We are on Part 3 of the How to Sell Your Stuff Online series! It’s been so great for me to be able to share some new information with you and hopefully help you sell your unwanted stuff. If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2, I highly recommend checking those out before continuing with this post so you’ll be all caught up.
So you’ve learned about taking good pictures and pricing to sell. I could probably stop right here and it’s likely you will sell your item. But if you want to sell it fast and avoid lots of questions like “How big is it?” or “What are the dimensions?” or “Is that brown or black?”, then you’ll want to read on.
Before we go much further though, I want to point out that most of my selling experience is with yard sales and online yard sale type sites. I have sold a few items on Amazon and a couple on Ebay, so be aware that I don’t claim to be an expert in those areas. I have also never sold anything on Etsy, however, some of the same tips I’ve covered could apply there as well.
Most of the items I sell are posted on local Facebook yard sale groups and I am most familiar with selling this way. I am part of about 15 different groups that cover most of my county, or about 30 minutes in either direction of where I live. I found these groups by simply searching for “(city) yard sale” and had a few options come up for each city I typed in. I have also sold through a local classifieds site which advertising anything from jobs to rentals to furniture and is run by a news station called KSL. I do not use Craigslist.
When you’re posting an item for sale, you are essentially using marketing and advertising. Marketing because you are trying to communicate to the audience (the people you are trying to sell to) the value of the item you’re selling in order to increase your profit. Advertising because you are promoting your item in a way that will catch the audience’s eye.
So what does this mean in practical terms?
It means that you need to be clear and concise when choosing what to include in your post because you only have a few seconds to interest someone in what you’re selling before they’ve moved on.
Next we’ll be going over what I’m calling the Anatomy of a Post.
Below you’ll see an example of how I post an item for sale on Facebook:
Your title should be simple but descriptive. Anyone looking at the title above would know exactly what I’m selling. Make sure your spelling is correct. I see so many people who don’t double check their spelling and it reflects negatively on them. Like I mentioned above, you only have a split second to grab someone’s attention. Make sure it’s not because you didn’t spell a word correctly.
Your price should be a whole number and not a range. If you have multiple items you’re selling in one post, perhaps because they are similar or part of a group, choose a mid-range price to display. If you are trying to sell the items together as a group or set, put the amount you would take for everything. In the example above, I include the cartridges in the title so people aren’t thinking I’m wanting $80 for a printer. The fact that I included the cartridges should actually attract people to my post because cartridges are expensive so to be selling both together is a great deal.
On Facebook, you have the option of putting a zip code which will then populate with the name of your city once you hit ‘Post’. This is a good piece of information to include so people have all the information they need to decide if they want to drive to you to pick it up or perhaps meet somewhere if it’s a bigger item you are selling. (We’ll discuss the pickup/drop off portion of selling in Part 4.)
Description of Item
The description of your item is so important! If you’ve gone to the trouble of taking pictures and trying to price your item right, why wouldn’t you take the time to write a good description? Included in the description should be the following:
- Is the item new/like new or used?
- Are there any problems with it?
- Mention any rips, stains, missing pieces, chipped corners, etc.
- Be honest, but don’t give so many details that you talk people out of buying it. Just tell them what you would want to know if you were buying it.
- If your item is something that could be multi-purpose or it’s not completely clear what it could be used for, give an example.
- Example: older piece of wood furniture
- Description: I bought this to refinish for my daughter/son’s room, but didn’t have time. Would make a great project!
- Something people just need a little help imagining what they could do with an item or know what you did with it to get them interested.
- Dimensions are important so people know if what you have will fit in their space. Pictures can be misleading when it comes to scale so it’s better to just list it as part of the description.
Link to Item
In Part 2, I talked about doing your research. In the example above, I found the printer on Amazon and then included the link as part of the description. That way, if someone wants to know more about it, they can get all the information they need from an outside source and then decide if your item is what they’re looking for.
The number of photos you use in your post will depend on what you’re selling or if you’re listing multiple items in one post. In the printer example, I posted two pictures: one close up of the printer and one that included the printer and cartridges. If you’re selling a group of items, like dishes for example, take pictures of one dinner plate, one salad plate, one bowl and one mug separately and one with them together so people can see how they look.
*Note: Some Facebook yard sale groups have rules about posting more than one photo with the main post so check the rules before you post a million pictures. You can always post additional photos in the comments and mention it in the description by saying “additional photos in comments”.
- Cross Posted: If you are posting your item in more than one place, it’s a courtesy to mention it. It also helps people realize that if they want the item, they should act fast because someone else could ask for it first.
- FCFS vs Holding:
- FCFS means “First come, first serve”. This tells people that whoever can pick it up the soonest can have it, regardless of who asks for it first.
- If you don’t put FCFS, then you might run into people wanting you to “hold” the item until they can pick it up, or their friend, or their neighbor, etc. If you only have a handful of people wanting the item, then this might be fine. But if you start having a lot of people request the item, you might need to change to a FCFS method to prevent yourself from going crazy trying to keep track of who asked for it and in which order.
- Bundling: If I’m selling similar items that belong as a set or group, then often I will drop the price if they buy everything together. People feel like they are getting an even better deal this way–and they are–plus, you get rid of your items faster.
- Example: 3 unused decorative candles for $3 each or $8 for all 3
So there you have it. The anatomy of a good post. I hope you found this information helpful as you try to get rid of your unwanted items and make a little money in the process.
Check in next Monday for the last post in this series (Part 4) which will be about posting and follow up etiquette.