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How to Sell Plants Online

Last updated : 20 March 2015

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on buying plants online and also selling the plants you grow online:

Here’s the thing…

Underground Internet Chat Room Revealed As Hidden Source of Cheap Mail Order Plants

Selling plants online is easy. Anyone can throw an ad up on Craigslist, or post them for sale inside a local Facebook Group, right? Pretty easy stuff…

But the hard part is getting your ad or listing seen by the right person when they’re actually searching for it.

Do you know how many new posts get added to Craigslist on a daily basis? Yeah, me either… but I can guess it’s more than just a couple!

My point is, if you want to sell your plants online, you have to create an ad that can be easily found when someone is searching for something specific.

There’s a whole sea of other listings they need to weed through on those classified sites in order to find something specific that they’re looking for.

Your job, as the grower, is to make it easy for them. Save them the time and hassle of sifting through hundreds of posts.

On the other hand, inside The Backyard Grower’s Business Center, you can easily put your ad in front of hundreds of plant buyers who are already looking for the plants you have for sale.

After reading this post you will have learned how to build six different types of little automated, online selling machines for your plants.

Selling machines that will automatically attract plant buyers for you 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

Selling machines that will siphon plant buyers off of Google, Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, and Facebook… without any upfront cost to you, the grower.

So, lets get started…

Here are 6 different ways to attract plant buyers so you can easily sell your plants online:

1. How to Sell Plants On Craigslist

Selling plants on Craigslist is simple but it has a few downsides. One being, it’s not really automated (I’ll tell you how you can automate it at the end of this section).

The second downside is, you have to deal with people coming to your home to make the sale. For some people this isn’t a problem… for others, it’s a deal-breaker. Like I explain in my Backyard Cash Machine Guide, there are plenty of ways to sell plants from home without anyone ever knowing you’re doing it!

Lets get started…

Step 1: Get a Craigslist Account

Obviously, if you already have a Craigslist account, you can skip this step. If not, click here to sign up for a Craigslist account for free now.

After you enter your email address, an email will be sent for you to verify your account. When you click the link in the email to verify your account, you’ll then be asked to create a password. Then, you’ll have to accept their “Terms of Use” and after that, you’ll be logged in.

Step 2: Post Your First Craigslist Ad

Like the image shows below, from the dropdown menu choose which city you’d like to post your ad in and click the Go button.

Post Your First Craigslist Ad

On the next page you’re going to choose the Type of ad you want to post. When you’re selling plants on Craigslist, you’ll typically want to post them in the For Sale by Owner type like you see below…

Choosing a Category on Craigslist

Next, you need to choose a Category. The best category for plants is the Farm & Garden – by owner category like you see below…

Choosing a Craigslist Category

Now it’s time to create the actual post. This is where the magic happens. Take a look at the image below…

Create a Post in Craigslist

You can see that I’ve numbered a few items in the image above. These are the important aspects of the post and I consider them to be required if you want to get most out of each post.

Lets start with number one, the most important element of all, the Posting Title.

Here’s why it’s the most important, look at the image below…

Ranking in Google Using Craigslist

The posting title you choose is what’s used in Google and the other search engines as the click-able link. It’s important that you choose this title carefully.

It’s also important that you only sell one plant per post on Craigslist. Remember, people go to Google and search for specific plants. Each one of your posts should be selling only one specific plant.

So, the posting title should include the name of the plant. If look up at my example post, my title is Emerald Green Arborvitae Plants for Sale.

That will become the click-able link in Google too. The search engines put a lot of weight on the titles of pages. So, if your title includes the exact same words as what the person typed in for their search, you have a good chance of ranking high in the search engine results.

I cannot stress how important it is to be specific when you’re creating posts, not only on Craigslist, but wherever you’re selling. Members of The Backyard Grower’s Business Center are constantly looking for one specific plant that they’d like to buy, so they can use it to take cuttings from for years to come.

