Are you leaving money on the table because of a poorly written Flippa listing description?
You’re not alone. Writing a compelling listing is something that most Flippa sellers struggle with. Many people find writing difficult enough, so the idea of writing to sell can be overwhelming. In this article, I share four copywriting tips advertisers revisit again and again. The good news is that you can apply these same strategies to improve your own copy and get more money from your listing.
Using these four copywriting tactics will significantly boost your next Flippa auction. So, let’s get started.
“The real advertising writer who is after results makes the reader want something – and then provides what the reader will consider a good excuse for buying it.” – Clyde Bedell
A young assistant to a District Attorney approaches his boss and says “I think we have just enough for a conviction”. The DA grabs the assistant by the cuffs of his shirt and yells “Don’t you ever dare send me into court with just enough!”
Why was the DA so upset? Because to win a criminal case, you need a preponderance of proof. There needs to be no doubt in the jury’s mind that the person on trial is guilty. You should have the same preponderance of proof when creating the sales copy for your Flippa listing.
The more proof you can supply to back up your claims, the better. Uploading attachments of payments received, verified Google analytics, and income statements will all help. You can even go one step further and create a YouTube proof video and link to it from your listing. This video can show your potential buyers when you log in to your Google analytics or Paypal account, and so they can see the proof for themselves.
You can also use social proof. If you have a 100% positive feedback and over $50,000 in previous sales then this is something that you should include near the start of your listing.
Create a Winning Auction Title
“Five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” – David Ogilvy
Your auction title is one of the most important elements of your listing. If more people click on your headline then there will be more potential buyers for your site. Conversely if your auction title doesn’t grab the viewer’s attention enough to click on it, then it won’t matter how great your site is. Spending a little more time crafting a compelling headline is time well spent.
Be Specific in Your Auction Title
Using specific figures is a great way to get attention and build trust. Again Flipping Enterprises does this very well. In many of their listings they will include the exact monthly profit or revenue that these sites are bringing in. For example:
$35,618 in Profit Last 6 Months – Established CPA Affiliate Network
$42,343 in Profit in Last 12 Months – Unique Software Product – IM Niche
Note that the auction title includes the exact dollar amount. Listing an exact amount in the headline appears considerably more credible than simply stating that the site is profitable. Thousands of dollars a month profit may seem like a potentially interesting opportunity, but $2,345 a month are the figures of a real business.
Include How Long the Business Has Been Earning the Profit
If you ask serious buyers what they look for in an auction, they invariably say they want a significant earnings history. Sites which have been producing a solid profit for the past six months will fetch a better price than those which have only one month of earnings. If you do have a solid earnings history then you should include this in the headline as this will definitely help to improve the number of people who check out your listing.
Detail the Page Rank
Another specific piece of data to include in the listing title is the page rank. Stating that the site is PR5 or PR6 doesn’t take up a lot of room but it helps to draw interest. This is a quick way to establish that the site is well established and worthy of your attention.
The Power of Transparency
“The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.” – William Bernbach
It’s the copywriter’s job to “Sell a good night’s sleep – not the mattress.” People buy products because they want a specific result, not to own the product itself. We use transparency to show the buyer how they are going to be able to achieve the result they desire.
The vast majority of website buyers are investors. They want to earn the income that you are claiming for that site. The more transparent you can be about how they will achieve this income, the better.
If you are creating content for your site, explain how this is being done. Are you writing the content yourself or do you have a team of writers already in place? If you are using freelancers, how much does this cost?
If the traffic is coming from organic search, which keywords does your site rank for? If you are using social traffic, which sites are generating the most referrals? And if you are using paid traffic, how much does this cost?
By being transparent you are showing your potential buyer how they will be able to get from point A to point B. They can feel comfortable that they will be able to replicate your income or traffic performance after they’ve bought your website.
Overcome Your Buyers’ Objections
“We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt.” – Robert Collier
As potential buyers look through your Flippa listing an internal dialogue is taking place. The buyer will think of reasons why they shouldn’t buy your website. One of the main purposes of your Flippa listing is to overcome any objections that your buyer might have.
