20 FREE Classified Advertising Tips to Sell Second Hand Goods Online - Opace

Infographic on the second hand market in 2015 from For-Sale.co.uk

Take care with your headlines, make sure they grab attention - Image Credit: Wander Mum

Quality use of photography is important in the selling process  - Image Credit: Jeanette Smith

Sell your old unwanted items for free on classified sites - Image Credit: Garage Sale Trail

For maximum success sell products at the right time of year - Image Credit: Amy

20 FREE Classified Advertising Tips to Sell Second Hand Goods Online


There has never been more choice than right now for classified advertising sites which enable you to sell second hand goods online for free. To maximise your chances of success we have listed twenty tips below, which will improve your chances of success when train through classified sites.

Writing and optimisation tips

One of the main ways to maximise your chances of selling second hand goods online is through writing a great classified advertisement. In this section we discuss the various factors to consider.

1) Write a great headline

There are no apologies for starting here, create a headline that captures and grabs attention!

This is often a part of writing a classified ad that actually takes little time whereas a significant proportion of the time taken should be spent on the headline. Without a compelling, attention grabbing headline the visitor will more than likely never read the rest of the copy anyway. There are entire blog articles on this topic, we can’t cover every facet here, but remember to use keywords such as “Free, bargain, sensational, last chance”, etc.

2) Provide a really detailed body description

The next part of the writing is the body of the advert. Make sure you write a really detailed description which accurately provides all of the information needed. Ensure the advert answers all the questions you would have and “tweak” until it does. Provide as much information as possible – a benefits list, measurements and specifications and any other useful information.

3) Use call to action words

Don’t be ambiguous; instead be absolutely clear of your intentions. This can be achieved through “call to action” words and buttons. Promote any deadlines and use phrases such as “click here”, “call this number”, etc.

4) Optimise for the best related keywords

A little bit of research and thinking will reveal the best keywords to use when marketing your items for sale. Use tools online to research the most popular keywords used. Make your advertisement as appealing as possible through the eloquent use of English.

5) Know the lingo to use

If the site you are advertising on has its own “lingo”, it’s best to use it. Examples could include VGC (very good condition) or HTF (hard to find). Abbreviations like these can also help if you are restricted by character count for your advertisement.

6) Honesty is the best (and only) policy

It’s tempting to over-inflate the quality of what you’re selling to achieve a higher price and/or a sale. Don’t lie, be honest at all times, deceit often leads to confrontations and complaints. So always be honest, your reputation is paramount and worth more than one sale.

7) Support with quality photography

A picture can paint a thousand words, so be sure to include images of your item for sale with your listing. Photography can help clinch the sale as it visualises before the buyer’s eyes what is for sale and also shows the quality. Also, in many cases buyers will simply ignore listings which have no photography attached, especially for certain items.

General tips would be to include a background contrast and use photo-editing software to enhance your image. Where available add metadata tags and labels to your photos to help with searches.

8) Avoid errors in your listing text

Errors in listing text can be a real “turn off” for buyers with research showing buyers are less inclined to buy from error-ridden listings. Be sure that listings spellings, grammar and punctuation are all correct and optimised as far as possible.

9) Test your advertisement

If selling regularly you’ll find out what works. Keep tweaking advertising text until you find a winning formula. Honest feedback on advertising text is great too, so be careful with family and friends who may be too nice.

Selling tips

10) Don’t pay to list create an advert for free on classified sites!

Why pay to advertise your second hand goods? There are plenty of classified advertisements sites available which are totally free to use, examples include sites like Loot, For Sale, Gumtree and Preloved, etc.

Avoid listing fees and sales commissions by using these sites entirely for free.

11) Make sure the “price is right”

As when selling anything in life it is important to set a realistic selling price. Research is critical, check other listings for your item and set a competitive price. Setting a low price is likely to clinch a sale but you could be losing out on valuable funds by discounting too much.

12) Keep within the law

Always keep within the law, both of the country and also the terms and conditions of the site(s) you are listing upon. Remember that buyers will have statutory rights just like they have when they buy from a shop. Make sure the listing description is fair and accurately describes the product, if it doesn’t this may create an opportunity for the buyer to get a refund. On the topic of refunds, never be afraid to give them – under the right circumstances and if the goods sent are returned in the same condition.

13) Not used in the past year – sell it!

Try to adopt an ethos “If I am not using it, I am selling it!” A good principle of measurement might be for any items not used in the last year then consider selling them. Be ruthless and enjoy the extra cash generated!

14) Avoid binning and sell online

Don’t just bin or take to the rubbish tip, instead consider selling the items online. Traders with repair skills will often buy items for repair, e.g. furniture, electrical items, etc. There is also a healthy market for spares and some household items might generate cash just for their scrap and parts value.

15) Sell at the right time of year (for seasonal items)

It stands to reason but to optimise your chances of success, sell in the right seasons. Christmas Cards for example sell much better and for a higher price between September – December than in January and February. Similarly sun protection products sell better in the summer and antifreeze sells better in the winter! Always consider the importance of this in seasonal markets.

16) Sell internationally where you can

Why limit your customer base if you don’t have to? Where you can list locally, nationally and internationally, then do so. Some providers like eRowz offer a variety of classified sites across many country specific URLs. This can be ideal for service offerings (e.g. writing or translation) especially, but also for goods which are light and can therefore be posted economically internationally. When trading internationally always be aware of customs restrictions and limitations (e.g. food, plants, weapons, etc.)

17) Save on payment transactional fees

Wherever you can, seek to save on payment transactional fees. Accepting payments by Visa and PayPal will erode profitability so aim to receive payment by cash, cheque or bank transfer where possible. This will perhaps suit face to face handover of goods more than distance transactions so will only be possible on a proportion of transactions. Goods should never be released until funds are cleared (e.g. take care when accepting cheques).

18) Build and protect your online reputation

When selling goods on a continual basis it’s important to build up a reputation and profile on any sites you trade from. Reputations can only be built gradually and rely on excellent customer service (e.g. send an e-mail when goods have been posted). Also important are the accurate description of goods, seamless experiences and the speedy delivery of goods.

19) Use niche sites where they are available

Niche classified sites specialise in selling goods of a certain type, e.g. sports goods, mobile phones, jewellery, etc. Advertising highly relevant goods on these sites is likely to stimulate interest from closely matched buyers. Although traffic levels on niche sites are likely to be lower than major sites such as eBay and Amazon these can still be tactically worthwhile on occasions.

20) Take care with packaging, postage and distribution

As a part of the customer experience and to help build-up positive reviews and repeat orders always make sure the packaging, postage and distribution is managed with care. Enclosing a business card and maybe a low-cost freebie is always a nice touch. Make sure you apply the correct postage, as it’s the ultimate embarrassment for a package to be held-up for inadequate postage reasons. Paying for insurance and obtaining proof of postage is highly advisable in cases where the package gets lost, which fortunately are infrequent.


We hope you have enjoyed these twenty tips and are sure that if you practise all of them that you will be well on your way to successfully selling second hand goods online. We wish you the very best of luck and success!