The goal isn’t to have people stumble onto your listing while they’re browsing Craigslist. The goal is to have them find your listing while doing a search in Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Okay, lets move on to number 2, the Specific Location. This doesn’t take much explanation. Just be specific. Some folks will include a city or town when they search online and the search engines will return pages in the closest proximity.

Number 3, the Posting Body.

Here’s another important aspect of the post. If you scroll up and look at the image of the Google search results, you’ll see some text underneath the click-able link that starts with “We have 6ft. Emerald Green Arborvitae Trees…”

Google pulls that text directly from the posting body copy that you include. You definitely want to include the name of the plant as close to the beginning of this copy as you can.

You can see in my example above I include it on the first line so it will be visible to the person searching.

Another point I want to make here is, don’t make this sound like a “big box store” ad. You’re on Craigslist. People are expecting to deal with other people. My advice when writing this is, write like you talk. Just like if you were having a conversation with me.

Go back up and read my example… I said, “I have…”, and I also signed it with my name. Be personable.

Okay, number 4, Show On Maps.

This is just another added benefit. It helps the search engines return the most valid results to the person searching. If you include your location, it might bump you up higher in the rankings when someone searches who’s nearby.

When you’re happy with the way your ad looks, click the Continue button at the very bottom. On the next page, they’ll ask to confirm your location on the map (only if you included it).

Next, you need to add an image (or multiple images). It’s important that you make the file name for the image the same as the plant. So, for my example, I’ll name my image “emerald-green-arborvitae.jpg”.

Search engines can’t “see” images but they can read file names. It’s just one more indicator that your post is relevant to the user’s search.

After you’ve added all of your images, click the Done With Images button.

Now, you can review your post and if you’re happy with it, click the Publish button.

That’s it! Your first Craigslist post is live. You can repeat that process as many times as you like for each plant you want to sell online.

Why Craigslist Isn’t Automated

Craigslist displays posts with the most recent first. Plus, eventually your posts will expire, and Craigslist will no longer display them.

Unless, you “repost” them. You’re allowed to “repost” your ads every 48 hours which brings them back up to the top of the results inside Craigslist. This keeps them fresh in the search engines as well.

So, how can you automate this?

Here’s my secret… you ready?

Do you have any kids, grand-kids, or do you know any teenagers? Just pay them $1 for every ad they repost that has reached it’s 48 hour window of time.

Give them your login, and a step-by-step guide on how to repost, and tell them to keep track of their earnings. It’s automated if YOU don’t have to do it!

That’s all I have for Craigslist. A lot of what you learned here will be taken and used across all the other sites where you’ll be selling plants.

2. How to Sell Plants on eBay

Much of the same process as you just read about Craigslist applies to every site that you’re selling plants on. So, I’m not going to go through the step-by-step of each and every one of these.

Instead, what I’ll do is give you some specific tips on how to effectively use each site that may be different from the others.

eBay offers two options if you don’t have an account. You can register for a Personal account or a Business account. Honestly, I don’t know the differences between the two other than your business name would be displayed as the seller instead your username from a personal account.

It’s perfectly fine to use a personal account for this.

Here’s a word of warning though when selling on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, or to anyone “out of state”:

Know the requirements for your state on which licenses are necessary when shipping plants to a different state. Some states are different than others.

Below is a screenshot of a fairly well done eBay posting…

Selling Plants On eBay

You can see a lot of the same aspects from my Craigslist example exist in this eBay posting. It’s specific to one plant, it includes the exact name of the plant in the post title, as well as in the post description.

Really the only difference with eBay and Craigslist is, with eBay you have two options. You can run it as auction where people place bids on what they’d like to pay for it or you can run it with a “Buy Now” price.

When you’re selling plants on eBay, you really should just run it as a “Buy Now” product so people don’t have to wait for the bidding to end to get their plant.

The other difference is people from out of state can order from eBay so you want to be sure you include where you can ship to depending on where you live. There are some states that don’t allow plants to be shipped into them unless the grower is licensed to do so. California seems to have the most rules about this.