Before creating your listing, think of the kinds of objections someone might have to purchasing your site. For example:
- Running it will take up too much of my time
- I won’t be able to create new content for this site
- I don’t have the technical ability to run this site
- I’m not sure how to generate traffic to this site
Once you have identified these objections you should bring them up in the sales copy for your site and address them. For example, to overcome the objection that they don’t know how to generate traffic in the future, you could include a PDF which explains which traffic sources to use and how to use them. To overcome the objection that it will take up too much time, you could detail how certain aspects of the site are automated.
The most common objection that buyers will have is “If this site is so great, why are they selling it?” There are many reasons why you might be selling a quality, profitable site. Perhaps you need the money for a down payment on an apartment deposit or to pay for college. Or maybe you don’t have the time it takes to maintain the site anymore. Listing the reason why you are selling will help to disqualify this common objection.
Over to You
Writing a great Flippa listing may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t need to be. The key is to be detailed and transparent, while emphasizing your website’s strengths. In the words of master copywriter Leo Burnett:
“Here’s what we’ve got. Here’s what it will do for you. Here’s how to get it.”
Follow that simple framework, and use the four tips from above, and you’re on your way to boost your next Flippa listing.
What have you found to be effective for your Flippa listings? Leave your comments below.
Another guest post to share some of the learnings from the Flippa user community. This guest post to help website sellers is from Danny Batelic, founder of BBSformula – a guide to buying, building and selling websites.
I’ve been a website seller for a few years now and I continually see sellers on Flippa make the same mistakes, so I thought I would share my top seven with you.
Website Seller Mistake 1: Poor Record Keeping
Let’s start at the top, as this is the number one offender when it comes to selling.
Buying and selling is a numbers game and “potential” really means nothing. It’s all about the proof.
There is no excuse for poor record-keeping.
When you sell your website, the onus is on you to tell an authentic story and backup any claims you make with proof. If a seller can’t prove any claims, then as far as I’m concerned, the claim never happen. If I can’t get the information I need, I’ll just walk away. There is so much opportunity online that I’m not going to waste time on something that triggers alarm bells.
When I buy a website, I like to see at least six months worth of traffic stats. The simplest way to keep traffic records, is to install Google analytics. This should be installed as soon as you either build a site or take ownership of any you have purchased. There is no excuse for not having analytics installed.
Then there is proof of income. You’d be amazed at how many sellers can’t substantiate income claims they make.
If your site has been making money through AdSense, affiliate commission, or from your own product, most sales will come via PayPal and you should be able to show buyers the PayPal history. If there have been sale spikes through promotions you’ve run, explain that to buyers, don’t wait for people to point it out to you in the comments section. Being transparent helps remove suspicion, which can hurt your auction, particularly if you have a string of comments pointing out any irregularities.
Website Seller Mistake 2: Not Knowing What Your Site is Worth
A lot of website sellers simply undervalue their sites and consequently so many sites are undersold.
Flippa is a relatively new marketplace and as a seller, it’s your job to understand how to value websites and then convey that value to potential buyers. The best place to learn valuation is on Flippa itself. Study the “just sold” section and develop a feel for what people are paying, but more importantly look for patterns. I learnt this from bricks and mortar real estate, where any new investors are encouraged to study at least 100 auctions before they even think of buying property.
The more you understand why sites sell for the prices they do, the easier it will be for you to educate buyers as to why they should pay the price you are asking.
Website Seller Mistake 3: Weak Sales Copy
This is where you get to tell the story. You want buyers to feel comfortable, knowing that they are buying the real thing. The number one fear buyers have is being ripped off and it’s your job to remove those fears.
You need to talk about the site’s history. How did it start? Did you build it from scratch, or did you buy it as an established site? Explain what you have done to the site and what will be required by the new owner to maintain it.
You need to discuss all features and benefits. Explain the traffic. Is it organic, or is it mainly paid traffic? A lot of sellers will try and hide the fact that they pay for traffic, but if a site is making more money than it spends in traffic, then that’s a good thing. If I can make $2 for every $1 I spend, I will buy traffic all day long and as much of it as I can.
