19: Do Shotgun Advertising Weddings Make Sense?
With the rising cost of postage, more and more auctioneers are trying to bundle multiple auction direct mailings into one postcard/brochure (or one email). The shared cost efficiency allows for more expanded marketing of each auction, but significant drawbacks can balance those benefits. The answers to the following key questions will tell you whether or not the gains outweigh the losses.
Are these like-kind properties?
Being offered at auction is not enough of a common denominator. I opened my mailbox a few weeks ago to a brochure with a trailer park on the outside cover and a mountain retreat home and luxury golf course residence on the inside spread. I’ve received another with a NASCAR® collectibles sale on the front and investment and historic real estate properties hidden inside. You will muddy your company brand, when your brochures have multiple personality disorder.
Am I weakening the auction spotlight?
One of the advantages the auction method holds over traditional listing rests in the attention it draws to individual offerings—be it a single item or group of related items. The closer your piece looks to an ad or flier from an MLS firm, the less advantage the auction method’s advertising has. Singular emphasis on the first impression panels (the mailer and opposite flap) are easier to read and more likely to take the reader’s attention to the inside of the piece.
Is my mailing list too generic?
If your mailing list makes sending a tractor brochure and a real estate postcard separately redundant (or a hog farm and a horse farm), it’s time to segment your list(s). Some people might be interested in more than one type of property you sell, but most will have only one or a few interests. You create dissonance in your prospects, when they get mail from you which doesn’t interest them. You can become the auctioneer who cries, “Wolf!” And that might lead to them not opening any mail they get from you. Plus, you waste postage and printing on non-prospects mixed in with the interested. Split your lists; give web visitors and auction-goers the ability to sign up for specific categories or lists—for both printed and electronic mail. Then watch your return on investment (ROI) rise.
Does this piece do all of the auctions justice?
I get some brochures with several weeks’ worth of auctions, and I wonder if sellers are comfortable with their property being advertised for a week while the auctioneer’s other clients get longer exposure. Don’t hamstring an auction trying to create budget space. An auction inadequately exposed often leads to an inadequate commission check. People buy properties, not auctions. Don’t rely on the sale method to compensate for the deficiencies in your marketing.
What’s the order of priority?
Most auctioneers use the sale date to determine what goes where on a brochure or ad. If marked as an auction calendar, this makes sense. But calendars are meant for organizing, not advertising. Since everything can’t come first on the calendar, priority becomes an issue. What owns priority grabs emphasis; what owns emphasis grabs attention. Everything else, by default, gets the leftovers. The biggest draw should have the best and/or biggest spot. If giving prominence to one property over another creates an enigma, give each buffalo its own prairie; release them separately.
Are there alternatives?
You can concentrate (and thereby shrink) your mailing list by raising the qualification standard—and then send separate pieces to the same, reduced list on back-to-back days. You can send two smaller pieces using the savings in printing and design to offset some of the postage. You can use separate ads and emails and only combine for the direct mailing. You can stuff an individual brochure or postcard inside another brochure—so that the pieces are separate except for mailing. You can use online printers for short quantities but with postal discounts achieved by inclusion in their daily collective/mass mailings.
Separate mailings will further help establish your brand, if you sell different kinds of items. The key question to mull is this: is what you’re about to send targeted marketing? If not, then what is your competitive advantage? You may not always need or want tailored advertising—just the answers for your sellers as to why you don’t.
It makes sense that the car I share with biplane is uniquely designed, quick to respond, and inherently customizable; that’s my brand.
It makes sense that my firm uses attractive computers and intuitive software; that’s my competitive advantage in the industry.
It makes sense that this attic home school grad would work comfortably in his basement; that’s the sovereign foreshadowing woven into my story.
It makes sense that this Generation X/Y-er goes to a church where tee shirts and jeans are the standard attire and the music beat can be heard in the parking lot; that’s my personality.
I hope it makes sense to those who see me live and who read what I write that I have a passion for God and a growing faith. That’s my goal, and that’s my life. I hope those go together—or at least get closer and closer to congruity.
When someone peeks into your life, does it make sense that you’re living with an eternal perspective? Does what you say and what you do go together? How about your now and your eternity?
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