An Introduction To Auction Website Marketing
The benefits of running online auctions are clear. Offline ‘real’ auctions (taking place in a room) are limited to the size of the event space, and the frequency with which auctions can be held. Turnover also has to be sufficient to generate a profit.
Running an auction online provides the opportunity to not only attract your current crop of customers, but also to capture a new set – from a more far reaching geographic location. You can still run these auctions offline, you can even webcast them online, or you could bunch a group of items together and auction them off online.
But once you’ve made the move online, what options are available to you?
The following provides a summary of some of the strategies available to you. Many of these ideas will seed engagement with your site and brand. By providing greater opportunity to interact, your site will become more ‘front of mind’ with your users.
Make Use Of Your Existing Customers
It’s true that it’s easier to sell (or up-sell) items to existing customers, so your first port of call should be to open your address book and contact them directly. It’s a good reason to get in touch with them – and it provides them with worthwhile information and opportunities.
Targeted Email Marketing
You will have existing customers to target when you first start to raise awareness of your auction website.
Once your auction site becomes more established, you’ll have a database of users you can contact with details of up-and-coming lots for auction. You’ll also be able to target these based upon their bidding history and preferences.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a term covering all the strategies and tactics involved in improving the ranking of your site in search engine results.
In essence it includes the optimization of your site, link building, interaction with other websites and paid placement. SEM provides reasons for search engines to recommend your site to users when they enter the correct keyword phrases.
Become An Industry Authority
By making yourself an industry authority, you’ll not only breed confidence in your abilities, but also demonstrate your depth of knowledge in your subject or industry. It will also provide you with the interesting content for search engines to consume, index and use – when determining how relevant your website is for someone performing a search.
As well providing interesting content on your own auction website, you may also want to consider interacting with potential customers by writing opinion pieces in the form of a blog. The blog can either be attached to your auction site of just loosely related. By writing the blog, you provide search engines with another route to your site. You also give your readers the opportunity to join the debate.
Podcasting, White Papers & Video
Interaction with sales-leads doesn’t have to be confined to your website or blog. Perhaps try giving them something to take away – and consume after they’ve left your website. Offer podcasts they can listen to at their leisure, or white papers (an authoritative report on an industry topic) they can read at a more convenient time. These, along with video podcasts, offer customers a means with which to understand how your company thinks and operates.
Make Use Of Feeds
One of the tricks with a product or service on the web, is to make it easy for your users and customers to return to your site again and again. This can quite often be done by giving your audience prompts to do so. Emails provide you with the opportunity to market products and services, but feeds (such as RSS or Twitter) give you the opportunity to drip feed news, auction updates and other information in a passive way.
Interact With Social Media
In the same way that networking in the offline world provides a steady stream of contacts and sales leads, the same can be true online. By taking part in relevant online discussions, or joining groups and listening to others, you give people the opportunity to trust you as a business partner and auctioneer.
Integrate With Vertical Markets
By partnering with companies in vertical markets, you’re tying up the supply chain. There could be customers – that were previously unaware of your presence – that are interested in the lots you have for sale. If you make use of partner websites to promote your lots, you’re encouraging qualified sales leads to visit your site.
Your online auction website will have a wealth of untapped information available to you. By examining the habits of your users, you’ll be able to make judgements about what customers are interested in. You’ll be able to start correlating lot items together. This will mean that customers interested in one item may well be interested in another. This gives you the opportunity to market to them in a number of fairly personalized ways.
If this is the sort you thing you think we can help you with, then please contact us.