How to write successful eBay listings

The is the second of three eBay features we’re running this week from Auspost, this one focuses on writing successful eBay listings.

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Show me the benefits and I’ll show you the money

One of the biggest mistakes eBay sellers make when writing their listing is that they promote their product’s features – what it is – instead of its benefits – what it does.

This is a rookie error that can really cost you because whether buyers know it or not, they buy to fulfil a need. If you can identify what need your product satisfies, and can include that in your copy, you’ll sell a lot more and people will pay more it.

There are a host of reasons why people buy anything, be it a packet of mints or a pink Maserati. Here are the top 10. They buy to:

  1. make money
  2. prevent losing money
  3. save time
  4. avoid effort
  5. attract others
  6. escape physical pain
  7. Prevent Stress
  8. gain praise or recognition
  9. protect their family
  10. give themselves peace of mind

A case study: the power of promoting benefits

Let me explain the power of promoting benefits using a real product so you can see what a massive difference clever copywriting can make.

I did a brief search to find a hot seller on eBay, and the Dyson vacuum came up. I’ve created a ‘before and after’ version of how a listing was written so you can clearly see the power of selling the benefit, not the feature, and ending up with really successful eBay listings.

Here’s the old version – boring, dry, dull – filled with features that don’t tap into any of the emotional needs of the buyer:

Dyson DC41 Upright Vacuum:

  • multi floor
  • self-adjusting active base plate
  • retreating brush
  • cord length-10 metres
  • weight-7kg
  • attachments included

Boring, right? And unhelpful too. If you’re not familiar with the product, these features are meaningless. It doesn’t have to be this way. With just a little bit of thought and some crafty copy, you can convert these features into a powerhouse of benefit-rich copy.


Feature Benefit
multi floor it cleans all room surfaces without needing to adjust the nozzle so no bending or effort required
self-adjusting the vacuum automatically penetrates different depths of carpet pile and sucks up ground-in dirt and pet hair
retreating brush the brush bar retracts to protect the floor from scratching
10-metre cord it’s long enough to reach multiple rooms without having to repeatedly pull the plug in and out
Weighs 7kg it’s easy to super light to carry; in fact, it weighs less than the average 3 month old baby!
attachments included comes complete with brush, stair and crevice attachments so you can easily access and clean those hard-to-get-at corners

Can you see what a difference including the benefits makes?

How do you convert features into benefits?

By simply inserting the bridging phrase ‘WHICH MEANS THAT’ you instantly convert a feature into a tangible benefit.

You don’t have to include the bridging phrase in the copy – as I have here below – but you can see how this linking phrase works by looking at the Dyson example. I’ve added the reason why people buy at the end so you see what need it is fulfilling:

  • It’s a multi-floor cleaner WHICH MEANS THAT it cleans all room surfaces without needing to adjust the nozzle – avoid effort.
  • It has a 10-metre cord WHICH MEANS THAT it’s long enough to reach multiple rooms without needing to unplug and re-plug the cord – save time.
  • It weighs 7kg WHICH MEANS THAT it’s super-light to carry, in fact, it weighs less than the average 3-month old baby! – escape physical pain.

It may seem like a bit of work to convert features into benefits, but once you get into the habit of using that three-word bridging phrase you’ll be well on your way to writing successful eBay listings that supercharge your results WHICH MEANS THAT you’ll make more money – and isn’t that what eBay is all about?

Brought to you by Australia Post. For more information about how we can help take your small business idea to the world visit our dedicated website.

Bernadette Schwerdt, digital marketing strategist and founder of the Australian School of Copywriting (