A likable company has a personality that’s in line with what it sells. Your business’s personality, which is what’s meant when people refer to your brand, is simply this: What would your business be like as a person? Most of the time your brand’s personality will work best as an approximation of the personality of your ideal customer. For example, at the most basic level, a likable personality for someone selling cat toys on eBay would be one that celebrates cats and cat owners and that shares photos of their own feline friends. For many of us, selling on eBay is something we just started doing one day, and we didn’t necessarily map out a business plan. But now it’s time to take a step back and look at what we’ve amassed and the brand it projects.

Here’s what to do:

identity photoSit down and read through every bit of text and look over all header or profile images you have online related to your selling. This means listing text, buyer emails, your logo or avatar, what you’ve written on your About Me page and whatever else you’ve got out there from social media to blog posts. Don’t stop and fix typos or anything. You’re just going to read it through and get some initial impressions. As you read, try to look at what you’ve got posted up there with the eyes of your ideal customer we found in the last step.

Is there consistency in how you talk about your company? Is your writing usually more formal or casual? Do the logos and pictures you use fit well with what you’ve written or do they stick out as incompatible? Are there parts that a customer might find off-putting like severe warnings or threats? How does what you’re doing compare to what competitors or other sites in your niche are doing, particularly those referral sites we know our ideal customers also frequent?

The two biggest ways to ensure that customers return for more business and help you advertise through word of mouth is by making sure your business is both memorable and likable. A memorable company has a clever or funny name that perfectly fits what they sell, an interesting or eye-catching logo or a unique voice. If your customer is more likely to remember where they purchased that item or had that good experience, they’re obviously more likely to return to buy more, or mention it to others.

With that in mind, brainstorm a quick list of notes about ways to make your company both memorable and have a likable personality in the minds of that ideal customer based on what you sell. At least half a page for each ideal customer would be great but don’t limit yourself. It’s always better to have too much than too little. If you’re getting stuck, ask some friends and do some internet searching for some outside perspectives. Don’t be afraid to use other sites in your niche or competitors for some inspiration.

You may realize while writing up this list that it might be best to change your company name, your logo or rewrite some of your text, but hold off on this for now. This step is all about brainstorming, and you’ll have better results if you write up your list and then sit on it at least overnight to let it mentally percolate while you work on other things. That’s the best way to let yourself work on the big connections and unusual angles you may have missed at first glance.

Why are we doing this?

Even though you use eBay as your selling platform, you’ve got a company behind that selling whether you think of it that way or not. Even if you sell under your real name, an email address or a personal reference (such as Dad_of_Jimmy or 3CorgiGrandma), the first step to more sales is to start thinking about your eBay selling as a business and your selling name as your company. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need a fancy name or that you can’t be yourself, but it does mean you should change how you think about your selling in the big picture. Taking a moment like this to come up with a unified vision, even if it’s just a loose list of ideas right now, will go a long way towards focusing your understanding of the best way to present yourself to your customers.