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How to Market Your Online Self-Storage Auctions

There are several excellent methods self-storage operators can use to attract buyers to their online auctions. Here are a few to consider.

May 31, 2015

4 Min Read
How to Market Your Online Self-Storage Auctions

By Leonard Pecker

The success of an online self-storage auction is primarily dependent on three factors. The first is advertising effectiveness and the resulting attendance. Second is your auction website in terms of accessibility, process and simplicity. The final key is the actual merchandise in terms of quality, assortment, display and description. Though merchandise quality is variable, a well-advertised sale with a simplified bidding, payment and pick-up process should be a constant. It's important to control these factors to promote buyer confidence and sustainability.

So how do you tell potential bidders you’re posting your delinquent and abandoned storage units on an auction website? There are several excellent methods to attract buyers for your online line sales. Here are a few to consider.

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites are viewed by many bidders who follow storage auctions from location to location. Advertising your upcoming events in this manner will spur interest and attract a considerable following. Publishing feel-good stories about happy bidders who discovered valuable treasures in your units will stimulate greater interest in future auctions.

E-Mail Blasts

Many of your bidders have been attending your live auctions for years and want to continue purchasing your auctioned units. When you add online sales, most will still want to source merchandise from your facility. Advise these bidders via e-mail that your auctions will now be posted online. Give them the name of the auction website, the link and the auction start date. Simply providing them with this information is usually all you need to keep them loyal to your location.

Legal notices published in newspapers or online can also help you reach bidders. Indicate which storage units will be sold and the specific dates. This is a great way to spread the word about upcoming auctions and develop a following.

Also consider placing small ads under “garage sales” or “auctions” in local newspapers or online-advertising sites. This is an easy and affordable means to refer bidders to your website or directly to the auction website.

Your Website and Facility

What better place to market your online auctions than your own website? You can add a link from your website to the auction site so bidders can find the sales quickly and easily. Likewise, post signage about upcoming auctions in your management office and near the facility entrance gate.

Auctioneers

Most bidders will bid at numerous auctions, whether live or online. In their constant quest for merchandise, they bid on many different units at several locations. Having a relationship with auctioneers who can advise their followers—many of whom are already bidding on your units—will certainly help. Give local auctioneers all the details about your online auctions so they can promote them.

Auction Bidders

In any given market, most professional buyers know each other. They communicate among themselves, share success stories and unique experiences as they purchase units from a variety of storage facilities. Your reputation for integrity, quality merchandise and user-friendly service is shared by these buyers. Positive word-of-mouth will attract more bidders on a regular basis.

Telephone Inquiries

Many bidders will call your store to ask about the date of your next auction. When this happens, you have a unique opportunity to tell them about your upcoming events. You might even consider recording a brief hold message for callers that includes information about your online auctions and the URL for the auction website.

Online Tools

Some auction companies offer online tools to help you promote your events, such as a “frame” that allows you to advertise online auctions via your own website. This allows bidders to easily find your auctions and instantly access the bidding interface. By embedding the auction website on your own, you can advertise the sale of available units in a click-through listing format. It’s like having your own mini auction website. Cross-linking between sites will also attract more bidders to your website when auctions go live.

There are many marketing and advertising vehicles available to help self-storage operators effectively promote their online auctions. Try experimenting with some to discover which avenues bring in the most bidders for your next lien sale.

Leonard Pecker is the director of customer service for iBid4Storage.com, an online storage-auction marketplace where sellers and buyers in North America can benefit and prosper. For more information, call 855.402.4243; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.ibid4storage.com.

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