Those are really the only differences. Follow my same guidelines from Craigslist when you’re creating your post on eBay.

IMPORTANT: Don’t make a one-off sale. A plant buyer is a plant buyer for life. Keep a list of your plant buyers and make an effort to sell to them again. I cover some pretty unique strategies for this in my Backyard Cash Machine Guide.

3. How to Sell Plants on Amazon

Selling plants on Amazon is a different ballgame. The strategies for actually creating the product pages are the same as Craigslist and eBay but the overall strategy for attracting plant buyers is a little different.

People go to Amazon to BUY. Period. It’s the virtual version of walking into Walmart. You know going in that you’re gonna spend money. You’re just looking for the right product to buy.

Some browsing will occur but they have a general idea of what they’re looking for before they hit the site. That being said, attracting buyers via the search engines using Amazon gets a little harder.

There’s more competition and the volume of customers is much, much greater than eBay. We recently interviewed a member of the Backyard Grower’s Business Center, who is a very successful grower, and he said they currently sell plants on Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon but for every 10 plants they sell on eBay, they sell 30 on Amazon.

Amazon has created a secure, but more importantly, comfortable online shopping environment. They’ve taken the risk out of ordering products online that you would normally have to buy in-person.

So, here are my tips for getting the most out of selling plants on Amazon… take a look at the image below…

Plant Listing on Amazon

To successfully sell plants on Amazon, you have to know how plants buyers use the site. In the image above, number 1 shows you where people search.

Like I said earlier, it’s gonna be tough to rank in the search engines using Amazon because of the competition. But you might be surprised, some plants have very few competitors at all.

So, you have to think of Amazon as its own little search engine. How they rank the listings is a little different than how Google ranks their search results. Amazon has a lot of buyer intel for each listing so they know which products sell the best based on what was searched by the user.

To get your listing ranked high in Amazon, you have to do a few things. First, you need to specific and descriptive product title (which you see as number 2 in the image above) just like I recommended for Craigslist and eBay.

Second, you need a very descriptive product description. Include as much as you can about the plant, how to care for it, and what the buyer can expect from it. Also, fill out the product page as much as possible. Include as many images as possible. Images sell, plain and simple.

The last factor that comes into play when trying to get your products to rank in Amazon are reviews (which you see as number 3 in the image above). The more positive reviews you can get, the higher your listing will rank.

That’s really all it takes to make Amazon happy. A by-product of having a good listing on Amazon is, they’ll sometimes advertise FOR YOU. Look at the image below…

Amazon Advertises Your Plants for You

The red box shows an ad that Amazon is paying for that directs the user to a page on their site listing all of the daylilies they have for sale. If you can get your listing up to the top, your sure to sell out fast!

4. How to Sell Plants on Etsy

Think of Etsy as a more automated eBay. The listings don’t expire but you can still reap the same benefits of getting plants buyers from the search engines.

One thing I hope you’re realizing while reading all of this is, most of these sites offer the same services. You can list stuff for sale and they already have a huge sea of buyers.

But the underlying strategy here is, you’re really using these sites’ authority to rank in the search engines and siphon off buyers. These sites are monsters, they’re huge. And Google loves each and every one of them.

If you were to create your own website, which you should on a local level, it would be almost impossible to outrank these larger sites for the same types of searches.

That’s why I’m suggesting you use them all if you can. Etsy is no different. You can follow the same guidelines I gave you for Craigslist. Here’s an example of a good Etsy post…

Selling Plants On Etsy

I have members of the Backyard Grower’s Business Center who are successfully selling plants on Etsy too.

5. How to Sell Plants On Facebook

Facebook is a different animal. Selling plants on Facebook is two-sided: there’s the free way or the paid way. Both work. One takes time, one takes money.

I’ll explain both. The free way to sell plants on Facebook is to list them for sale in all of your local Buy/Sell/Trade groups. There are Garage Sale Groups/Pages, there are groups and pages for classified ads, and more.

