You will never eliminate the risk or the guesswork of auction advertising. You can, however, make more educated guesses and better seller presentations based on captured, curated, and comparable data. If you don’t have those statistics, you’re welcome to borrow mine.
Whatever your political or even nonpolitical view of the United States Post Office is right now, I hope you’re using it effectively and efficiently. If you aren’t, that’s actually an auctioneer problem more than a USPS problem. The good news, though, is that you can be part of the solution, part of those adapting to changing marketplace conditions. While chickens run around without their heads or tell us the sky is falling, we can drive targeted traffic to what will hopefully be successful auctions.
Over the next two decades, conglomerates and aggregate sites are going to put hundreds of bid callers and even auction marketers out of business. They’re going to pay people to do this data curation work. Instead of trying to buy data, they’re going to mine their own. Those of us who follow their example will most likely be the ones in 2035 who are still advertising auctions at all.
You can catch confident brands and pass complacent companies around you, but you’ll need to accelerate down the uniquely better lane. Thankfully for you and for me, that’s typically a place where there isn’t a lot of traffic.
That doesn’t mean you necessarily throw direct mail out altogether. You just have to be smart about it—efficient at it. Here are several suggestions for making the most out of your mailing list.
There’s an interesting assumption in the auction industry that people have shorter attention spans online than they do in print. Don’t believe me? Grab almost any winning direct mail piece in any state or national auctioneer association’s advertising contest. I’d bet you what I’d charge to design it that there’s more text on any one side of it than what Facebook allows visible in a full ad. In many samples of auction direct mail I’ve seen, there’s more text in the terms & conditions on the mailer panel than in a successful Facebook ad.
While this change is inconvenient for almost all of us, it creates another Darwinian opportunity for professional marketers to separate themselves from those unwilling to adapt. Commissions are at stake, if not business models. Whether you outsource your social media or handle it in-house, you’ll be best served by viewing the asset through your buyers’ eyes instead of your own—and then using as few words and characters as possible to sell them.