I’m in the unique position of speaking candidly to auctioneers about their business. One of the frustrating parts of my job is talking to very successful people about their very unsuccessful website.
The purpose of a website is to showcase your business. The internet can connect you with thousands of buyers and sellers, but it’s all for nothing if your first impression is an out-of-date, disorganized site. Customers see layout, then content. Don’t let your quality business be perceived as haphazard! Customer service begins with having a website that’s informative and easy to navigate.
Here is a list of things to consider when designing and maintaining a website:
1. Keep your website up to date! Every auctioneer should have an awesome auction calendar on their website (not a link to a calendar in another website). When you’re out of date it sends a dangerous message that you don’t care about your online users. Or that you’re not doing many auctions. Wavebid has a calendar built for auctioneers that can be added to your website for less than $20 per month.
2. Customers make quick decisions. If the content is there but your layout is confusing, many customers will move on to other websites. By other websites I mean your competition. Don’t lose potential buyers and sellers because you don’t want to spend a couple hours getting a great looking site.
3. Quality websites create trust. Users are more likely to provide personal information (think registration) on an updated, easy-to-use website. If you offer online bidding, part of your site should be at a level commensurate with other leading online commerce providers.
4. Think outside the computer. Your website also needs to look great and perform on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. You want a great-looking site on whatever new technology your clients are using. With an untouched, outdated site you may be losing your mobile audience.
5. Avoid stock images. The red tag that reads “Online Auction” or the computer with the word “Bid” on the screen? Overused, impersonal images. Build your own images using your own content.
In summary, here’s a list of “Must-Haves” for a great auction website:
- Auction Calendar
- Links to Social Media
- Email Collection Tool on homepage
- Who We Are: Talk about the company and its employees and include photos. It serves to personalize your company.
- What we do: What services do you provide? What do you sell? Where do you sell it? Why do you sell it?
- Contact Us: Phone # and email address. Don’t hide this info! You are in the service industry, so make it easy for people to reach out to you.
- Past Auctions: Nobody likes a sales pitch about what you can do. Show them what you’ve already done and they will contract you.
- Appraisals* If you do appraisals let them know what you appraise and why they should contract you.
- Real Estate* See appraisals.
These are “Nice-to-Haves” for a great website:
- Blog: If you have something to say, this is a great way to provide new content and promote the auction method of marketing.
- Buyers Section: Here you can appeal to potential bidders. Give them a reason to attend your auctions. Tell them about your process and why they should choose to attend your auctions over the competition.
- Sellers Section: Make your case to sellers about why they should attend your auction. Don’t underestimate this part. Sellers want to feel important. Remember they have more choices for auctions than ever before.
- Auction FAQ’s: This is your chance to promote the auction method, sound smart and educate buyers and sellers. Clients will contact auctioneers that are confident in their industry.
- Auction News: Visitors to your website have an interest in auctions. Giving them news about auctions shows them you have an interest larger than your own business and it gives them a reason to return to your website for updated news.
- Our Clients / Case Studies: Showcase clients you have already helped. A case study is evidence of your success, and it helps sellers relate to you.
- List and link to Trade Associations: If you are a member, show it off. Better yet, make that trade association a direct link to their site and have them link back to you.
Remember: websites do not have to be expensive! The cost of websites has fallen dramatically with new template technology, meaning websites do not have to be created from scratch each time. There are companies that build websites exclusively for the auction industry like AuctionServices.com.
Your target buyers and sellers will research your company online. It doesn’t matter what you sell, where you sell it, or how it’s sold. Your digital profile needs to look professional if you want to maintain a professional business. The proverbial first impression or judging a book by its cover is 100% true online. If you feel your website isn’t up to par or you are embarrassed by it, make a plan to update it now. It’s already costing you business.If you have questions about your website or how you can improve it, email Wavebid at email@example.com. We’d love to take a look and offer suggestions on how you can implement the strategies above.