In a matter of minutes, you can probably find and join 10 or more groups on Facebook specific to your local area. When you have plants for sale, create a post much like the one I showed you how to create for Craigslist and share it in each of those groups you belong to.

This is a very manual process and the life of these posts is not very long at all. The bigger the group, the shorter the time your ad will be seen. Every new post pushes the other down a notch until eventually it’s too far down to get seen.

The paid way can give you a much different outcome. We’ve run paid ads for our plants sales in the past and get hundreds of people to show up over the course of our 3-day sale.

Here’s one of the ads we ran on Facebook for one of our local 3-day plant sales…

Selling Plants On Facebook

Notice how different it is from the ads I’ve been telling you to run? The goal of this ad is really to get people to click through to our website where they can read more about the sale.

The website then lists all of the different kinds of plants available at the sale. There’s just no way you could list them all in that small of a space.

The way Facebook ads work, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. With this ad, the average cost per click was $0.16 and that ad generated 2,700 clicks total.

You can also see at the bottom of that image there’s a red arrow pointing to something. This ad was SHARED 145 times on Facebook. That means 145 different people shared our ad! Facebook says that the average person has 250 friends on Facebook.

That means our ad was shared with more than 30,000 people! Wanna know the best part? I don’t pay a penny for shares!! That’s all free advertising!

6. Selling Plants on the Backyard Grower’s Business Center

The Backyard Grower’s Business Center is one of the only places online where you can buy and sell plants to other growers just like you. It really is exclusive.

Sure there are other classified sites and forums out there but no one understands the business of selling small plants like the members in the business center.

Take a look at the image below…

The Backyard Grower's Business Center

This is just a small glimpse of some of the deals going on right now. I’ve made a few circles in red to point out a few really cool aspects of the Business Center.

Notice the bottom circle… this ad was first posted 18 hours ago (from when I took the screenshot). Look at how many people are interested in buying them already… 16!!

Now, some of those 16 people are asking questions but I when in and counted and Dave had 9 ORDERS already. 9 of those 16 people placed an order within 18 hours of him posting his ad.

Same goes for the other ad I circled above it. Some people asked questions but the majority of those 14 posts were orders.

That’s the beauty of the Business Center. That’s why I created it! I saw a need for both buyers and sellers and I created a place for them to go to interact.

I’m very proud of what it’s turned into. Being a part of the Backyard Grower’s Business Center is like having a second family. I’m there on a daily basis answer questions and giving advice. We also have many other successful growers who offer their advice as well.

It’s a really cool place to hang out. It’s a great place to sell your plants. And, you can find some awesome deals there too!

I urge you to check out. You can get a 30-day trial for only $7. This video explains it all. Try it out, see how you like it!

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on buying plants online and also selling the plants you grow online:

Comments

  1. Martin Rosenblum says

    I used to be in the retail jewelry business as a designer, manufacturer. Now retired I am happy to finf that your idea of buying and selling to other dealers is a great one. Retail is a hassel0 , and after 40 years am happy to note that your idea of selling and buying to members would be a welcome change.
    One question I have: What is the correct procedure for collecting the money from a client. Does the seller bill for the plants or is the remittance paid up front. Your advice would certainly be welcome,
    Thank you,
    Martin

    • says

      Martin, I highly recommed getting paid up front. All of the transactions in our members area are paid up front via Paypal. That way the seller gets paid up front, but the buyer is protected if the seller fails to live up to their obligations. They buyer can actually be refunded if the transaction doesn’t work out.

      • Mary Ellen says

        Mike, totally agree with you about PayPal…great way to pay and be paid. One point…once you know and feel comfortable with a buyer/seller…you can pay as a “friend” which has no fees…you are not protected but if the buyer is comfortable then it can work and help the seller. Your advice is always spot on and I am sure very helpful to all. Thanks for all you do.

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