Knowing how to market a live auction is essential to its success. In general, a person needs to hear a message six times before it sinks in and they understand what you are trying to convey.
A large part of the success of your live auction involves communicating to your guests and getting them excited about the items you will offer for sale at the event. Exposing potential supporters to the live auction will encourage them to buy tickets to the event and insure the chance to purchase these wonderful items. It also allows your guests time to think about which pocket book they can access to buy the items. Will the purchase come from the vacation budget, company entertainment budget or from their foundation? It also lets them make arrangements with friends to purchase a dinner or trip package together.
During the consulting meetings with our clients, we suggest that they do the following to present the live auction item list to their attendees six times:
Set Up a Page On Your Website to Showcase Auction Items
The first way is to set up a page on your website to showcase the items. Include information about your nonprofit, school or church and the people you help. Tell them how you will use the money raised at your event. Give them the reasons they need to support your cause. This is also a great place for your mission video. Also include a link to purchase tickets to your event.
E-mail Your Supporters
The second way is to email your supporters, not just the people attending the event. I received the email below from one of our clients and it is a great example of how to present your auction items using beautiful images and creative, detailed descriptions.
Expose Your Audience To Live Auction Through Social Media
The third way to expose your audience to the live auction is through social media. You can post a picture and description of a live auction item each day two weeks before your event. Tweet about the fabulous items you will have for sale and be sure to use the hashtag for your event. Ask your committee to like your Facebook posts and share them with their friends as well as retweet to spread the word. Get creative about how you use social media to spread the word.
Showcase The Items In A Live Auction Display At The Event
The fourth way is to showcase the items in a live auction display as guests enter the bar or ballroom at the event. Create an area that contains large display boards with information about each auction package. Another great way to get guests’ attention is to run the live auction slideshow on monitors or large screens placed around the room during the cocktail hour. Each slide should contain pictures of the item, the item number and a short description.
Include A Description In The Program Or Flyer They Receive At Check In
The fifth way to expose your audience to the live items is to include a description in the program or flyer they receive at check in. Do not bury the live auction list in the middle of a large program book. Place it at the beginning of the book or on the back cover. A great idea is to put a colorful listing of the auction items that fits in their bidder packet along with their bid paddle. Some of our groups showcase the live items on the back of the bid paddle.
Have A Live Auction Slideshow Which Runs During the Live Auction
The sixth and final way to draw your guests’ attention to the live auction is through the live auction slideshow which runs during the live auction. Each slide should be shown on a large screen on either side of the stage as the items come up for sale. Include the item number, picture of the item and the key points describing the package.
Make sure your bid spotters and other volunteers helping with the live auction have a full description of the items and have read it ahead of time. This will make it easy for them to answer any questions your guests have during the live auction and, hopefully, increase bidding.
If you have a large donor or someone who normally purchases a live auction item who cannot attend your event, reach out to them to see if they would like to bid remotely. You can ask them to send you their maximum bid or they can fill out an absentee bidder form, and you can bid on their behalf. Recently, a bidder who wasn’t at the event spent over $5,000 in our live auction. Contact us to learn more about this process.
By creating a marketing plan for your live auction and promoting your items during the weeks leading up to your event, you will create excitement and buzz about your event and insure that your items sell for the highest possible price.
About Murad Auctions
As professional charity auctioneers, Murad Auctions organizes and manages successful, profitable fundraising auctions for non-profit organizations in Dallas, Fort Worth and other cities across the U.S. We use our expertise, knowledge of the auction industry, new and creative fundraising ideas, and our effective and efficient procedures to host auctions that are so effective they often break records and exceed goals. We offer a variety of auction services to help make charity fundraisers successful, including live auctions, bid spotters, auction consulting, registration services, silent auction set up, auction solicitation services, and professional event planning.