The Word Bay

5 ways to increase your EPN EPC – are you implementing them?

As you probably know, the eBay Partner Network (the eBay affiliate program) is a form of Pay-Per-Click program – you get paid a certain amount for each click you send from your site to an eBay site. The exact way that eBay calculate the value of your click is not entirely transparent under EPN’s QCP (Quality Click Pricing) system, but there are a number of known factors that affect your EPC (Earnings Per Click).

I have written about these in quite a lot of detail in my book eBay Niche Domination (go and grab it if you haven’t already, it’s free!) so I won’t go into great detail about all of the different things that affect your EPC positively or negatively. However, there are a few proven things you can do to maximise your EPC:

  1. promote stuff that actually sells on eBay! Yes, there is all kinds of stuff for sale on eBay, but it doesn’t all sell that well. If you choose a duff niche you could find yourself with plenty of visitors to your site, and even a decent number of clicks through to eBay, yet your EPC will be miserably low (possibly in the very low single figures). The reason is that some stuff just does not sell online. People search for it online, browse for information, even click through to eBay, but then they go and buy it in a brick-and-mortar shop. In keyword terms, this is what we call a “non-buying keyword” or a keyword with “low commercial intent”. Again, I have given a detailed guide on how to avoid these duff niches and find HOT selling niches in my free guide, eBay Niche Domination, but in short, if bids are sluggish and turnover is low, then it won’t sell for you either, and your EPC will suffer.
  2. promote reasonably-priced items. EPN EPC is directly related to the price of items you sell. If your referrals are buying items selling at around $10, then the percentage eBay earns, and passes on to you in the form of EPC is logically going to be low. Of course, you can still make money by selling a LOT of low-priced items, but bear in mind, EPN are not too keen on that model, and when a lot of people were being axed from EPN a couple of years ago, one reason cited was sales of exclusively low-priced items. Better choose products in the $50-$100 bracket at least, which is probably going to ensure an EPC of over $0.10 (though that’s just a rough guide) – though I have had EPC leap up to several dollars on the back of the sale of items worth thousands. It’s just a case of whether you can find niches like that which have a decent volume too.
    My Wordbay plugin lets you filter eBay items according to a minimum price, so that is also a way to ensure EPC stays high.
  3. pre-sell your visitors. Another area where you can work to improve your EPN EPC is by preselling your visitors effectively. This takes some marketing skill. It’s not enough just to write a dull overview of the product in question, you want to actually persuade your prospect to buy it, not just to click through. You will have to figure that part out for yourself! But the more likely a visitor is to buy when they get to eBay, the more sales you are going to get and the more your EPC will grow. EPN is NOT just about “click and forget” – about sending the user to eBay and hoping they buy. The more preparation you can do to get them in a buying mood, the more you are going to earn!
  4. block bots from your sites. There are a lot of bots around the net which roam around websites, sniffing for various forms of information for their owners. Apart from wasting bandwidth, if they follow your eBay links they will register clicks in EPN but of course not buy anything, therefore destroying your EPC (it can actually bomb to ZERO for a number of days after an attack like that). EPN DO filter a lot of bot traffic, but they can’t catch all of it. If you see a big, unnatural spike in your EPN stats, that’s probably what it is. It is worth reporting those to EPN and hopefully getting those clicks discounted so they don’t ruin your EPC. But better still to block them altogether. There are various scripts around that could help with this, but Wordbay can help a little with this too – see point 4.
  5. hide eBay links from visitors from “non-eBay countries”. eBay has sites in a dozen countries, or so, you know that. When a visitor comes to your site from any country that does not have an eBay site (e.g. Vietnam), what are the chances they will buy something from eBay.com? Well, they might, but my experience is that statistically they are far less likely to buy anything if they click through. As a consequence they browse around eBay but don’t buy anything. That also does damage to your EPC. After a Wordbay user alerted me to this fact, I implemented some code in my plugin that allows you to show alternative code to anyone visiting your site from a non-eBay country – e.g. Adsense, or some banner code. Well, I will show you an image of my EPC graph since I implemented that and activated it on my sites:A graph showing improved EPC in EPN after implementing changes
    The red frame shows the period after I started blocking non-eBay countries. Can you see the difference? Previously my EPC was constantly up and down, really unstable and often depressingly low. After this one change, sure it still fluctuates a little, but nothing like as much as before, and most importantly, it is on average almost DOUBLE what it was! OK, results may vary, and all that – but that is a pretty cheap way to nearly double your earnings, wouldn’t you say?! That is a new feature in Wordbay as of version 1.7, and I am really pleased with it – I am glad I listen to my users, too 🙂 Oh, and a cool side-effect of this relates to point 5 – because a LOT of bad bots are from countries which do not have eBay sites, they automatically get served something OTHER than eBay links, so they never see your eBay links and never get to click on them. This will also really help boost your EPC!

Well, those are just a few things you can do to help improve your EPC – of course, some of the most effective solutions require a bit of technology, but there are also some things there that you can implement straight away. So, get implementing them, and let’s get that EPC under control, and up in the double figures where it belongs!