Is your name holding you back?
Recently I talked about Twitter and I so hope that you have considered joining the site and are on your way to marketing your products successfully. If you have just joined then it’s very likely that you have had to have a think about what to call yourself on Twitter. So, did you go for your own name? Did you match your Twitter name to your business name?
Did you go for something completely random?
It’s very interesting to see what people do when it comes to choosing an online ID – whether for social media sites, eBay, Amazon, forums and so on. Some people keep everything aligned with the same ID’s or very similar ID’s everywhere they register, others randomly swap things around. If you or your children are fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson stories you may recognise this quote from The Lightening Thief:
“Names have power.”
And I believe this to be true. When it comes to choosing your eBay or Amazon ID, the name you choose could make a lot of difference to how professional you appear and this has a knock-on effect as to how many sales you make, how many people visit your listings or shop and even how likely a person might be to recommend you to their friends and family.
Choosing the right ID is a vital step in the process of setting yourself up successfully, so how do you go about choosing it? Well I thought that I would put together my own top 10 tips to help you make a decision.
1. Don’t panic!
While it’s true that choosing a great ID can have quite a significant effect on your business it isn’t the be all and end all! Don’t be so concerned about selecting the right name that you never actually get started because you’re too busy trying to dream up the perfect name. Or spending a solid month of valuable selling time making a list of 1.8 million possibilities. Just keep some perspective when making the decision; give it some time, absolutely, but not so much that it prevents you from making progress within your business – besides you can always change your ID if you decide to later.
2. Be memorable
Let’s say a person makes a purchase from you. They’re really impressed with the service they received, the price they paid and the quality of the item. As such they decide to return to your shop a while later to buy something else. Great! Only they might struggle to find eBay ID john1976_34 ever again. I know it can be hard to think of a really memorable name, especially as it seems that lots of the good options are already taken, but try to think about a catchy word or phrase that could help a buyer to find you again. Tie it in with your niche if you can.
3. Stay unique
Although this links up with my second tip I think that it has enough merit to bring some more attention to. There’s no disputing that there are a lot of online sellers registered, so finding a relatively unique ID isn’t necessarily going to be an easy task. A little uniqueness though, be it from a word that your competitors don’t currently use or a phrase that they haven’t considered, could stop your buyers accidentally stumbling upon your rivals when they were actually looking for you! So do some research and see what you can come up with.
4. Don’t use your actual website address
If you have a separate website that works alongside your eBay shop or Amazon listings then you might be tempted to create an ID that includes your domain name. Something along the lines of thebestshoes.com, or microwavesrus.co.uk. But this will mean eBay may force you to change your ID or worse, they may simply suspend your account and cancel all of your listings. Likewise, don’t be tempted to use an email address to make up any part of your ID. It’s not allowed!
5. Closely match your website address
I know, I know, I’ve just said not to use your website address within your ID and I’m not going back on that point or contradicting myself. You will certainly get into trouble if you incorporate a website address exactly as it appears in the address bar – i.e. with a .com or .co.uk ending, but you can certainly use the keywords that you created for your website within your ID to help buyers to remember both your domain name and your shop name. If your website address is www.homemadefudgeuk.com, then you could try to use the ID homemadefudgeuk. Simply remove the dots and the .co.uk or the .com
6. Avoid numbers and symbols if possible
Very occasionally a number or symbol could add something special or memorable to your ID, for example ‘healthmatters4you’ (although I personally am not a big fan of these kind of names), but on the whole it makes sense to avoid them as numbers are generally harder to remember than words. For the very same reason you should only use letters that actually form words that a person can remember, rather than random characters thrown together to invent some completely new word. Many symbols are not allowed in your ID anyway particularly on eBay, although some additional characters can be included within the name of your shop.
7. Obey any formatting rules
This is a pretty obvious point, but it’s worth mentioning to ensure that you don’t spend ages coming up with a great name only to find that you can’t actually register it because it falls foul of the formatting law laid down by eBay. Essentially your eBay ID must be longer than four characters and should be made from letters, numbers and only allowed symbols. That’s not all that helpful though, if you don’t know what you aren’t allowed to use, so here’s a quick list for you:
- No spaces or tabs, so your words must run into each other or be separated with _ or –
- No multiple underscores in a row, so you can’t get away with this ___ in your username
- Starting your ID with a ., _ or – is strictly prohibited too
- As is the use of the word ebay, or even the letter e followed by a series of numbers.
- You can’t use the same eBay user ID on two accounts (even if it is another account of yours)
8. Keep it clean!
I hope it goes without saying that any name with obscene or profane language will certainly be banned from any online venue, so keep your own user ID clean and family friendly.
9. Use appropriate keywords
When you are thinking about creating your ID you should also consider what you actually sell. Using words that describe the goods you will be offering to your buyers is a great way to create a memorable and informative name. It will also help your buyers to recognise you as an expert in a certain area, as from your name they will see that you obviously sell goods within this niche market. I’m talking about names such as ladiesfashiontoday denoting ladies clothing or laserprintersuk indicating that you sell laser printers.
10. Once established, don’t change your ID if you can help it
If you are already selling under a username that doesn’t conform to the above nine tips and are selling successfully, please don’t worry about changing it unnecessarily. Changing your ID now could lose you custom from previous clients. If you have just started out though you could definitely make the change.