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07/04/2022 | Geoff Langdon

Auction Guides.
Email marketing - 8 top tips every auctioneer needs to know

In the last installment of our auctioneer’s digital marketing guide, we introduced you to email marketing. In this new installment we’re going to cover:

  • Strategies to grow email subscribers to reach new and existing customers
  • How to improve your auction house email strategy

How to grow email subscriber lists to reach new and existing customers

There are a few recommended ways to grow and nurture your subscriber lists:

1. Website sign-up form

Number one on the list and the most likely way to attract new subscribers is by having a prominent email sign-up on your auction house website. Usually, this would be located in the footer of the website or a dedicated subscribe page with options for the user to indicate areas of interest.

The website is the main contact point for both new and existing customers. For a user this will be seen as a simple way to ‘keep in touch’ with upcoming auctions, valuation events or news.

2. Website pop-ups, notifications or “widgets”

Beyond having the form on the website, the next step would be to introduce a way to notify website visitors of the email sign-up form by using a pop-up message or widget across the site. This gives a greater chance for customers to see that email sign-ups are available.

We have introduced an email sign-up module on various client websites and, in all cases, it has proved a highly effective method to further grow the client’s email database.

We have seen a 51% growth in subscribers on some sites! Such headline growth in a channel with such strong ROI will generate huge potential marketing value.

Here are a few example websites using this feature:

3. Digital marketing campaigns

Beyond the website, there are opportunities to grow your lists through digital marketing campaigns using channels such as social media, Google Display and search advertising - promoting the benefits of signing up to attract new subscribers.

4. Newly registered accounts

New customer accounts offer an opportunity to add new subscribers by asking at the point of the account creation whether a new customer would like to receive emails. Their email addresses can then be imported into your eMarketer system and added to a new or an existing list.

Ways to improve your auction house email strategy

To help get started with email marketing, or if your auction house has been sending emails for some time now, here are a few of our top tips for getting the most out of your email marketing strategy.

1. Intriguing subject lines encourage more email opens

The subject line is the first thing an email subscriber will see, and when it comes to emails, first impressions mean a lot!

A strong subject line will be able to stand out from others in a crowded inbox, increasing the likelihood that the email will be opened.

Try writing in different styles to see which words perform better. Something as simple as adding an emoji or icon in the subject line can also help improve the open rate.

2. Use email templates designed to influence people’s actions

How an email template is designed and structured plays an enormous part in what recipients read, click and share.

If there is one particular objective for an email campaign, such as registering a new account or viewing an auction catalogue, then this needs to be the most obvious ‘next step’ in the email to convert more people into doing it.

An action to achieve this step should be near the top of the email, usually within a full width module accompanied by a strong headline: a couple of sentences to encourage the action and a clear Call to Action button.

3. Choose striking images to catch the eye

People are naturally drawn to images so use these to show off important items such as exciting lots.

However, don’t give too much away! Show and tell enough to draw the eye with the image and supporting text, but keep enough back to make people want to find out more on the website.

And, just as important - make sure you link the image too! It’s a quick way to frustrate users when they can’t click or touch the image of an item they want to read more about.

4. Don’t make the email too long!

Most email campaigns should be short, sharp and to the point. You want people to come to the website rather than just open an email, read it and not do anything else.

Write teaser content and encourage the click to read and do more.

5. Keep content feeling fresh

The top module or the main focus for your email campaign usually gets a makeover each send. But what about the rest?

If there are parts to your email that do not change from one campaign to the next, over time these become invisible and progressively fewer subscribers will interact with these modules. Excessive repetition can create “word blindness.”

Try switching modules and the content every now and again to spice up the email. These, for example, could be for valuation requests, upcoming auctions, lot highlights, news, links to specialists profiles.

Changing the module order or tweaking an image can make a part of your campaign pop again, ensuring regular subscribers don’t tune out or, worse, unsubscribe!

6. Timing… is everything when it comes to sending an email

When you choose to send an email is a big factor in how successful the campaign will be.

Different times and days will perform better depending on what the aim of your email campaign is. Try different days and times to build up a picture of what works best and increases engagement with your subscribers.

For auction houses, we’ve tried and tested different times for upcoming sales and have established very effective timing plans to achieve the highest conversion rates for sale registrations and advance commission bids. We’d be very happy to share our learning with you. (See what we did there?)

7. Keep your brand and style consistent

Trust goes a long way in email marketing. Vast amounts of spam and malicious emails are being sent each and every hour.

Email marketing only performs well when a receiver trusts the email in their inbox.

Help ensure your subscribers know your email is genuine by using consistent branding styles. These are your ‘email hallmarks’ and will help ensure your subscribers trust what they receive from you and give them the confidence to click on a link or call to action.

8. Find new ways to improve through A/B testing

Trying new things is a key part of improving your email marketing strategy. It helps you establish what works best for your subscribers, allowing you to ensure your emails stand out in their crowded inbox.

Our eMarketer platform has a very useful tool called A/B testing to help sharpen up email campaigns. It will allow multiple versions of the same email to be sent out, testing elements against each other to improve open rates and link clicks.

Things to test include:

  • Email subject lines 
  • Inbox descriptions
  • Adding personalisation
  • Different content layouts
  • Email length
  • Use of different images
  • Call to action words and buttons

Sounds great, what next?

Email marketing is one of the simplest, most cost-effective, direct ways to connect with bidders and sellers.

Over time, this will only get stronger by growing your subscriber lists and trying new things to keep valuable buyers and sellers coming back to your auction house website.

In summary, if your auction house isn’t already doing these things, now is the time to jump aboard!

Contact our email experts to request an audit of your email marketing strategy. Email us ››

Next time we’ll be exploring display advertising, how it can raise brand awareness through targeted ad placements across the internet and help reconnect with recent visitors to your website.

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