Explain the monetisation. Show how the site makes money and how the new owner can continue to make money. This is where you need to show proof of any claims you’re making. Proof always trumps potential. Even if your site makes $20 a month from AdSense. As long as you can back it up with proof, your site will be more authentic than one that claims $4000 a month income potential, with no proof.
The sales letter is where you get to avoid all those after sale hassle. You need to clearly outline what happens once the sale is complete. Be explicit with what you are prepared to do from your end as part of the transfer process. I’ve seen so many disputes arise here because buyers expected certain things that never happened. The sales letter is the perfect place to explain the whole after sales process.
Another example of why it pays to study a number of auctions before you start to sell, is that you can answer any potential questions buyers might have, in the sales letter itself. Covering potential questions helps having to answer question after question in the comments section, which can be time-consuming.
The headline is a great opportunity for you to grab people’s attention and so many people get this wrong. Again, a great tip here, is to study the just sold section and take note of headlines that grab your attention. Avoid headlines that just sound too good to be true.
Website Seller Mistake 4: Mismanaging the Whole Auction Process
So many auctions just don’t run for long enough. I know, at times sellers are very motivated and after a quick sell. I think 5 to 7 days is the ideal listing for most sites. You need to consider people’s online habits. We all access the Internet at different times. Some people are only online during work hours, others at night and some only spend time online on the weekends. You want to cast your net as wide as possible, so I recommend including at least one weekend in your listing cycle.
A common mistake is not replying to comments regularly and efficiently. Once a day is okay at the start of an auction and as things heat up towards the end you need to answer any comments as soon as you can. Answer all questions honestly and if you don’t have information, just let people know that you will endeavor to find out and get back to them. This is where you see so many people caught out trying to cover for mistakes or misinformation. High end sites can run longer, as they have more traction.
A great tactic towards the end of an auction is to post a comment or two of your own, just to alert any watches or last-minute bidders that the auction is about to end.
A huge mistake I see in the auction process, is when sellers lose their nerve. This is where mistakes are made and money left on the table.
The auction process isn’t linear. Things start with a little frenzy in the beginning and then there is always a dip in the middle, with things really heating up towards the end. A lot of sellers get to that dip and panic. This is where reserves are dropped, low BIN prices are put in place and lowball offers are accepted.
I’ve spoken to so many website sellers who have dropped their prices, only to learn that there were buyers waiting to enter towards the end of the auction and were willing to pay top dollar.
“PM ME THE RESERVE!”
Do this and you lose. You would never go to a house auction and have the seller come out and reveal to everyone their reserve price. It just does not happen. It shouldn’t happen on Flippa either. You will be asked this question and the best answer you can give, is that revealing the reserve defeats the purpose of having one in the first place. Remember how I wrote about emotion earlier? This is the chance to use it to your advantage. People buy on emotion. That’s why the auction process is so successful. No one likes to miss out, so it can become more about winning the auction, rather than buying a website.
Website Seller Mistake 5: Confused By All Those Upgrades
With all the listing options available to sellers, things can get a little confusing
Upgrades can get a little expensive on lower end sites, but using just one or two can really help drive traffic to your listing. Most sellers ignore upgrades as simply a waste of money. No matter what price I’m selling at, I personally always use the highlight option when I first list. It’s a simple way to stand out from the crowd. On mid to high end sites, the rest of the upgrades do help, but it is a matter of using them strategically. It does require a little experimenting on your part to find what works best for you. I find using the featured listing upgrade towards the end of an auction really helps attract last-minute bidders.
Website Seller Mistake 6: Not Using Video
The option to attach a video to your listing is a fantastic selling strategy that hardly anyone employs. With so many free video tools available, it only takes a few minutes to screen capture a walk-through of your website and even your traffic and revenue accounts, which is a great way to show proof. A video walk-through is like a guided tour of your website and I have had fantastic success using video.
Website Seller Mistake 7: No After Sales Support
I touched on this earlier, but this is where any disputes will arise and headaches occur This is a trap the new sellers. If you have been very specific in your sales letter as to what happens post sale and deliver on what you have promised, you will avoid almost all problems. For a lot of buyers, this is probably the first site they will ever own and it can be daunting to manage a website the first time.
