While my company will gladly still design direct mail, newsprint ads, and banner ads for auctions with firearms, I will no longer create Facebook advertising for auctions with guns in the catalog. The stakes are too high for me. Take time to evaluate whether they are for you, too.
As of right now, the best way to advertise an auction with guns is to create a separate catalog for the guns. This way, you can run Facebook ads for the other lots that will sell or sell higher because of Facebook exposure. The gun catalog can be promoted separately via email, direct mail, newsprint, etc. (Lists of both gun dealers and people with hunting licenses are not only available but reasonably priced.)
I would contend that we spend much of our time uneducating the room. By that I mean that we have to lead people out of counterproductive advertising strategies and practices that have become engrained into the industry. We do that because using new technology with old approaches just multiplies the audiences for bad advertising.
Over the past 20 years, social scientists have been documenting the phenomenon that those who know the least about many topics actually have the most confidence in their understanding of them. According to the Dunning-Kruger effect, not only is ignorance bliss; it’s also incredibly deceiving.
If you’re trusting that being in the right place at the right time is enough, know that those pragmatic auction marketers are connecting with more and better prospects than you are.
Advertising awards affirm our actions and can even be a competitive advantage. Their importance, though, pales in comparison to the impressions that the marketplace has of our brand and its iterations. We don’t compete just against other auctioneers. We compete every day against the entire marketplace—all the different ways and places that people can buy what we’re trying to sell. Whether we like it or not, that marketplace is asking these questions. Are you?