This information and more comes from our webinar, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Auction Profits.
In previous posts, we showed you how to streamline your live and silent auctions and how to create effective descriptions for your auction packages.
Now that you’ve got some great auction items and you’ve described them well, how do you promote them? You want to let your guests know ahead of time what you are offering and get them excited about coming to your event. Here are some tips to get you started.
An excellent (and cost-effective) way to promote your auction items is through email. There are several email service providers (ESP), such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, that make this easy. They provide professional, well-designed templates with plug-and-play text and graphics so you can create an appealing presentation. Make sure to include your organization’s logo to reinforce your brand recognition. Greater Giving Event Software also has an email tool built in.
What to Include
- Your Cause – Describe both your event and your cause. Include photos so people see immediately what they are supporting and the effect they can have.
- Tickets – Include a link to buy tickets online.
- Auction Items – Include photos and descriptions of several items to get people excited about participating in the auction.
Schedule Your Emails
Segment your audience based on whether or not they’ve purchased tickets and send separate emails to each group. For those who have purchased tickets, send weekly or biweekly emails announcing what you’ve added to the auction (just the big items). This starts the conversation early and gives couples a chance to talk about the items at home, rather than feeling rushed at the event. They can decide ahead of time what to bid on so they’re ready to spend money when they walk in the door.
Another fabulous (and free!) way to promote your auction items is through social media. The great thing about social media is that not only can you provide information, you can gather information as well. Create a Facebook page for your event and get the buzz started:
- Include photos from last year’s fundraiser to get people excited.
- Talk about your cause.
- Invite last year’s attendees to follow your page.
- Invite those who haven’t bought tickets yet, and those who have, to follow your page.
- Post photos of auction items and watch how people respond: How many likes, loves, surprises do you get?
- Announce news about your event: which band will be playing, any special guests, etc.
- Thank your sponsors and donors by tagging them in your posts.
Since social media is “social”, it’s a great way to ask your audience questions and get them involved. Ask what they’d like to see in the live auction. Create surveys. If you’re early enough in the planning process, create a poll so people can vote on the theme. The more you engage people, the more they’ll want to come.
Pre-Sell Auction Items
Another great way to pre-promote your auction is to secure guaranteed bids for your top live auction packages. Talk to your top tier bidders (the top 15%) and find out what items they’d be interested in bidding on. Get them on the phone, take them out to lunch or out for coffee. Show them what you’re offering in the auction. You can tell them they don’t have to buy the item, you just need to know if they’d be interested in bidding on it. See if you can get a guaranteed bid to get the ball rolling.
If this is your first live auction and you don’t have any bidder history, use this time to talk to your biggest donors and those who have spent the most in your silent auction. Pre-selling auction items is also an excellent way to utilize your board. They’ll become active participants in the live auction and they can encourage their friends and guests to do the same.
Promoting Builds Excitement
By utilizing free tools and strengthening your connections, you can generate excitement and anticipation for your gala event. Be generous with your information, share what’s going on and what you’re planning. Show people the auction items you’re collecting. The more you share, the more momentum you build for your event.