It’s important to contact the buyer as soon as the auction has finished letting them know what the next step is and what you expect from them in order to move forward smoothly. I personally never start any transfers until the money has cleared and once I’ve been paid. If this is your approach, remember that it is mentioned in your sales copy to ensure buyers are aware of your expectations – having consistently positive feedback will make this less of an issue. Once the funds are cleared, I work as fast as possible to transfer everything and finish the process. I’ve heard so many stories of things falling apart at this point, because of poor communication and sellers not working with the buyer to finalize everything.
If a buyer is happy with dealing with you, there’s a great chance that they will buy again. As part of the whole follow-up process, it’s important to ask the buyer’s permission to add them to your email list and then follow up with any future listings you have. Once everything is finalized, touch base with the buyer after a few weeks, and then a few months. Find out how they’re doing with the new site and if they’re ready for another. You’d be surprised at how many buyers become repeat customers.
Danny, is a seasoned website seller and buyer, and is a founder of BBS Formula, the complete step-by-step process to buying, building and selling websites.
As always, this week in February is a massive one for everything marketing – primarily due to the huge focus on the very high profile ads that ran for Super Bowl XLV.
Does anyone in the business of buying or selling websites really care about whether or not Volkswagen’s Darth Vader was better than E*Trade’s talking baby? Probably not. We’re even going to leave all the GoGranny dot-co discussions aside for now and focus on an entirely different field of marketing—the marketing of your website auction.
Why should you promote your website auction? This is a fair question. You’ve taken the time to create a fabulous listing on the number one marketplace for buying and selling websites, and you’re actively responding to both public and private comments. Why doesn’t it all just happen?
Well, we’re doing our best, but with website auctions as with most things in sales, it’s all about eyeballs. The more viewers, watchers and active bidders you have on board, the better chance you have of reaching an optimal sales price.
Luckily there are a number of marketing activities you can undertake to improve visibility of your website auction—both on and off Flippa.
Promoting Your Website for Sale Using Flippa Tools
There are a range of tools available to you on Flippa to get your website auction in front of more buyers.
Promote Your Listing
Using the “Promote Your Listing” link on your auction page will give you a stack of great (and free!) tools for promote your listing.
The first of these allows you to add a For Sale sign to your website by way of a Status Badge—this provides you with some simple HTML you can add to your site to make the auction detail summary appear.
Beyond this, there are a number of great Social Media tools that you can use to share your listing using your accounts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit.
There are a number of powerful paid upgrades available to you at any point during your website auction.
- Promoting your listing to over 4,000 of Flippa’s targeted followers on Twitter.
- Featuring your listing on the Flippa home page.
- Making your listing stand out in Flippa search results with a screenshot or by adding formatting such as bolding, borders and highlighting.
Marketing Your Website Auction Off Flippa
There are a number of effective ways to market your listing off Flippa – especially when you operate in a very specific niche and don’t mind your audience being aware of the sale.
Some successful sellers have found that emailing their opt-in email list of users has resulting in some passionate bidding on Flippa. Futhermore, other sellers have approached their competitors to let them know that the website is for sale.
It can also be worth letting bloggers and forums in your niche know about your auction.
The WRONG Way to Promote Your Website Auction
A number of the marketing tools here can be abused in ways that result in spamming. This includes emailing people you do not know with your listing details. More often than not, the recipients mark them as spam, or complain—one way or the other, it gets back our support staff who suspend the offending listing. This doesn’t help your auction.
Similarly, spamming users on Twitter with your listing is a violation of both Twitter and Flippa terms of service. Again, these users complain to us and offending listings are suspended.
Finally, we’ve seen a number of sellers purchase traffic from pay-to-click services to direct eyeballs to their listings. While we don’t consider this to be spamming, we can confirm that this results in entirely unqualified traffic. This is evidenced by a bounce rate nearing 100% and time on page measured in seconds for this traffic. Trust us, you’re wasting your money.
Have any other methods to market your listing that have worked for you? Let us know below (hopefully it won’t involve needing millions to get a curvy septuagenarian on a Super Bowl ad!)