive, but it doesn't make sense to pay more for items at auction than those items can readily be bought for elsewhere.

Remember that when you place a bid you have, in effect, entered into a contract with the seller. Don't place a bid if you don't really want the item. If you don't adhere to this rule that pink, floral toilet seat could be yours!

And finally, the golden rule for buying on Internet auction sites - if it sounds too good to be true, it very probably is.